TheBig Whale: You had a great presence at NFT Paris, which hosted a lot of people and brands. What did you think of it?
Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel: I think we can say that the event was a real success. It showed that France was at the forefront of Web3 with a dense and attractive ecosystem. There were also many foreigners.
I think that with the latest events in the industry (FTX collapse, uncertain regulation in the US, etc.), Europe is becoming the center of gravity for Web3.
What makes you say that?
That's what came out of my discussions with the players on the ground, especially the American investment funds (Andreessen Horowitz in particular, editor's note). For them, it is in Europe that everything is being played out. 🇪🇺
You had the opportunity to exchange with the ministers of Digital and Culture, and even with the "first lady" Brigitte Macron. What message did you give them?
I told them that what they had seen was much more than a story of digital tokens in luxury and art.
For the first time in the history of the Internet, users can own digital things. With Web3, it is no longer four or five American giants that decide everything.
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Why is it in thebest interest of brands to get into Web3?
Because it allows them to create a new relationship with their customers. In the physical world, companies have their own stores and distribution channels. Why would they need to ask permission from Google or Meta to address their users online?
The move to Web3 will allow them to have a more direct, more qualitative relationship with their customers. This is a big business challenge for brands.
You often emphasize the importance of the wallet 👛. Why?
To me, the digital wallet is a kind of digital backpack. It contains all our stuff, our information, and we have the possibility to reveal only some of the items that are in it. After that, you just have to be careful not to lose that bag, otherwise you lose everything!
What is the point of such a system in these cases?
It is important to understand that we have entered a new era. Today, all individuals have the ability to own their data, their objects and their digital identity. This is an irreversible movement.
On the other hand, brands have to adapt. Large groups like Meta, which has built an empire on its users' data, have understood the need to change, and all brands are starting to understand this.
Tomorrow, instead of tracking a user with cookies, we will let him connect with his wallet and provide the information he wants to provide. This is the basis for a better relationship.
The customer who connects does so voluntarily and consciously, whereas today some large groups collect data without his knowledge.
What will the wallet of the future look like?
A wallet is an interface with several addresses. In the future, these addresses will contain digital assets that are used every day and others that are used more rarely. There will also be badges that will guarantee that one holds a digital asset placed elsewhere.
How to summarize Arianee's activity ?
Arianee is a company that helps brands engage their community through Web3 tools, including NFTs.
We essentially propose 3 use cases: the digital passport of a physical product, the interoperable membership card that replaces the "classic" loyalty program, and finally digital assets such as profile pictures and tomorrow brand wearables for metavers.
What technology do you use?
We have our own protocol that is open-source and compatible with the entire Ethereum ecosystem (EVM). It works with a payment token called the ARIA20. Anyone can come and create their NFTs on the protocol using it.
What is the advantage of using Arianee ?
We consider our NFTs to be the most advanced on the market, as they are dynamic and relational. It is possible to check who issued them, to retrieve them directly from a portfolio (non-custodial), to time-stamp them according to what is happening in the life of the NFT...
What is Arianee's business model ?
When ARIA20 tokens are used to generate NFTs, a part of them goes to the Arianee association with which we share, in partnership with brands (L'Oréal, Richemont, Breitling, Moncler, etc.), the governance of the Arianee protocol. 🗳️
The other part is sent to the developers of the applications that create the NFTs. Currently, the main developer of the protocol is the company Arianee. They have created all the interfaces to use it at scale. The brands are our customers.
You raised 20 million euros in 2022. Is a new fundraising planned?
We are not looking for new funds. We are currently focused on the deployment of the previous fundraising. The priority is to develop the product and recruit new brands. We have enough to last for a little while (laughs). 🤑
The ARIA20 token is currently worth 10 times less than it was in the fall of 2021 when it hit its all-time high. How are you handling the relationship with investors from the 2018 ICO (token issuance)?
You have to take a long-term view with the token. In 2022, there were 1 million tokens created on the protocol. This year, it will be 5 million tokens. The price will go back up once we manage to scale up.
We are working on having as many brands as possible. Mechanically, this will increase the use of the token and therefore its value. This will come gradually, we must be patient.