Spotlight On: DNA

Spotlight On: DNA


June 24, 2022

Welcome to Kadena’s Project Spotlight Series, where we’ll highlight the groundbreaking work of organizations currently building on Kadena!

Database of Native Assets (DNA) is a blockchain-based platform, built on Kadena, that helps brands combat counterfeiting and build trust with their customers. Abraham Milano, Adam Joannou & Douglas Jakobi co-founded DNA in 2021 as a token-based bridge between the physical and digital worlds that allows creators to mint their own branded DNA tokens that prove their product’s provenance and authenticity, reducing counterfeiting risk in the process.

We recently chatted with Abraham and Adam about why they chose to build on Kadena and where they envision taking DNA in the future.

1. How do you explain DNA in simple terms? Give us your elevator pitch.

Database of Native Assets (DNA) is a blockchain platform that bridges the physical and digital worlds. With DNA, brands can tokenize their physical products, to fight counterfeiting, empower a safer & more reliable online marketplace and reward loyalty and ownership. The platform is designed with widespread adoption in mind.

2. Share with us your background on how you got started in this space.

Douglas and I come from the Commodities world where legal and commercial practices lack transparency and there are constant challenges with fraudulent documentation across supply chains. Abraham is a blockchain veteran who has been active since early 2017.

You could say we have blockchain and supply chain in our dna.

3. Why are NFTs uniquely suited for helping to reduce luxury goods counterfeiting?

The counterfeit market is valued around $4.5 trillion — 60–70% of that was luxury goods (Harvard Business Review). NFTs with security measures can protect brands and their customers by proving provenance.

The luxury resale market has grown to $33bln (Bain). Brands have no visibility over this or even to customers who purchase their items through 3rd parties. NFTs give them a way to engage with their customers, directly or indirectly, and reward their loyalty and ownership.

4. What attracted you to build on Kadena?

Douglas and I were instantly drawn to Kadena’s value proposition. Scalability without compromising security and the lower energy consumption are key requirements for widespread adoption. As non-technical guys we also liked that Stuart and Will built JP Morgan’s blockchain — it’s an experience that would have forced them to deal with real-world constraints — a big plus for us. Not to mention that if you can convince Jamie Dimon, the biggest crypto naysayer to hire you, it says a lot!

Abraham has extensive experience and traumatic memories building on ERC protocols. He was skeptical at first to build on Kadena, but it only took a few weeks of digging deeper for him to be “All in!”, he actually wrote about the experience here (Why we love Kadena’s Marmalade NFT Standard — from the perspective of DNA’s CTO | by Database of Native Assets | Medium).

5. We love founder stories. What’s the origin story of DNA?

As NFT’s were blowing up early last year, Douglas and I started discussing how this first stepping stone of adoption could open Pandora’s box for new uses of the blockchain. We were still clearly scarred from our commodities days!

Douglas was an early KDA investor and mentioned that we should build on Kadena. The next step was to find a CTO who could vet Kadena and build the platform. Enter Abraham.

I met Abraham in NYC in 2017, at the time he had built a proto-NFT and I was convinced he was crazy. I was wrong, he was early. I reached out to him to see if he would be interested. He was intrigued and asked for a month to dig deeper. After some early apprehensions about building on PACT the further he went down the Kadena rabbithole the more his excitement grew “This solves a lot of the headaches I had, I’m all in!”

Now all we needed was a name.

6. Have any hot takes on the NFT market that you’d like to share?

We’re not even at the tip of the iceberg in terms of use cases and adoption.

7. What can we expect from DNA in the next 6 months? Where will you be in 3 years?

We just launched our first live collaboration with legendary skateboarder turned artist Steve Olson. All the art in his exhibition “Beautiful Explosions” comes with a DNA authentication token, check it out at the Medium Exchange Gallery in NYC till the 10th of July.

In the next 6 months, we have many more exciting collaborations that will show off new features around security, experience and ways to reward owners.

In 3 years, we hope to be everywhere, spreading the Marmalade.

8. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to innovate in blockchain?

Blockchain has so many future use cases but in reality, it’s very early days when it comes to adoption, so be sure that your idea has a realistic use case and can be easily adopted. In our case, we realized that our customers generally have little to no blockchain expertise and are wary of the crypto world. So we have designed a platform that is easy to use and accessible to all.

Also, the bear market is also an amazing opportunity to innovate and build, so stick at it!

Many thanks to Abraham and Adam for sharing their story, and their passion for authentication and reducing counterfeit goods in the luxury market!