Decorated Olive Oil Bottles to Be Auctioned as Crypto Assets

Ten bottles of Greek extra virgin olive oil, with custom-designed labels, will be sold as non-fungible tokens at an online auction in July.
Elisabeth Tsapekis harvesting olives. Photo: Andreas Neumeier.
By Daniel Dawson
May. 20, 2021 12:33 UTC

Two months after Christie’s Auction House sold a non-fun­gi­ble token (NFT) cre­ated by the dig­i­tal artist Beeple for $69.3 mil­lion, the tech­nol­ogy behind the emerg­ing cryp­to­graphic asset is already being applied to extra vir­gin olive oil.

The biggest use case for non-fun­gi­ble tokens have been so far for dig­i­tal art,” Martin Sterlicchi, a part­ner at the blockchain tech­nol­ogy com­pany Node Management and co-cre­ator of Aisthisi, told Olive Oil Times.

We def­i­nitely view that as a full phys­i­cal, dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence… You’ll be able to see the dig­i­tal art and the NFT, taste the olive oil, touch the bot­tle, smell it.- Martin Sterlicchi, co-cre­ator, Aisthisi

“[But] it is just as easy to rep­re­sent a phys­i­cal asset with a sin­gle token,” he added.

An NFT is a cryp­to­graphic asset on blockchain rep­re­sented by a unique iden­ti­fi­ca­tion code. They dif­fer from cryp­tocur­ren­cies since they can­not be trans­acted at equiv­a­lency but can be used in com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions.

See Also:Tunisian Olive Oil Producer Will Use Blockchain Technology to Fight Fraud

We’ve seen a lot of exper­i­ments in this world focus on more of the real estate side of things where peo­ple are rep­re­sent­ing pieces of land or prop­erty and that own­er­ship of it through this NFT,” Sterlicchi said.

We’re tak­ing that dig­i­tal art piece, which is very pop­u­lar, mix­ing it with a phys­i­cal own­er­ship rep­re­sen­ta­tion piece and apply­ing it to the world of olive oil since that’s where we’ve got a bit of a con­nec­tion already,” he added.

Along with his co-cre­ator, Thomas Wiesner, the chief tech­nol­ogy offi­cer at Morpher, a trad­ing plat­form for cryp­tocur­ren­cies and cryp­to­graphic assets, Sterlicchi is prepar­ing to trans­form 10 uniquely pack­aged bot­tles of extra vir­gin olive oil into NFTs.

The pair is work­ing with 10 artists from around the world to cre­ate unique labels, which will be placed on each bot­tle of Koroneiki extra vir­gin olive oil, hand-har­vested and trans­formed by Wiesner’s mother, Elisabeth Tsapekis, an olive farmer in Messenia.

The 10 unique bot­tles are the phys­i­cal com­po­nent that you will get if you have the dig­i­tal com­po­nent, which is the NFT,” Wiesner told Olive Oil Times.


Martin Sterlicchi (left) and Thomas Wiesner

It’s a very small batch where we’re actu­ally climb­ing in the olive trees and man­u­ally pick­ing the olives,” he added. In addi­tion to the dig­i­tal art piece that the artist cre­ates, the NFT holder will also get a per­son­al­ized video of the har­vest. Each video will be slightly dif­fer­ent and have a mes­sage at the end of the video for the NFT holder.”

The NFTs will be sold at an online auc­tion via Ethereum, the most pop­u­lar blockchain for cre­at­ing and trans­act­ing NFTs, in July.

The con­sumer pur­chases the NFT through the auc­tion and then they can trans­fer it around and that is what the NFT is there for,” Wiesner said. It’s rep­re­sent­ing some­thing that is non-fun­gi­ble, but it can still be trans­ferred around.”

He added that this is one of the main chal­lenges of the project: pin­point­ing exactly who is in pos­ses­sion of the NFT as the har­vest gets under­way.

The pair will get around this prob­lem by cre­at­ing a mech­a­nism that will lock the trans­fer­abil­ity of the NFT as the har­vest gets under­way. To unlock the NFT, the con­sumer will need to pro­vide their ship­ping address.

Once the bot­tle arrives and the NFT holder scans its QR code to con­firm they have received it, the NFT will be unlocked once again. The holder will then be able to view the har­vest video and per­son­al­ized mes­sage.

Neither Wiesner nor Sterlicchi knows how much the bot­tles will sell for, which is part of the excite­ment of the expe­ri­ence.


I don’t think we can give a full num­ber right now, but I think that it will be more than your aver­age bot­tle of olive oil,” Sterlicchi said. Because this is an emerg­ing mar­ket with a mag­ni­fy­ing glass around it by peo­ple all over the world, there is still a lot of price dis­cov­ery going on right now.”

However, the two believe that the project will suc­cess­fully cre­ate a unique expe­ri­ence for the olive oil pur­chaser and an added value com­po­nent for the pro­ducer.

We def­i­nitely view that as a full phys­i­cal, dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence. The name of the project – Aisthisi – is Greek for sen­sa­tion,’” Sterlicchi said. You’ll be able to see the dig­i­tal art and the NFT, taste the olive oil, touch the bot­tle, smell it.”


Elisabeth Tsapekis’s olive groves on the southwestern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula.

Today if you buy a bot­tle of olive oil, you go to the store and you don’t really see what’s behind it, but the NFT allows the con­sumer to peek inside and see where it came from and get more of a sense that the olive oil has been specif­i­cally made for the con­sumer,” he added.

Along with this unique expe­ri­ence for the con­sumer, sell­ing the bot­tles as an NFT before the har­vest also allows Tsapekis to bypass most of the sup­ply chain and get her olive oils to con­sumers quickly and effi­ciently.

One thing that I always found inter­est­ing is when you are try­ing to get her extra vir­gin olive oil, it takes a long time between the har­vest and when it arrives on the super­mar­ket shelves in Austria,” Wiesner said.

The qual­ity isn’t degrad­ing so much, but you don’t get the oppor­tu­nity to taste fresh extra vir­gin olive oil unless you know a pro­ducer and are part of a har­vest,” he added. I found it very intrigu­ing: how fast can we get a bot­tle of olive oil to an end cus­tomer?”

Coming from the world of high-tech and look­ing at the world through this lens, Wiesner believed that tech­nol­ogy would be the way to solve the prob­lem and facil­i­tate a more direct sales chan­nel for pro­duc­ers to con­sumers.

I think it is going to be a new way to look at sup­ply chains across var­i­ous indus­tries,” Sterlicchi added. One of the main things that I find intrigu­ing about the world of blockchain and cryp­tocur­rency is that it does open it up and ease the bar­ri­ers of entry for all pur­chases. In this case, the pro­ducer straight to the con­sumer.”


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