Big brands like Gucci, Coca-cola, Nike are using NFTs as a gateway into the Metaverse.
The metaverse is a concept of virtually-shared 3D spaces where the physical world meets the digital world.
Leading brands are seen experimenting with NFTs in the metaverse owing to consumer demand, innovation, and numerous interactive opportunities.
NFTs pave the way for major brands to attract more consumers worldwide and encourage them to embrace Gen Z that is quite familiar with the virtual world.
The incorporation of NFTs into the Metaverse has put interactions with the digital world in motion. The NFTs were majorly driven by the emergence of blockchain technology, which has also influenced the interoperability and scarcity of nonfungible tokens. Blockchain technology, therefore, plays an integral part in NFTs and the Metaverse.
Lately, we have seen the concept of ‘Metaverse’ find its way to the mainstream and massive adoption by gamers and large companies. It is where the physical world meets the digital world, an interface between real and virtual. The rules in the virtually-shared spaces are also different, where users can become different avatars of versions. Users can also express themselves through their digital identities. In return, the financial, physical, and virtual worlds are rapidly interlinking. So why do major global brands experiment with NFTs in the metaverse? What do NFTs have to do with the metaverse?
The Metaverse and NFTs
The early internet pioneers predicted that Web 3.0, the inevitable future of the internet, would lead the world into a virtually-shared space - the Metaverse. That future they envisioned is knocking on our doors. The concept has paved the way for questions, whether the virtual worlds would only alter human interactions or also alter a part of reality.
Incorporating nonfungible tokens in the metaverse changes everything. NFTs in the metaverse transform human interactions and affect a part of the real world. For instance, Gucci has adjusted to selling NFTs for their Gucci Collection limited edition in the Roblox game, an example of a metaverse. Coca-Cola also used NFTs to launch branded virtual clothing, where avatars could wear their jackets in Decentraland. Coca-Cola went ahead to host a launch party on the platform. NASCAR, on the other hand, prepares to launch a virtual car on Jailbreak on Roblox. NASCAR will also sell clothes to avatars, but the players can create their uniforms in a contest with Jailbreak developers.
NFT as a Gateway into the Metaverse
During Q4, many companies have opted to create and launch their own nonfungible tokens (NFTs) into the metaverse. The reason behind this decision is the numerous interactive opportunities and a ready market. The Roblox, for instance, boasts of over 200 million monthly users playing several virtual games. Most of these games have integrated brand activations. The initiative reflects the major brands’ effort to meet their customer needs anywhere, anytime. NFTs pave the way for major brands to attract more consumers worldwide and encourage them to embrace Generation Z that primarily lives in the virtual worlds.
Global companies like Coca-Cola and Gucci act as a testimony for all companies to go beyond their product and traditional ways of interacting with their consumers. Non Fungible Tokens offer brands a gateway into the metaverse. They introduce brands to concepts like digital ownership, digital collectibility, user behaviours, impacts of moving a section of the world economy into the metaverse, and so on.
Shopify, on the contrary, opened an NFT marketplace to allow merchants to sell directly to consumers. In doing so, they have also allowed a global reach, making it more accessible through the platform. Additionally, the platform has removed the need for third parties when trading and given more control and power to content creators over their NFTs.
Nike, one of the leading brands, is also experimenting with the Metaverse, making NFT an integral part of its branding. Nike filed paperwork in late October with the U.S Patent and Trademark office for a new trademark for the brand. They intend to create and manufacture virtual sneakers for the virtual world avatars. It also intends to create virtual goods that can be downloaded, virtual retail stores that sell their Nike virtual goods, and entertainment services like non-downloadable art, sports equipment, etc. The global footwear and sports apparel giants launched Nikeland on Roblox, a virtual showroom designed after its physical headquarters. The Roblox gamers can use accelerometers for more interactivity in the virtual environment where they can run or jump to earn Nike virtual goods, backed by NFTs, for their digital identities. The showroom is a free environment on the Roblox metaverse. The footwear and apparel brand giant also has plans to incorporate Snapchat lens to convert House of Innovation, New York, into AR.
Niantic’s Pokemon Go is a successful mobile game, now looking into entering the metaverse. The Pokemon Go creator aims to use verifiable GPS information to integrate real-life data into NFTs as a gateway into the Metaverse. Investors in the project claim that the creator aims to build a technology that brings the virtual world an inch closer to the real world. The project will be AR based on a 3D world map. The reputable crypto exchange, Gemini, has not lagged behind in embracing the Metaverse. The exchange expanded into NFTs by purchasing Nifty Gateway, a marketplace for NFTs. Gemini launched Gemini Frontier Funds that include personal investments in the digital world and bought shares in metaverse firms like The Sandbox, buying a virtual plot to create their own virtual location.
Now Visa Inc. has purchased CryptoPunk NFTs worth $150,000. The payments firm aims to understand first-hand what it takes to own, buy, and interact with NFT to help its clients easily navigate the ecosystem. The firm envisions Visa to be instrumental in the economic evolution by merchants and consumers in the metaverse. Visa Inc. has also gone ahead to print an NFT whitepaper to help brands and enterprises understand the potential of NFTs.
The metaverse is knocking at our doors
A fully functional metaverse seems like a sci-fi use case for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. However, we can already witness some of the developments with the integration of NFTs. Some brands have even gone to the extent of experimenting with NFTs in the metaverse, making everyone else play catch-up. More brands entering the Metaverse may be a sign that a fully functional metaverse with Web 3.0, blockchain technology, and virtual and augmented reality is knocking at the door.