Here’s Why a Multi-Million Dollar Toy Business Is Venturing into the Metaverse

When Jackson Aw was introduced to blockchain technology in 2018, he “didn’t understand a thing”.

“Can anyone simplify it further for me? Like, can you tell me what I can get as a consumer?”

That was four years ago. Today, Aw, seems to have the answer to that question.

The 32-year-old Singaporean, who runs Mighty Jaxx – a multi-million toy company that produces collectibles and lifestyle products – has incorporated blockchain into its products.

A blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records every transaction that has taken place. It also cannot be tampered with or retroactively changed.

CNBC Make It discovers why it “makes sense” for the collectibles empire to leverage blockchain capabilities and bet on the metaverse.

exclusive certificates

Mighty Jaxx, founded in 2012, has partnered with some of the biggest global brands and visual artists, producing trendy collectibles that embody pop culture and design.

Aw said the company has sold millions of collectible toys to people in more than 80 countries.

Limited-edition Mighty Jaxx collectibles can cost up to $1,200 on their website, but on the secondary market they can be worth “five to ten times” more than their original value, Aw said.

Jackson Aw’s Advice for Young Entrepreneurs? “Fear will always exist. But the question is, what do you think of that?”

Eli Lo

But there is a problem.

“When you want to sell the product, the number one question everywhere is ‘Is it authentic?'”

Aw added: “For collectibles, what [sellers] to do is take pictures of the figurine and post it to Facebook groups, asking people to do an authenticity check.”

However, Aw was not satisfied with this authentication method.

“Whose word is it? Where’s the provenance of this? So we thought, okay, this is what we need.”

Mighty Jaxx designed a Near-Field Communication chip, which is built into each toy. “With our app, you can [scan the chip]register your ownership of the item,” said company founder Jackson Aw.

Eli Lo

Mighty Jaxx designed a near-field communication chip and incorporated one into each toy. NFC technology allows for short-range wireless communication between two devices.

“With our app, you can [scan the chip]register your item ownership [to show] is an authentic Mighty Jaxx product,” said Aw.

Powered by blockchain, the platform issues and validates unique, tamper-proof certificates for each product. It also provides a digital footprint when an item’s ownership changes.

…content and intellectual property are fundamental, because without any of that [visual] representation, that technology does nothing

Jackson Aw

Founder, Mighty Jaxx

“If Jay Chou or JJ Lin owned this figurine before you did, that’s definitely much more valuable than me owning it,” jokes Aw. Jay Chou and JJ Lin are popular Mandarin pop singers.

Providing trusted authentication through blockchain technology is just “the beginning” for Mighty Jaxx.

A ‘phygital’ border

With the non-fungible token market experiencing explosive growth in 2021, Aw said that’s when there was “a shift in culture as we knew it.”

“[Being] artists and creators in general… it’s always been more of a service-based work. But now it has turned. Now, content and intellectual property are fundamental, because without any of that [visual] representation, this technology does nothing,” explained Aw.

“Nothing speaks louder than visual form.”

NFTs are crypto-based digital assets that also double as collectibles – something Mighty Jaxx is no stranger to.

So it “makes sense” that Aw would venture into space, offering fans unique digital experiences with physical collectibles.

“When you buy our NFTs, you have access and the opportunity to buy her physical manifestation in this design. So only that group of people could buy this figure,” Aw said.

“Because only they can do that and they can combine the two asset classes, it creates even greater value for them.”

Collectors who purchase Mighty Jaxx NFTs have exclusive access to purchase physical manifestations of the same design, which “create even more value for them,” said Jackson Aw.

Mighty Jaxx

Aw believes that is Mighty Jaxx’s “phygital” advantage over its competitors – being able to offer both digital and physical assets.

“The fact that we create digital assets before we produce the physical toys … means we can also go to market faster,” he added.

“I can’t think of 10 other companies doing this around the world, simply because the work of creating a hardware or a [physical] collectible, it’s naturally just a steeper learning curve.”

metaverse expansion

In 2021, Mighty Jaxx released its first collection of NFT trading cards, featuring cats that look like Chinese cuisine, dim sum.

“We launched 6,000 units, within two seconds they were sold out,” Aw said.

Mighty Jaxx got its big break with DC Comics scoring a licensing partnership in 2015, allowing it to “restyle” creative intellectual property.

It has since partnered with renowned brands to reach fandoms around the world, from Adidas, Hasbro and Nickelodeon, to Formula 1, Sesame Street and Netflix.

Aw says “there’s a lot more work to be done”, with plans to expand their IP collaborations in the metaverse as well.

The metaverse is a set of virtual worlds where people live, work and play.

Mighty Jaxx’s first collection of NFT trading cards sold out in “2 seconds,” said Jackson Aw.

Mighty Jaxx

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