The verdict on NFTs may still be pending for some, but with their first-ever collaboration, BossLogic, BlockBar and Johnnie Walker cut through the noise to bring you the next evolution of art meets commerce.
One of them seared his vision of Thanos, on the cusp of his devastating snap, into the pantheon of pop culture. One of them is the first-ever NFT marketplace for upper-echelon spirits and wines. One of them is the world’s leading Scotch whisky house. Globally celebrated artist Kode Abdo aka BossLogic, BlockBar, helmed by Sam and Dov Falic, and Johnnie Walker are the players responsible for the convergence of three allegedly disparate worlds into a game-changing singularity: Johnnie Walker Masters of Flavour NFTs, a hyper-rare whisky of a 48-year-old vintage, accompanied by seven exclusive digital artworks.
Rare is the thing worthy of being spoken of in unequivocally superlative terms – but this historic collaboration is one of them. BossLogic, BlockBar and Johnnie Walker share head-turning, gravity-defying resumes bedecked with first-ofs and world-bests. Here, their union is a collective flag planted on the undeniable future of our increasingly technologised digital era.
As they clink their glasses full of the good, nay, best stuff, they outline what the emergence of the NFT frontier means for art, drink and life in the years to come.
Esquire: From the vantage of your respective fields, what do NFTs represent?
BossLogic: For me, they signify the evolution of digital art. They're the next step, the next process; where the whole industry is going. For the longest time, digital artists weren't noticed. Now, digital art is manifesting within the digital art scene and that's making it bigger. In that framework, the artist grows and becomes a bigger thing. That's what I see: evolution.
Sam: Agreed, for sure. I think that art is just the beginning. I think we're going to see NFTs and blockchain technologies beginning to apply to so many different industries. NFTs are really about the ownership economy and the ability for creators to interact with their fans. So, whether it's brands, artists, musicians or filmmakers, there's the ability to democratise access and create a channel of communication with everyone throughout the world. It's an ecosystem that will completely revolutionise the ownership economy.
Dov: As they were both saying, it's about ownership as well as authenticity, both of which are lacking in many aspects, specifically in our business of wine and spirits. NFTs are at the forefront of ways to improve authenticity for many different things, no matter if they are digital or physical assets.
Esquire: With this specific collaboration in mind, how do you think the future looks for art, alcohol and NFTs?
BossLogic: I see it as a big company going into a new space and going into it the right way; legitimately. They bring the whole concept and through our collaboration, we made it possible. So, stepping forward, collaborations like this will give weight and strength to NFTs, the actual metaverse and the whole industry. With more of this, more companies doing it the right way, working with artists the right way – treating everyone equally – we'll keep growing with the same energy. Also, it means you can connect with a company in a different way, instead of just buying their product. You can connect with them on a high-caliber level. If you bought Nike shoes, for example, you can't go to a Nike higher-up and say you bought their shoes. But if you have their one-of-one NFTs, you're that collector.
Dov: It's great to be able to partner with people who are already established. This partnership is going to go a long way. There's going to be more to come.
Sam: A partnership like this really does validate the entire industry. Think about it: A year ago, it was so difficult to have a world-class artist, a world-class brand and a company that democratises access all intertwine together, to combine together and collaborate on such a project. It was almost unthinkable. The fact that it has actually happened shows how quickly this industry is evolving and how far it can go.
Esquire: For Block Bar specifically, what inspired the idea to create an NFT marketplace for alcohol?
Sam: Our business is in the spirits and wine industry. When we looked at the NFT marketplace, we thought it was great but there is this barrier for people to understand it fully. Initially, we wanted to sell NFTs directly from luxury brands, such as Johnnie Walker, but we weren't set on spirits and wine. Even more so, we saw a lot of players get into the market simply because it's trendy.
But we discovered an opportunity to leverage blockchain technology to solve an actual problem. We come from the duty-free industry and we saw the obstacles that consumers and brands face, hurdles that have prevented it from reaching its full potential. There are issues with access, authenticity and storage but when you plug in blockchain technology, you have a transparency that solves a lot of problems that also removes barriers for collectors of spirits and NFTs.
Esquire: BossLogic, has the sudden rise of NFTs changed how you approach your art form?
BossLogic: No. It's just an extension of it. Everything that I know, that I've done before, that I've been through, I just apply that as an extra asset. We evolve with technology, and this is just another avenue of that. What are NFTs now, won't be NFTs later on. They'll change – and I want to change with them. I want to make art within the realms I'm in now, and the NFT space. A lot of people want to buy and own my work, but they don't like prints and frames. They like digital art. Now, they can own a piece of that in a digital form that they can do what they want with. We can sell an original piece that's a digital copy, which is crazy to me.
Esquire: So, with all this in mind, is there a pressure to sell out?
Sam: It depends on the project. To be transparent, whenever there's a project like this, there's always going to be that pressure to sell out. But some of the most successful projects to date didn't sell out immediately. We're going after a global demographic but selling out isn't our purpose behind what we do. I don't think people should get into this to make 10 000 units and sell out in five seconds. Part of the reason our collaboration has been so effective is that BossLogic, Johnnie Walker and BlockBar are all on the same page. We're revolutionising an opaque industry and this is our opportunity to change it up and leave our mark on it.
Esquire: Lastly, whether it pertains to alcohol or art, what would you say to skeptics of the NFT phenomenon?
BossLogic: Give it time. Everything starts off with its problems, issues and hiccups. But if you give it time, you'll see it grow into something you'd want to be part of. It's inevitable: Eventually, majority of the people are going to be a part of it. You know how gaming has downloadable content? NFTs are the downloadable content of everything else.
Dov: The fact that you see the biggest brands in the world start to join this new technology, shows you that there's something behind it. They appreciate the authenticity and ownership that comes with it. When you see the underlying technology behind NFTs, you'll realise that it's groundbreaking. This is going to be the way forward.
Sam: I thinks it's still very early and I'd urge the skeptics to do their research. With any new innovative tech that comes out, there's always going to be pushback. One day, every person and every brand is going to be involved with NFTs in some way. Also, as with all things, there are a lot of 'what ifs' attached to it. You can draw parallels to the physical world and find very similar issues with the way things are. So, do the research.