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Opinion

Digital whisky hits the markets in Singapore

We’ve tokenized currencies, dentistry, even pandas (no, really). What next? Whisky. We all need a drink.

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January brought top-end Scotch whisky to the digital world, with the commencement of trading of “southeast Asia’s first digital, whisky-based ABS”.

There are five tokens, all linked to a specific cask of whisky sitting in Scotland.

The group behind this is PrimePartners Corporate Finance, a Singapore financial services group, through a subsidiary called Rare Cask Holdings. The tokens are traded on Hg Exchange, which is a private member-driven securities exchange backed by PhillipCapital, crowdfunding platform Fundnel, blockchain Zilliqa and PrimePartners itself.

The exchange became a member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s fintech sandbox regime in June 2020.

So if you’re wondering who ultimately regulates an underlying of Scottish whisky on a private members exchange in Asia, the answer turns out to be the MAS.

There are also a ton of rules about what actually constitutes Scotch whisky – age statement, oak barrels, minimum 40% alcohol – and Diageo takes care of that side of things.

Growing market

Does the world really need a digital form of whisky?

You wouldn’t think so, but perhaps Asia does. The preoccupation of China in particular with fine wines is well known, but in some ways, whisky is more widely adored in the region: in addition to Japan and Taiwan, both manufacturers of beautiful whisky, India is a growing market for the top end.

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