NFTs are here to stay for all the reasons you likely haven’t thought about.
Did you know that Collins Dictionary selected “NFT” as their Word of the Year for 2021? Well, it’s no surprise! As the non-fungible tokens have been taking the world by storm, it has been fascinating to observe how this new technology has successfully infiltrated industry after industry.
In today’s social media-driven landscape, the lines between different fields have become more blurred than ever. Entertainment, music, fashion, sports, and innovation have been colliding and intertwining in more interesting ways than most of us could have predicted two decades ago. For example, it’s now completely normal to hear that a pop star is launching their own fashion line or a business mogul has invested in a leading basketball team. Or that a well-known lifestyle brand is working side-by-side with a video game company or is developing its own Snapchat filter. NFTs, however, are now taking this game to a whole new level.
There is a place right at the intersection of culture, entrepreneurship, and entertainment, and it’s become the perfect spot for NFTs to enter and disrupt it all. They are undoubtedly the future of the creator economy and though the mainstream has been mostly seeing them in the context of digital art, it is important to understand that the implications, rewards, and potential of NFTs go way beyond that.
Whether it’s executing an exciting NFT consumer brand strategy or focusing more on the utility aspect of NFTs, all these cases demonstrate the underlying power that NFTs and crypto have to radically drive culture forward.
Let’s take a look at the following examples which illustrate a variety of ways in which both creators and companies have taken advantage of this emerging tech!
NFTs and Fashion
The high-end fashion house Balenciaga collaborated with the video game Fortnite on a special collection of in-game outfits and limited edition physical garments. This project excellently emphasizes the value of self-expression and digital ownership, concepts that are highly respected and cultivated in the unfolding land of NFTs.
Fashion icon Paris Hilton comments on the topic saying, “COVID has made it difficult to host fashion shows and caused people to buy fewer clothes. I think fashion brands can and should leverage NFTs as another way of showcasing their designs and products—and make them more accessible.
Imagine if you could buy a Chanel bag for your video game character or have an original Damien Hirst, Beeple, or Pak piece of art in your virtual home. And one of the beautiful things here is that in the virtual world, items stay in mint condition, which makes them more likely to hold their value!”
But we’ll get back to Paris later. Another very recent initiative was Dolce & Gabbana’s latest NFT partnership with inBetweeners.
InBetweeners is an exclusive NFT collection by Italian artist Gianpiero consisting of 10,777 hand-drawn characters living on the Ethereum blockchain. Famous for designing Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber’s merch, the artist will rightfully receive even more recognition and success in the wake of this just-announced collab with Italian heritage brand D&G.
It is explained on the project’s website that owning an inBetweener will give people access to holder-only Discord channels, governance in the Community Wallet, invites to IRL events, and the IP and copyright for each inBetweener. It’s no longer only about the piece of art itself but also about the social status and variety of perks that come with it, that’s where some of the main superpowers of an NFT economy lie!
These are only a couple of the numerous trendsetting collaborations that are paving the way for a more immersed, creative, and connected digital future.
NFTs and Influencers
Influencers have also been dipping their toes into the world of NFTs.
Paris Hilton (dubbed “the original influencer” from back in the day when influencer marketing wasn’t a thing yet), has been sharing her growing passion for the space and her intentions to both create and invest. Her “Past Lives, New Beginnings” NFT collection was launched in collaboration with Superplastic’s synthetic superstar, Dayzee.
The American socialite used this collection to tell her personal story as someone evolving in the public eye for the past 20 years. It’s all about reclaiming the power over her own image and empowering others to do the same. Definitely a worthy message! The aesthetic of the artworks is a cool mixture between Paris’s visual style and the signature vibe of Dayzee, an animated celeb.
Needless to say, all the pieces have been sold out, but what’s even better is the fact that collectors are given the opportunity to win hundreds of different bonus prizes, including the chance to meet Paris in person for a group dinner in LA. One lucky winner will even get the bridal robe and sunglasses that Paris wore on her wedding weekend! Last but not least, 111 winners will get followed by Miss Hilton on Twitter! All these extra perks are an amazing example of how multidimensional and value-driven NFTs can be when it comes to engaging with your audience in a much deeper and more unique way.
NFTs and Finance
NFTs have also penetrated the world of finance. A prime example is Visa’s 2021 purchase of a CryptoPunk for nearly $150,000 in ETH.
“Today, as we enter a new era of NFT-commerce, Visa welcomes CryptoPunk #7610 to our collection,” the payments tech company took to Twitter. Following the acquisition of this female Punk with a Mohawk, Visa released a whitepaper on NFTs with the aim of encouraging other businesses to integrate them into their brand strategy. They stated that NFTs provide a deeper and more innovative way for fan engagement, as well as a potential new revenue stream for organizations. We sure agree!
In other banking news, it’s time to welcome the first bank to open in the metaverse! Validating accounts and fraud prevention won’t be issues left unaddressed in the growing virtual reality.
US lender JP Morgan now has a lounge in the blockchain-based universe of Decentraland. The American investment bank has expressed huge interest in this democratic ownership type of economy and is determined to become a key player in the quickly-developing space.
NFTs and Entertainment
In December of last year, a popular club in Miami purchased a Bored Ape NFT.
The popping nightclub called “E11EVEN” invested in a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, none other than number 11. The price they paid for the hyped artwork was 99 ETH which is equivalent to $310k as of right now.
This might be the club’s very first NFT purchase, but they’ve been expressing excitement for the new technology from before. E11EVEN started accepting cryptocurrency payments in April 2021 which gave them the reputation of being the first major nightclub in the States to do so. According to an article from December 2021, they had processed over $4 million in crypto payments in just those 9 months!
E11EVEN had also hosted an evening dedicated to NFTs as part of Art Basel Miami where many organizations and events were highlighting and celebrating the new technology. Travel rewards program Marriott Bonvoy, for instance, took the stage to release an exclusive NFT collection inspired by the group’s latest marketing campaign, titled “Power of Travel.”
NFTs and Sports
There is also something for the sports fans. What is the involvement of this crucial and profitable field with NFTs?
Firstly, sportswear brand Nike acquired RTFKT, a digital design studio that makes incredible trainers and other collectibles for online environments.
“This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming, and culture,” said Nike CEO and president John Donahoe.
Scarcity means value in all markets for collectibles. Streetwear brands have been famous for victoriously capitalizing on scarcity culture and so have been NFTs. This is one of the many reasons why sports, fashion, and NFTs can be a combination to die for! Producing limited-edition drops of metaverse-ready sneakers and other items has been the bread and butter of studio RTFKT which has already gained major success after only 3 years of starting out.
The design company released a virtual sneaker in collaboration with crypto artist FEWOCiOUS that sold out in minutes. They also cooperated with the renowned Takashi Murakami on a series of rare avatars which collectors could use across games and augmented realities.
In other more sports-related endeavors, a group of top female athletes from a variety of sports joined forces for an NFT release. Named “The Collective Series”, the inspiring project is a women-centered and women-led collection that celebrates the power of women as creators, champions, and innovators.
Their limited edition NFT trading cards feature the images of basketball players Sue Bird and Aari McDonald, skateboarder Mariah Duran, Paralympic track & field athlete Scout Bassett, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, and soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
Circe Wallace, one of the leaders in “The Collective Series” initiative, said, “typically, athletes are bound by union and league restrictions, so the nature of NFTs in allowing women athletes, in this instance, to have full autonomy and agency over their own name and likeness in the crypto realm is a really unique opportunity”.
Implementing NFTs into the world of sports might also look like fans receiving signed gear, meet-and-greets with their favorite stars (online or offline), front row seats for games, and more. We have been seeing more and more athletes, like Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, for instance, dive into the world of NFTs as a way to further leverage their social reach and interact with their audiences.
The common shift we cannot ignore throughout all these examples is that businesses and celebrities can no longer afford to remain one-dimensional. It has become clear that fashion is not solely about garments and banking is not just about money.
Don’t forget that NFTs reward the initial creator past the first sale. An NFT created today, might still be bringing you a passive income 5 years down the line. And beyond its financial profit, it is a powerful symbol of culture and imagination. An emblem that captures mankind’s creative evolution and ongoing strive to innovate.
It’s indeed culture that is causing the breaking of boundaries with a constant fusion of creativity, innovation, and collaboration. The seemingly endless uses, applications, and benefits of NFTs have opened a whole new world, laying the grounds for a blockchain-driven future.