Security company edge recently participated in a $7 million round of financing for Courtyard, a startup that creates NFTs for physical collectibles. It’s been almost a year since Brink’s partnered with Courtyard to ensure the security of physical asset storage.
Courtyard’s blockchain infrastructure allows physical collectibles to be traded as NFTs for increased liquidity. While Brink’s handles the security of the real-world asset in the vault, Courtyard provides digital proof of ownership and authenticity, along with an NFT with a custom 3D representation of the asset. “By securing the physical items represented by NFTs on the blockchain, we create a bridge between offline and digital markets, giving collectors peace of mind that their high-value items are safe,” said Oliver Buckle-Wright. , Brink’s Senior Commercial Director.
Brink’s partnership with Courtyard is closely tied to its strategy to provide physical security for digital assets. In May 2022, the company partnered with METHACUSa custody of digital assets commissioned for a similar purpose.
Holdings of institutional digital assets have significant financial value, so there is usually no single private key that can be used to recover the assets. Instead, private keys are effectively fragmented, requiring multiple pieces to participate in key restoration in order to access stocks of digital assets. Brink’s role is to assist in disaster recovery by transporting these private key fragments on smart cards and storing them in multiple secure vaults. Considering that Brink’s is best known as a company that collects and transports cash from banks, this is a natural extension of their security services.
Getting back to Courtyard, it’s not the first startup to coin NFTs for physical collectibles. Dibbs, who is backed by Amazon, aims to provide a service that resembles that of Courtyard.
The prices of some physical trading cards are too high to be affordable for the average collector. Dibbs is trying to solve this through a platform that stores the physical cards and sells NFT fractions that can be traded on its marketplace. However, the legality and implications of such fractional ownership of physical assets can be complicated. The existence of a collective investment in a product could result in it being perceived as a security.
The NFTs provided by Dibbs and Courtyard, with their emphasis on the physical collectible, are also different compared to “phygital” services. Consider Nike’s figital sneaker collection that was announced last year. Here, the company’s goal is to create a customizable experience and engage some of its users online. The sneakers are sold physically and as digital collectibles. The goal of phygital retail is to provide a dynamic and personalized shopping experience.