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Forget tokens, settle for a nice glass of wine

By Taipan
15 Apr 2021

It was the best of wines, it was the worst of wines. It was the age of Riesling, it was the age of cheap plonk from 7/11. It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity that anyone would charge you that much for something that tasted like Lambrini.

Yes, Dear Reader, the craze for investment wines is once again sweeping the banking world. Or at the very least, it is again a topic of conversation among my friends in Hong Kong and Singapore. As one keen speculator put it: “I trade expensive wines and use the profits to buy cheap wines.” That seems a pretty good system to me.

I must admit to being surprised when talking to my friends, including a dashing young Frenchman at one of his nation’s finest banks, to find they really are buying actual wine. I felt sure that in this day and age they would be buying non-fungible tokens to a digital picture of a glass of wine that you never actually get to drink, since drinking is so Old Economy.

I have been reliably informed that my assumptions weren’t too far off. There are poor souls who think wine is best consumed in non-fungible token form, rather than quaffed with a nice dinner. But at least among those I know — and this includes some crypto obsessives — wine is still for drinking.

That is good news. If this column has been about anything over the last few years, it has been about the intersection of new technology and old habits. Or to put it more honestly: it has been about me getting rather drunk and moaning about the young’uns. This time I don’t have to moan. Once they’ve cashed in a few bottles, the young’uns will get drunk with me.

By Taipan
15 Apr 2021