[Podcast] NFTs: The New Frontier for Brands with Kate Pincott

[Podcast] NFTs: The New Frontier for Brands with Kate Pincott

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Warning. This episode might blow your mind.

In this episode, Matt and Jacob speak with Kate Pincott – Head of Design at Matteruem. Mattereuem are at the cutting edge of technology which enables brands to create NFT digital passports of real-world assets which are certified by third parties and which may enable the spiral economy.

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If none of that makes any sense to you then definitely listen to this episode to cut through the jargon and get an insight into the future of brand building in the digital world.

We tuck into how NFTs can be used in a practical way to build consumer trust. We delve into what NFTs are and why when pairing them with real products customers can obtain huge amounts of value.

Ultimately, if you want your brand to be relevant in the future, you will need to know about this stuff. You heard it here first.

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Transcript (Auto Generated)

Hello, and welcome to JUST Branding, the only podcast dedicated to helping designers and entrepreneurs grow brands. Here are your hosts, Jacob Cass and Matt Davies.

Hello, folks, and welcome to this episode of JUST Branding. We are going to get deep and technical, but we’re going to make it simple. I’ve got Kate Pincott with us, who is the head of design at a really exciting startup called Mattereuem.

I say startup, I think they’ve been going for a few years now, and we’re going to tuck into what they do because it truly is mind blowing. Kate’s got a background in design. She is a design coach, so she speaks a lot of the language of the folks that I know tune into our podcast.

But she’s also kind of got a great vision, and we’re going to tuck into that in a bit. I met Kate at a conference a while back. I’ve been working with her company, Mattereuem, a little bit over the last few months, and I’m just blown away by the future that Kate sees.

And I really needed to get Kate on the podcast to share the future of brands in the NFT space. And if you don’t have no idea what I’ve just said, that’s okay because Kate’s going to hopefully make it nice and simple and easy. Another man that loves NFT, of course, is our very own Jacob Cass, and he’s here as well.

So welcome, Kate, to the show. Thank you for coming on to talk to us today.

Thanks for having me. Pleasure.

All right. So let’s start with the elephant in the Zoom, if you like, which is what is NFT exactly? And let’s just start off roughly there and then we’ll sort of figure out how you fit it into the grand scheme.

Yeah, I love technology and I love new terminology, but only as so far as they actually help us move forward and have chats like this. So for today, we can think of a non-fungible token, an NFT, as a digital receipt. That’s how we’re going to think about it.

You know, you go to the shops, you buy something, you get a paper receipt that proves that you bought that thing. And today, when we think about a non-fungible token, we can just think about a digital version that’s on the blockchain.

Right. So let’s get into the blockchain in just a second. But in simple terms, why is it good that it’s on the blockchain?

Why can’t you just send me an email?

Yes. So when we have digital versions of things, sadly, in this world, they can have duplicates, they can have corruptions, they can be forged. I don’t know if you were ever back in the heyday going to a nightclub and you had to have your ID and you photoshopped it.

No one around here has ever done that. So humans have lots of different incentives of why they might want to lie about things. And so one of the benefits of having this digital receipt on the blockchain, it means it’s immutable.

It means it can’t be changed due to brilliant mathematics that make it very, very difficult.

OK, brilliant. We’ll tuck into that in a little bit in a minute and get into a bit more depth. But that already, I’m sure some people’s heads have exploded.

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But I think you put it in a simple way. So, you know, thank you. And you’re going to have to keep doing that for me because I tell you, me and Jacob talk about this all the time.

And I’m sure that I’m still like I feel like really thick when it comes to things like this. But it makes a lot of sense when you put it in simple terms. So thank you for my my my brain anyway.

But let’s let’s let’s kind of just change tack for just a second just so that folks understand who you are and what you do. So perhaps let us know a little bit about you and how did you first what attracted you to to working in this world of blockchain and NFTs?

I love things that are cutting edge and the thing that’s coming up, you know, the new frontier. And so, you know, back in 2011, I invested in Bitcoin and I was trying things out. So I’ve always been kind of on the forefront of what’s going on.

But it was really tough back then, really, really no one, think you think no one knows now, no one knew then. And so I kind of let that rest for a while. And sadly, my lovely Bitcoin got stolen in the Mongoc’s crash, which is one of the first, this was pre-FTX, this was like a long time ago.

I don’t know what you’re talking about, but it sounds horrific.

Very sad. I would have lots of money right now.

You would have lots, yeah, I was going to say.

I know, I know. But before I start crying on your podcast, the kind of lesson that I learned was that things come round again and again. And each time they do a bit like a helix, when they come back over again, they are more solid and more cemented.

So instead of going away from something that’s scary, actually, it makes more logical sense to go towards it, because every time technology comes back, we’re getting more and more sophisticated. We’re getting better regulation. We’re getting smarter.

That makes me feel better about my crypto investments. Hopefully, they come back around.

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That’s it. We just don’t know how long. Will it be within our lifetime?

So I’ve always been interested in that. And the reason that I came to Mattereuem and this whole kind of eco world and climate crisis is because I was working in tech. I had a really amazing job.

I was getting paid loads. I was at Facebook. I was getting traveling the world from the outside.

My job just seemed perfect, but it just wasn’t fulfilling. It wasn’t dinging my dong. It wasn’t resonating.

It wasn’t calling me. And so I quit my job and I went to live in a field and I learned about trees and plants. And I moved away from pixels and computers.

And I moved to using my hands and doing woodworking with my husband. And he taught me sanding and oiling. And I had to learn to be really patient.

And I couldn’t control, out delete, you know, I couldn’t undo. And I had to see things from a different perspective. And that really helped me to kind of build myself back up.

And I realized that I wanted to be building something that was truly collaborative, just like the plants and trees are. And we can go into my psyllium and how roots and trees talk to each other later if you like. But that’s what really profoundly just stayed in my head.

And I was like, I need to find a business that is truly collaborative. And is at a global scale, just like the, you know, the under roots of trees are communicating at a global scale.

Sounds awesome. Sounds a little bit like my story. I’ve fled the cities as well.

I’ve not gone to quite the lengths you’ve gone to, but yeah, it’s something about nature isn’t there and getting back to reality, getting back to where stuff is actually produced from, getting back to looking at something and thinking like that’s the reality of the situation. I think we live in such a world where we’re so distanced from the reality of producing stuff that we forget that actually, you know, every decision we make, you know, every product we buy, everything that we actually kind of, you know, usually acquire, it has a whole lifetime to it. And I know we’re going to get on to this in a minute.

And I think if you don’t have that connection, you can easily make decisions, which if we all do it as humanity can actually be quite damaging for us in the long term. So I know, I just wondered if you wanted to speak to that because I know your journey took you to Mattereuem and these much bigger ideas. And it’s great to hear how they kind of centered in living in a field and doing woodwork.

How interesting is that? So talk to us about how that connects, you know, the ecology of a tree and the root systems, how that connects to your work at the moment and NFTs.

So the premise of Mattereuem is that we are living in a world of asymmetry. So when you buy and sell things, the people that buy things don’t have the same information as the people that sell things. And this causes all kinds of unfairness when we buy and sell.

And we can take a very small example, just like if you’ve gone on eBay and you’ve got a watch and you thought, oh, that looks like a nice watch, I might buy that. And then suddenly all the doubts start creeping in. How do I know it’s real?

How do I know someone’s not lying? What happens if there’s more scratches? What happens if it’s been dropped, but nobody knows?

And we have this for all kinds of things, electronics, but also luxury goods, particularly, really struggle to buy and sell online because the risk of things being inauthentic is much higher when it’s a more expensive item. And the risk and the liability and protection you get is just not there. So good luck trying to get your money back from Amazon or eBay if it’s a very, very expensive item.

Smaller, lower, a couple of thousand pounds fine, but anything above, Ecom, Web2 does not serve you. Everything has to be done privately with private insurers and mostly offline. So this kind of world of authenticity and buying and selling is something that relies upon two parties agreeing that the information is correct and trusting each other.

So this is where NFTs come in. This is where the blockchain comes in because the information that we put on the blockchain and the information about a product that we put inside an NFT can create that transparency to both parties, feel super duper confident that what they’re buying is actually what they’re getting.

So what we’re talking about here is an NFT that connects with a real world asset. I believe they’re called a real thing. So I buy some stuff, but I can have full confidence in that stuff because I get this digital receipt, this NFT, which I also own as well as the thing.

And inside that NFT, I guess we can place lots of useful information. How is that certified? How can I trust that the NFT first of all connects to the real world asset and then that the information that’s in the NFT is real and some geek’s not just jumped on a computer and said, yeah, this is real gold.

And how can we be sure about that?

That’s a brilliant question. And this is something that the whole world is asking right now, because Gucci are selling their handbags as NFTs. We’ve got things in the metaverse.

We’ve got virtual objects that you can buy, outfits in gaming. And a lot of people, a lot of brands are just taking the physical thing and they are connecting it very, very loosely just with the NFC reader. So let’s say I have my cup here in front of me and I have my NFC reader in my phone and I tap it and beep and it comes up and that’s it.

This is so easy to hack. This is not future proof. It also doesn’t prove just because I have a little piece of information on the blockchain with some information about this cup does not mean that it’s mine.

There’s no IP. There’s no ownership. So it’s a really, if you think about it, it’s like a really rudimentary proof of concept that we’re seeing in the world right now.

What we really want and what Mattereuem is doing is to have a legally binding contract, a warranty that says, hey, I hereby certify that this is in fact 100% recycled. And I hereby certify that this object doesn’t have child labor in or doesn’t have trafficking or is in fact made of this particular material. And then we want a certifier or an expert to come in and say, I hereby put my name and my money where my mouth is, and I will absorb the risk of this being wrong.

So it’s very similar to insurance. And what we’re seeing today is that most people trust a brand because they just trust the brand. They say, oh, well, you know, Patagonia are really honorable.

I believe in them. Can’t we just take their word? But as this world scales and as more and more and more and more people are living in it, and as more and more stuff is online, we need a frictionless way that we can trust people because humans make mistakes.

Even if they didn’t mean to lie, we need to change the incentives so that there was economically no reason why they would lie. And that’s what the certifier here does, because if the certifier lies about the information that they described, they will have to pay the money back to the consumer. So this is like the strongest form of consumer protection I’ve ever seen in the world today.

Consumers have never had this level of accountability with brands.

It still comes down to a human, right? And the human certifying something. Just like, you know, doctors are paid to endorse a product, couldn’t something similar happen here with, you know, a certifier being paid money to, you know, certify something?

There is always the risk that, you know, a multi-million pound conglomerate would try and pay off one person. But when you have an army of certifiers, it makes your claims decentralized. So at the moment, you can think of it a bit like a brand is their own certifier and they are marking their own homework.

Whereas what we’re suggesting is a future where there are lots and lots and lots of external certifiers. And this de-risks the likelihood. We can never say, oh, it’s going to be 100% true.

No one can ever say that about anything. We can never have 100% certainty about anything. Sorry if that upsets anyone at all.

I did miss the part where you have multiple certifiers. I was under the assumption this is one.

Imagine like an Upwork or fiverr.com or Deliveroo. Armies of people on their bikes going out, delivering food. Imagine armies of certifiers, all who have amazing different experiences and expertise that can now have work and alternative revenues.

My understanding just on that revenue front is that let’s say you have an army of certifiers around an object and that object is sold and resold and sold again, that because they’ve taken on some risk and they have said that they’ve staked their reputation and their expertise on an aspect of that being accurate and true, that they get a tiny little slither of not only the sale price, but then the resale price. So the model is that they continue to get revenue, which is an incentive for them. It’s good for the seller and the brand because the brand will have assurance, as you say, they’re not marking their own homework.

I guess this is the challenge to brands. We’ve sort of dubbed this episode, NFT is the new frontier for brands because this is something whereby if you really say that you stand for fair trade, if you really say you’re anti-slavery, put your money where your mouth is. Let’s certify this.

And then if it comes out later that you’re not entirely true, whether you meant to or not, the certifier, not you, the certifier is to blame. So then obviously you might want to look at who’s certifying, but they then have to take the hit. So I think this works on so many levels.

It’s so profound. It’s like a huge concept that will change the face of everything. That’s what I wanted to do on the show, right?

Because brands got to hear about this and people working in brands and brand building need to kind of get to grips with this kind of technology because it’s coming, folks. Just on that front, Kate, I know we can get into loads of stuff, but how far off are we from some of this being a reality? I’ve teed you up for the perfect answer, by the way, so go for it.

Yeah, it is reality today. So we have, some people will call them passported or tokenized some jewelry, some rings. We’ve tokenized a trumpet by a famous DJ called Timmy Trumpet.

We have tokenized a Warhol painting. We have tokenized a plot of land, two million plot of land, the first in the UK ever. And so we have passported over hundreds of items.

And so it’s real and working today.

And I guess what we’re talking about there is we’re talking about quite large, high invested, you know, high value, you know, big investments in terms of value. But I imagine what we’re talking about here is it starts there, right? And eventually when people start to say, you know what, I can really trust this now, I get the technologies working and it starts to spread.

It will eventually trickle down so that when you go and buy a bottle of milk or something and it comes with a little NFT to secure, you know, to certify that that milk is, you know, what it says it is, if you like.

Absolutely. If you think about, you know, the profit margin of passporting or doing a new technology, it’s always easier to work in things that are one off and things that are bespoken quite high in terms of price. And then we can work on economies of scale and work down to kind of the everyday items.

So when we think about the luxury market, when we think about art paintings, they have huge provenance and amazing rich histories that are often just written down in a logbook. So we can digitize that and it can stay with the life of the art piece. We can do that for cars.

Cars already have a logbook. That’s a manual thing. But again, we can keep that with the life of the car.

When it comes to things like gold bars or alternative investment assets, the thing here is less about provenance and is more about liquidity. So instead of having to move my gold between Milan and Hong Kong, I can just buy and sell it as an NFT so I can open and access new markets. When we’re talking about real estate, it’s more about speed.

So the benefit here is I can instantly transfer the ownership of my house to my seller, to my buyer, and I can do that inside an SVB. So for each asset class, depending on what type of object you’re buying and selling, the benefits are different. And obviously the spiral economy…

Before we get into this spiral economy, can I ask a few more questions? So firstly, Matt, I’d love to see you as a milk certifier later down the track.

And secondly, how do you certify something like a trumpet? Who are the certifiers and how does that work?

Yeah. So Timmy Trumpet is a DJ. He both makes his own trumpets and he makes his own music.

So what we did is we got all the different specifications of the trumpet, the way it was made, videos of the making process, all the different events and concerts that it’s been to. We uploaded all those videos to the Passport. We uploaded descriptions, weight, material, everything like that about the trumpet.

And then Timmy decided as the maker, he would be the certifier. So he said, I made it with my own hands, therefore I’m pretty chill about being the certifier. I don’t have anything to hide, and therefore I’m happy to put the reliability up for this and absorb anything being wrong.

So what if you buy the NFT and you don’t receive the physical good?

In a real world scenario, you have dispute resolution mechanisms. So like you have to go, say, on PayPal or if it was on Amazon, you’d have to go through the app and you’d have to go through kind of a process, which is quite long and takes time. And if it doesn’t work out, you have to then go to court.

And that takes more money and more time. So what Mattereuem offers is a pre-agreement about what will happen if there is a dispute. And just having that pre-thinking already written out in legal documents saves a lot of money and time.

And instead of having to go to, let’s say, worst case scenario, the small courts, and you say, look, I haven’t got my item. What’s happened? You don’t even need to do that.

In the Mattereuem app, you just press a button and it goes to an arbitrator. And this arbitrator can read the contract that you have in your passport, and they can make a decision immediately upon that. So we’re optimizing a very complex, very time consuming system.

We’re making it shorter and we’re making it faster and cheaper.

So you do have the control or delete for this one. Oh, sorry, the command Z, not control or delete. That’s a different thing.

Yeah, we’re building a system that allows us to digitize this process to make it more efficient and less manual.

And I think I understand it correctly that you and your team were involved in helping shape some laws, weren’t you, I think, around this. So tell us a little bit about that. So were you consulted around, you know, new legislation and how enforceable and has anyone used it yet in the laws in the courts?

I know you’re not a lawyer, but just interesting tonight.

Yeah, absolutely. We would. I mean, is it one of those things you don’t want it to go to court, but you do because you want it to prove that it works.

So we worked with the UK jurisdiction task force and they’ve actually quoted us in their new legal dispute resolution rules for digital sales. And you can see Materium in the middle of it. So we helped them to write that dispute resolution.

And the reason this is significant is because when there’s any type of on-chain dispute, normally in a court of law, you’d have to get an expert in and say, can you bring the IT guy? Bring the blockchain techie person in. And the judge can’t make a decision themselves.

But what Materium did is they took the real world law and they took blockchain code and they translated real law into code. So it’s completely readable by a normal judge. So the significance of this is you don’t need to bring in an expert anymore.

A normal judge can read it and go, yeah, that makes perfect sense to me. And what we did instead of having a real litigation, which we haven’t had yet, coming soon, what we did is we had a moot. A moot is basically a fake court where you have real judges, but you have a fake case and they run through the case.

And we had the most senior judges in the UK going through this. And they all agreed that it was completely watertight and would stand up in court if there was a dispute about a physical object.

Okay, let’s talk a little bit about your favorite subject, the spiral economy, because it’s come up. And I just want to tuck into it, because I think folks need to understand it, because it’s coming, and I think it’s bigger than ever. So first of all, what is the spiral economy, and why is it any different to whatever economy we have right now?

I don’t know what we call that linear economy. I don’t know. Anyway, talk to us a bit about that.

When we’re thinking about the benefits of asset passports, we’ve talked about, you know, in reducing fraud, we’ve talked about increasing trust. We’ve talked about increasing liquidity and speed of transferring things between humans in the world. The other one is reducing your carbon footprint.

Why does having a passport decrease your carbon footprint? The reason is because at the moment, we are pulling huge amounts of carbon out of the ground. We are manufacturing way more objects and things in the world than we need.

The world already actually has a lot of amazing stuff, but it’s stuck because it’s not identifiable and it’s not addressable. This is a really, really, really big problem. Most people don’t hear about this.

They hear about recycling, they hear about reducing, the 10 Rs. The 10 Rs are brilliant, but there’s one in the middle there, which is reuse. Reuse is one of the most underrated Rs of the green wave.

What we want to do is empower more and more people to reuse their stuff. You say, well, why don’t I just go on Etsy? Why don’t I go on eBay and just buy and sell things?

Why do I need to have a passport attached to it? The reason is because when you buy and sell something and you use it, you reduce its value. But when you buy and sell something and you can prove that nothing has changed, the quality has not gone down, it maintains its value.

And what we want to do is we want to say that physical stuff matters. Materials matter. Everything around us has an intrinsic value that comes from nature.

The silicon in your phone that comes from the ground, the wood, the time, the energy, the manufacturing costs, they all have, you might not see them, but they have a lot of value and we don’t want to just lose that. So what we’re saying is we want to move from, as you said, a linear economy where you buy something, you make it, sorry, you take some resources from the ground, you turn it into a chair, you sell that chair, you use that chair, it breaks and then it goes into the bin. We want to take that model and we want to upgrade it.

And most people have heard of the circular economy, which is good, right? It’s just the next level up. The next level up is instead of just throwing it away, you maybe burn down the plastic and you melt it into something else and you use it as a plant pot.

Maybe you take the wooden legs of the chair and you chip it up and you put it into soil fertilizer. So now, instead of it going to waste, I’ve reused those elements that I’ve put them into, remanufactured them into another process. So now the materials are moving in a circle.

Now I’ll give you one better, one upgrade. Instead of it just going in a circle, we actually make it go in a spiral. And the reason that this is better is because when we take an object and we pull it apart into its raw materials, that is also really energy intensive.

And actually, what we want to be doing is making durable products in the first place that just last a really long time. And the way that it becomes spiral is I sell it to Matt, Matt sells it to Jacob and Jacob sells it to someone else. And now the object is moving from owner to owner to owner in a spiral motion.

And more and more and more people are able to use it. And that is one of the best ways to lock in the value and lock in the carbon on the planet.

I love this. And so just so that we connect this to the NFT kind of concept. So if you’re selling me a product, are you certifying that or getting an arbiter, sorry, a third party to certify the quality of that?

And so I can then come on and buy that from you and I trust that it’s a certain level because it’s de-risked. And then I use it for a bit and I do the same to Jacob. But if Jacob receives it and he’s like, hang on a second, this doesn’t quite work out.

There’s a legal framework where Jacob could challenge and then we can kind of get that resolved relatively swiftly. And, you know, there’s incentives every step of that, even on third, fourth, fifth, sixth generation sales of a object. Have I understood that correctly?

Perfectly. And because of this mechanism, which we don’t have today, it starts to incentivise brands to think about durability right from the get go. Because at the moment, there’s no economic incentive for brands to think about long life.

But if they’re going to be getting a cut every single step of the way, then they want to make products. Ralph Lauren wants to launch a jumper or a pair of jeans that are good quality, and they’re going to last a long time because they’re going to constantly create reoccurring revenue. And they’re going to make their passports look really, really good.

So, Kate, this sounds fantastic, but I think what might be helpful for folks out there is to hear some use cases of how these tokens can connect with, you know, real world assets. And so give us some give us a flavor of what what some examples of how this might work.

At the moment, this could go out to any object in the world, but because we want to start small, there are three use cases that come to mind. There are real estate, so houses that don’t move. Then we’ve got objects that do move and circulate in the world or unvaulted objects.

Such as watches, such as fashion, high end fashion, such as handbags. And then we’ve got things that are vaulted, things that don’t move. And that’s things like gold bars.

That’s things like diamonds, precious gems, things like art, things that stay in shipping containers and get moved around. So those are the kind of three areas we could think of. Which one should we dive into?

Let’s go for the watches.

So at the moment today, if you bought a Rolex watch, you’d probably buy it either from the Rolex brand or you’d buy it on eBay. You definitely can’t buy it on Amazon or Alibaba or something like that. You definitely wouldn’t trust it because you just wouldn’t get the cover.

You couldn’t get any guarantee that if it was wrong, you’d get a refund. So most people try to reduce that risk of something going wrong and they buy it from a friend or from a known retailer. Even in that scenario, when they buy the watch, they sign some terms and conditions that most people don’t know this, that say we completely devolve ourselves of having any proof or any likelihood that this is real.

Sorry, it’s nothing to do with us. And they don’t take any liability for it. So if something is found not to be true, there’s nothing you can do about it.

It’s really up to people’s goodwill. It’s up to individual brands’ willingness to give you a refund. And so what this causes is a whole load of watches that are on the market right now that could be sold and should be sold at a higher price, but they can’t.

So they’re just kind of stuck in this limbo and they can’t get sold. And some of them can get sold, but they’re going to get sold for way less than their true value. And so these poor, sad little watches out there, lonely, looking for homes, wanting to be recognized and valued for who they truly are, can now have a passport, a digital passport that is certified by external third parties, not just the brand, who’s obviously going to say all the good things about them and is economically incentivized to do so.

Can we just dive into the passport, just to clarify that? Because I know when I first started this journey, the passport was a little bit like, I had to understand what that was. How I thought about it was like a digital wallet.

So you put like cards in your wallet, a passport is kind of like that. Would you describe it in a different way?

Yeah, it is like that. It’s a digital space that you can put things in. But it’s more than that.

It’s a protective wrapper. Because today, NFTs just have information in them. Whereas a passport has legally binding warranties, so legal contracts.

That’s the big difference. And that contract is written in something called a Ricardian contract, but it’s written in a way that both the law courts and the blockchain understand.

Cool. So I just want to give another example of that, because we use that, a smart contract, is how we defined it. So in the forest, when someone bought our token, automatically in the contract, we planted trees with a provider and that was built into it.

So is this how it works when you buy a Rolex, there’s a smart contract behind it in the passport, and that defines how it’s going to, the royalties and so forth. Is that correct?

Yeah, that’s the first step is to have a smart contract that automates it. But what’s really important here is liability when something goes wrong. So we tend to think about the happy path and say, well, nothing will go wrong.

Nobody will lie. Everything will go as we planned. But what’s really important is what is the plan written in writing in a legal form for when something goes wrong?

That’s the dispute resolution rules part. And most NFTs and smart contracts don’t have dispute rule resolutions. And that’s where Materials Passport come.

That’s the protective layer that says, it’s a bit like a prenup.

Why don’t more NFTs have this? It should be standard. NFT your marriage.

Exactly. NFT your marriage. Have your prenup written in.

And it’s not because we want to divorce. We don’t want things to go wrong. But we also want to be careful and protect things that we love, right?

And protect each other and make things smooth and easy for ourselves. And so having a pretty…

We want truth. And that’s the case. I think trade, all trade is based on trust, isn’t it?

Ultimately, right? Because you’re never going to be there when that thing, usually you’re never there. When that thing was made or the produce that went into it came out of the ground, you weren’t there.

So when you buy a good, you’re trusting in the claims of whoever’s selling it to you that that’s a verifiable and moral kind of thing that you’re buying. But as you say, the secrecy that is tucked behind a lot of stuff, we need ways of bringing that out. That’s why I love this.

So awesome example.

I have one other metaphor, the idea of a holographic certificate, right? So at the moment you go up to an object and all you see is the physical object. You don’t see anything else.

But behind every object is a data aura, an invisible set of information. It’s just most human eyes can’t see it, right? And so what Materiem is doing is making that holographic certificate visible so that anybody can interrogate an object and actually see what’s really behind it and can test out if that’s true or not.

I think what you’re doing as well is you’re also creating ways of adding value to physical objects, right? That watch that we’re talking about, what if it was owned by a famous sports personality, right? Now at the moment, you’re buying it for generations on, it’s a claim, but who really knows, right?

But maybe there’s a certifier that would happily say, yes. Now that then adds value to the watch, the certifier gets the kickback. You, as a purchaser of that watch, know that there’s extra value in there, there’s extra narrative, that you are owning something that actually was worn by Gary Lineker or someone, I don’t know, whoever.

So I think for those outside the UK, he’s not really that great a footballer, but he played for England. NBA shots, right?

NBA, when we think about basketball, we think about the sport, you get hats that have signage, you have video clips of somebody’s amazing slam dunk. All of these physical things can be framed, packaged up and passported so that you can verify when you sell them on. This wasn’t just a fake or a nice wishful thinking.

I’ve actually got evidence and somebody is willing to back it up. You won’t even get that from somewhere like Sotheby’s. When you buy and sell art from Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the most prestigious art galleries in the world, they still have terms and conditions that say we can’t be held account if any of this information is not true.

Because nobody can give 100% guarantee. But what we can do is create a world and create an infrastructure where we reduce that risk right from the get-go with good intentions.

I absolutely love it. So what we’re actually seeing is the ability potentially for a product to increase in value, right? Which happens in some industries and some circumstances based on its whereabouts, what it’s gone through, where it’s traveled, whatever it might be, who’s come into contact with it.

And I just think that is absolutely fascinating. And as you say, it’s not 100%, but it definitely moves us way more into a more trustworthy environment, which cannot be bad for anyone. It’s trust on the next, through the hemisphere, isn’t it?

And I think what I love about this, going back to our original kind of conversation, how we kicked off and you in a field and me in a farm here in South Wales and getting back to the reality. I think I’ve lived, and I’m guilty of this, so I’m happy to admit it. You go into a shop, you buy something, you don’t really think about where did that thing come from?

How was it made? And sometimes people, tech companies, for example, they may not intend to lie or they might have the best intentions, but somewhere tucked away in their supply chains. And I know this from my work, right?

When you really go through the supply chains and you go back and back and back, they’re using certain computer chips. Well, where was the stuff mined from, right? Who’s looking at that?

The brand doesn’t know, it just buys the material it needs, but we need to kind of get much better as a human race of the reality. And I’m all about truth. And what I see in this, when we first spoke about this some months ago last year, I was like, oh my days, this is the first time, right?

If brands are serious about trust and truth, this is a way that I could see anyway, in my limited knowledge, that could actually bring us to that reality. And so I fell in love with the concept like immediately, because I was like, wow, I kind of get it. And I can see this happening.

Jacob, I’ll be interesting. You are into NFTs and all that just, but I think you solely focused on the digital side. I might be wrong, but can you correct me on that?

And what are your thoughts about seeing that kind of application that Kate’s been talking of in real product?

I love the mix of physical and digital. I think that’s where the next frontier is, right? It’s that combination.

I think that makes it more tangible for people, and people will make it click for them. When it first came out, you know, NFTs, there was a huge hype about digital art, and people thought it was like JPEGs, and it just totally got misunderstood. And, you know, there’s so many scams and everything.

So to hear this, you know, spiral economy, which is new for me as well right now, it’s incredible to hear about. So just to give some of my experience, earlier last year, I co-founded a company called The Forest, which was a Web3 company to help creatives with NFTs and Web3, and just empowering them to get into Web3 and educating them on this. We created a passport, a token, an NFT to get access to our educational material.

So that was our experience. It was totally new for me. There was 10 of us who co-founded it and we’re all learning along the way.

We all had different skills. We’re all creatives and we just came together to learn about it and build something and bring people along with us on that journey. So that was really, you know, it was a big journey and learned a lot.

And that’s how I kind of got into this Web3 world and the blockchain. And that just blew my mind when I heard about that. And the deeper I went down that rabbit hole, the more I realized I didn’t know and I just like just scratched the surface of it.

And it’s like it goes so deep and I really excited for the future, but it’s I think we’re a little bit off and the public needs to be educated. And yeah, that’s my experience. But to hear it with like that luxury or the brand lens and that luxury kind of feel or angle on it, it’s really, I don’t know the right word, but it’s exciting, you know, where things could actually go or where they are already, but I guess they need to become more mainstream.

I really like that you mentioned Journey because with all of these things, we think that we’re going to get to the end and have figured it all out. And we have this eureka moment, we understand, but it’s never ending. And so same with a brand, they’re not going to have 100% transparent products immediately.

They’re not going to have 100% green, but showing consumers that they’re on the journey, that they’re on the train, that’s huge. And that’s going to be a huge divide between where, you know, consumers feel that a brand is on the train and on the journey and where they feel brands are just ignoring it and they’re not even bothering.

Yeah, it’s just like branding in general. It’s like you test and evolve, and you go learn from the consumer and see what sticks and what doesn’t stick, and you evolve. So very much so.

The journey is a great way to describe it. And that’s part of what we actually did with our strategy, is we realized that it was a journey, and it was about adventure and fun, and that was very much integral to our branding. So yeah, I’ll leave it there.

Yeah, check out The Forest, everyone. If you’re… The branding is beautiful, Jacob, but I’d expect no less from a man of your skills.

I was just going to say, yeah, this concept of a journey I think is really interesting, and I think what I see is… We talk about greenwashing, right? I see like a load of trust washing, right?

Brands like, pick us with the best, with the fastest, with whatever it is. We have the best quality, we stand for this social justice cause or whatever it might be. But when you peel back the veneer, in some cases, as we know from recent news stories, it can get pretty ugly underneath the reality.

And whether that’s intentional or not, it is kind of beside the point because I think the system that everything is operating in does need a bit of a look at. And what this, what you’ve presented to us today, enables us to do is to look at a system where there’s incentives all the way through. But everybody’s a winner ultimately, particularly humanity, the consumer, the brand, if they do their job correctly can get a good revenue from this long-term.

So stability in business is important and even for the certifiers, taking the risk. So I just see a lot of value all the way through this as a system. I was going to sort of say though, but Jacob mentions the journey and we picked up on that.

Like if I was a brand manager right now, maybe there’s some tuning in and they’re thinking about what’s next. They want to look great in front of their bosses. They want to stand up and say, leadership team, this is where we need to go.

What are the steps, Kate, for a brand to start that journey in a meaningful way?

I think start wherever you’re at and don’t try and put on a big show and say that you’re bigger than you are. Start with whatever initiatives you do have. And it might just be making some of the supply chains in your product, some of the details transparent.

And I think that’s a nice parallel to maybe the vegan movement or a fitness movement. When you start out in sports and you want to start getting healthy, you don’t suddenly have muscles running around your necks and shoulders. You just have a small routine, you do small reps.

Or if you’re going to go vegan or vegetarian, you don’t suddenly cut it all out. You just start one or two recipes. And I think it’s the same.

Pick one product, come chat with us. We’ll help you to find all the information. We’ll help you to think about how you can reach out to your certifiers and who are going to be the people that de-risk your claims for you.

And we’ll go through step by step and work on one product at a time. And I think that audiences around the world, they want transparency, they want realness and honesty. And saying, look, we haven’t figured it all out, but we’re starting, I think, is a really authentic place to be in.

I like that. Bring your audience with you on the journey. And there’s so many brands that automatically jump to my mind, consumer brands like Toms or Patagonia we’ve mentioned, brands that say a lot of this stuff.

Well, let’s start seeing them actually do some stuff in this space. I know they are, they’re trying, but this now adds an additional layer on top. And so I think this is a little call to action, right, to think this through.

And I know Jacob, myself or Kate would love any thoughts that we’ve provoked in our conversation, reach out to us on LinkedIn. We’d love to think that through. And I think the other thing I would add to that is you think about this from a luxury good product perspective or consumer goods, but in the B2B space, I think this is huge as well.

Like, you know, if you own a manufacturing plant or you need to buy a specialist machine or a x-ray machine or something like that, right, that is high value, that you really need to trust in its background, you know, this is going to be huge for kind of B2B technology as well. I would and manufacturing and things like that, because now I’m buying a product. It might even be second, third generation, because in those spaces, that’s normal.

And now I can really trust in what we’re doing. So don’t just think consumer goods. Think about this a lot wider, I would say.

And I think that I think you’ll find probably we’ll find some interesting movements in those spaces, just from a practical perspective, before it gets down into our back pocket. Any thoughts on that, Kate, on how this might spread?

Absolutely. Mattereuem is starting with B2B, because that’s where we can make real gains in how things are manufactured and made. There’s huge inefficiencies just because two different companies buying parts from each other don’t have the same information and systems.

And we can reduce the time it takes to transfer and just bureaucracy. A great kind of comparison is when bookkeeping was invented, it completely changed the whole way that we do accounting and business. And I feel like this is the similar paradigm shift.

We’re changing the way we’re doing bookkeeping. We’re not just saying, hey, I can show you. We’re saying, I put my money where my mouth is because I believe that what I’m saying is true and you’ll get your money back.

It’s just a whole next level of trust and next level of administration. And so if we want people to adopt it, especially businesses, we need to make it really smooth and easy. And so that’s the next frontier, how to make that frictionless.

How far off is it for B2C, right? So like the everyday milk carton, for example, we were talking about before. Is that like a long way away?

Hard to say. Depends how quickly we get funding. If Mattereuem were able to scale really quickly and we had large companies that want to put thousands and thousands of products through us, then we’d probably be able to do it in the next five years.

But if there’s lots of things to overcome and there’s less product flow through, then it could take longer. Ten years.

There we are. But it’s coming, folks. Whatever happens.

And as we say, it’s starting now. So, you know, keep an eye on this. You heard it here first.

You can all quote us back and hopefully before five years and say, I first heard it and JUST Branding with Kate Pincott and Matt Davies and Jacob Cass. Listen, let’s wrap things up. I just wanted to sort of end, Kate, by asking how do folks get in touch with you if anything you’ve said has sparked, you know, an interest in their minds?

Just reach out on either LinkedIn or salesatmaterium.com and have a chat, book a call with us if you’re thinking, oh, I don’t know if any of that made sense, but I’m interested in telling stories with our products. Brilliant. That’s a great place to start telling interesting stories about how something was made or, you know, an interesting location or provenance or material.

Maybe a celebrity has been involved in the product that you’re making and you want to warranty that. Maybe there’s a special event that your object was at. Any of those things that you want to certify, any kind of fact that you want to certify is true about the object.

Get in touch and we can make that happen.

Amazing. Well, thanks so much, Kate, for coming on. We really appreciate you carving out the time for us and blowing our minds a number of times.

But thank you. Keep doing the great work that you’re doing and all the very best for creating the spiral economy. Thank you.

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