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Between the real pet puppy you have at home and the virtual shiba inu that lives in your online account, which one do you value more? Which one would you find easier to trade and exchange? These are not easy questions to answer, but if one thing’s for sure, it is that the digital collectibles market is booming. Currently valued at USD 35 million and projected to be worth tens of billions of dollars in the coming decade, collectibles are proving themselves to be no less valuable than their tangible cousins. And Varius Studio is on a mission to make the creation of digital objects a breeze, so that brands can reimagine and revolutionize customer experience. Ashish Vaid, Head of Product at Varius Studio, sits down with us to unpack the concept of digital objects, a form of non-fungible token (NFT), and why individuals and enterprises should start paying attention to it.
How would you describe your project?
Ashish Vaid: In a nutshell, Varius Studio is a platform for the creation, management and publication of smart digital objects such as collectibles, tickets, redeemables, gifts etc. through an intuitive user interface. The publisher can select from a set of pre-made object types and configure different attributes, views (e.g. AR, VR) and behaviors (e.g. drop-and-pick up, shareable, transferable, acquireable, scarce, redeemable) that control how they interact with each other and the end user. To create more complex experiences such as gamification, the platform also includes a rules engine and policy system. Finally, the platform mints the digital objects on EOS as NFTs with an underlying contract, and provides a wallet that can be embedded into existing mobile applications.
Where did your initial idea come from?
Ashish Vaid: The idea for a platform came in 2015 from a simple notion that the digital and physical worlds would blur if digital objects could take on the attributes of physical objects. This implies that digital objects would be subject to concepts of ownership, ease of transfer, and authenticity; essentially, the difference between possessing a digital object and a physical one must be negligible. However, as the creation of NFTs is a complex and arduous task, we came up with the idea of providing the automation and interface to simplify the process, which would in turn introduce the advantages of digital objects to a much wider, non-technical audience.
Can you introduce your team and tell us what makes it special?
Ashish Vaid: While Varius Solutions is a relatively young company, the team comprises experienced leaders who have been working on digital objects for years. Besides myself as Head of Product, our CEO Gary Budzinski has had more than three decades of enterprise executive experience with Hewlett-Packard (HP), Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and General Motors (GM), while our Head of Engineering Alistair Farquharson held the roles of CTO and Engineering lead at several startups for over a decade. Based in Venice, California, our entire
What stage is the project at and what are your plans for scaling up?
Ashish Vaid: We are currently at the end of our Beta release and are looking to officially launch in April 2019. We have been working on the engagement platform since early 2018, and have so far confirmed multiple partnerships with major brands like Heineken and Sony Pictures, all of which are using our platform to run customer-facing campaigns, which we helped implement via our partners Greenfence Consumer and BlockV. We are scaling through a combination of partnerships with agencies and direct-to-brand with a managed consulting service to help customers who are not familiar with the utility of digital objects and blockchain technology, but who are nonetheless impressed by the high engagement rates we have proven to deliver.
Why did you decide to use blockchain technology, and specifically on EOSIO?
Ashish Vaid: Blockchain helps us deliver ownership, trust, authenticity and scarcity to a digital world where records are easily changeable and hackable. People are used to digital media being ‘free’ commodities, so much so that people cease to ascribe value to intellectual property like photos, blog posts, music files etc. What we have set out to do is to re-introduce the concepts of scarcity and authenticity into the virtual world, and we believe that blockchain technology is key to that strategy. EOSIO is a vibrant project with a large developer community that can help us achieve the scale we will require down the line.
How has the EOS Community responded to your project?
Ashish Vaid: The EOS community has responded very positively. People seem to enjoy the intuitive user interface that helps them create digital objects (NFTs) in a matter of minutes without having to deal with the complexity of the underlying technology. In November 2018, we debuted the Varius Studio platform at Block.one’s EOS Global Hackathon in San Francisco. As Head of Product, I demonstrated to the community the ease with which we allow people to make custom on-chain collectibles on the platform. We had many interested people reach out to us afterwards asking to obtain early access to Varius Studio. Ultimately, we are excited to see what the world will create once we make digital objects on blockchain accessible to individuals, artists and entrepreneurs.
Stay tuned to our EOSIO Spotlight series where we’ll highlight some of the truly exceptional projects being built on our platform. If you have a project you’d like to share with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Developer Relations team
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