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Cult Wine launches trading platform powered by Wine-Searcher

Digital fine wine and investment management company Cult Wines has introduced CultX, a new trading platform that is backed by blockchain technology and powered by the ‘Google of wine’, Wine-Searcher.

Cult Wine co-founder Tom Gearing

The London-based company, which was set up in 2007 and now has offices in New York, Toronto, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, says it marks “the next generation” in fine wine trading.

The new CultX platform uses Wine-Searcher’s database to help predict wine price, by triangulating various vintages with known data points to give an accurate estimate, the company said.

It will enable users to build, track and manage a fine wine portfolio based on real-time data and live markets from their phone, laptop or ipad. It also includes data analytics, and access to 100k live markets and more than £200m of the world’s investment grade wines to bid on.

Cult Wine Investment co-founder and CEO Tom Gearing said the unique combination of CultX‘s global custodial warehousing and blockchain technology would allow users a “frictionless and hassle-free way to build a physical collection of the world’s most prestigious fine wine.”

Combined with the built-in global storage solution, this is designed to help reduce friction in the buying and selling process by eliminating unecessary movement of goods,  complex logistics and shipping authenticity checks.

“The wines are being moved twenty five times before getting to a table. Why move it until it needs to be drunk?” Gearing pointed out.

Gearing argued that the wine sector had not benefitted from innovation or the emergence of new technologies at the same rate as other industries, and was “plagued by a lack of accurate pricing and exorbitantly high trading fees”, which he said typically made it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions or get fair prices within the market.

The Algorand blockchain technology behind the platform also make it possible to have immediate transfer of ownership, as funds can transferred from the buyer to the seller immediately.

The database is fuelled by powerful wine pricing data from Wine-Searcher, with its data analytics underpinned by sophisticated AI models.

“Our data science team has worked closely with Wine-Searcher’s team over the past six months, building pricing models which aim to tackle issues around price transparency, improving accuracy and helping users value even the rarest, illiquid wines in their collection.” Gearing added.

Founded over ten years ago, Wine-Searcher has amassed a decade’s worth of historical and current market data to provide an accurate price record for more than 100,000 of the world’s top investment-grade wines, it said..

“Global industry players are starting to consume our data differently, and are securing substantial market insight from its use,” Wine-Searcher’s market development director Simon Brown said. “CultX is at the forefront of such technical innovation in the wine industry, and we are proud that they are ‘powered by Wine-Searcher’.”

Brown added that Wine-Searcher’s position in the market was deliberately expansive, neutral, transparent and widely trusted. “That is why CultX chose to be ‘powered by Wine-Searcher’ as the best-in-class solution for market data access.”

Speaking to the drinks business at an event ahead of the launch, Gearing said the global wine trade was very fragmented, and a resolution needed to be found for the four main inhibitors to growth – liquidity, security, logistics and authenticity – to make it a more viable asset class.

“Alternative investments will grow 50% in the next 5-10 years,” he said, adding, “We need to use technology to make the alternative asset class more accessible.”

Gearing said the team were driven by the opportunity after finding that fine wine investment was increasingly being undertaken by ‘cool kid’ investors adding that it was a way to “remove barriers and obfuscation that exists”.

The company’s alternative asset report found that  the US was seeing a spike from younger investors, with growth of around a 23% year-on-year.

The ultimate aim is to grow the business and have £1 billion of assets under management, up from £200 million at the end of 2021, Gearing said.

Read more:

Cult Wine shakes up its offer after launching innovative new investment platform 

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