20.10.2020

We Don’t Need Big Brother to Beat This Virus

One of the key aspects of most plans to survive the virus and reopen the economy is digital contact tracing. This would be an apparatus whereby mobile phones kept track of the other mobile phones they had been physically proximate to, so that if someone were diagnosed with COVID-19 the at-risk people they had been in contact with could be notified. Apple and Google have proposed one plan while a European consortium is working on another. 

Is there a way to reopen the economy post-virus that doesn’t involve draconian surveillance measures?

At the center of the issue is whether contact tracing can be done in a way that doesn’t violate privacy and doesn’t open a Pandora’s box of new issues around the data governments have on their citizens.

Today’s episode of The Breakdown explores the crypto community’s response to contact tracing and why we don’t need big brother to beat the virus.

WatchSkins Is Creating Digital Collectibles for Your Wrist

Watches, like shoes and cars, call tell you a lot about a person. A fan of gold and bling could identify as a crypto investor, while a fan of Disney will strap on a Mickey Mouse watch.

Now a company called Watch Skins wants to turn digital wearables into new ways to express yourself – and let you own a piece of unique digital property too.

The company, founded by brothers Colin and Justin Knock along with creative director Seth Cheshire, has created a platform for creating, buying and selling watch faces based on non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The product is currently in its early phase,but the team showed us an early version including an auction app that lets you bid on and buy popular watch faces.

The key to the product is the idea of non-fungibility or digital scarcity. The team has created a wide collection of face designs and is also working with brands and artists to produce others featuring logos, sports players, cartoons and street art. Their platform is working, but is currently in beta.

Each watch face is unique and no other user can own the same one. Because they are collectibles, the Knocks expect the faces to fluctuate in price based on demand.

“I’ve always been a watch lover. I’ve collected them for years, and when it came to my smartwatch I realized that there was no real scarcity or rarity in the digital watch face market. I wanted something unique that I could design myself. When I couldn’t find it in the marketplace, I decided to build it myself,” Collin told CoinDesk at CES in Las Vegas as he walked us through the platform.

“We think of them as kind of like digital baseball cards, something with real value,” he said.

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