By: Amy Rosner By: Amy Rosner | September 3, 2021 | Culture
We may not have the funds to purchase a Birkin Bag, original Bansky art, or sneakers worn by Basketball Legend Kevin Durant, but you can now invest in a share of these items for just $10.
You heard us. Just ten dollars.
How is this possible? We owe it all to our dear friend, Otis.
Otis is an app that lets anyone invest in cultural assets, just like you would invest in stock. AKA, it's the stock market for culture.
Now, you're speaking my language.
Traditionally access to these items was reserved for the ultra-wealthy who could purchase them outright.
The idea is that millennials want to invest in things they actually care about, over Microsoft stock that has little meaning.
The value of items on Otis fluctuates just like stock and investors can make a profit by trading shares. So not only can you own a piece of items you love but you can also make money!
This month Otis added NFTs to their roster of items people can invest in.
See Also: Meet The Woman Behind Industry-Changing NFT Technology
If you’re like us, the term NFT is just as confusing as calculating the tip at a restaurant or doing your tax returns.
But this one-of-a-kind platform is actually really great for people not in the NFT space because it’s a way to invest in NFTS without figuring out how to purchase ethereum.
Simply put, it’s super easy and accessible to all—on multiple levels.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the genius behind the concept, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, to hear more about how Otis is democratizing access to these rare cultural items.
You don't want to miss this!
If you could describe Otis’ brand identity in a few words, what would it be?
Otis seeks to be our users’ “in-the-know friend” who helps surface and educate them on what’s new at the intersection of culture and investing. We not only want our community to know about what’s trending, but to understand it through our educational content.
How has the Otis app made ultra-lux products more accessible to the average person?
Otis makes it possible for almost anyone to invest in high-end cultural assets – from a Hermes Birkin bag to rare collectibles, NFTs, and contemporary art. We make this possible by fractionalizing these items with the SEC and then allowing individuals to buy shares of them – usually for as little as $10. The average person may not be able to afford to buy a $50,000 pair of rare sneakers or a $500k Banksy painting, but they can afford to buy a share on Otis.
Your brand just introduced NFT’s to their roster of items. How is digitized technology changing the way your app works?
Our model largely works the same regardless of whether the item is physical (like a painting or trading card) or digital (like a Cryptopunk). In both cases, we fractionalize the item with the SEC and allow people to buy and sell shares via our app.
How does Otis democratize access to rare cultural items? What are the short and long-term effects of this?
While a big part of what we’re democratizing is people’s ability to invest in these items, part of our vision has always been to also put them on display so people can actually view these items in real life. Prior to COVID, we hosted several events and exhibitions at our East Village gallery space and we hope to again host events in the future once the world is more fully back to normal. In terms of the long-term effects of our business model, it’s always been our mission to usher in culture as the new asset class for this generation, so that in the future it is a commonplace thing to have cultural assets be part of the average investment portfolio.
How is investing in NFTs different than investing in traditional cultural assets? Are there advantages to one versus the other?
On some level, investing in NFTs on Otis is no different than investing in physical assets. That said, NFTs have obviously seen huge momentum this year – and with that momentum is obviously the possibility of NFTs being especially volatile from a price perspective.
Through Otis, investors can profit off of NFTs, without the massive price threshold. Can you further explain how this works?
Like every other asset on the platform, Otis initially drops the NFT and allows our users to buy shares. Usually, 3-4 weeks later, the asset is open for trading, which means users can buy and sell shares with one another. Potential returns can be achieved by selling your shares for a gain or if Otis were to sell the asset outright for more than the price an investor paid for their shares.
You’re the first fractional investment platform to offer NFTS. What does it take to be an innovator in your industry?
I think for Otis, innovating is about really paying attention to trends so that hopefully we can see things a little ahead of them reaching the mainstream. Also, another part of being a forward-thinking company is having an appetite for failure. When you try new things, they aren’t all going to work out, but hopefully the ones that do more than pay for the ones that flop.
Photography by: Courtesy Otis