At Codec, we track cultural communities through the content they engage with online. Over the last few months, we’ve seen a rise in interest across topics including Digital, Data and Internet Art, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News.
Remember those days of mid-2010s internet culture when bottles of air from Stone Roses concerts were being sold on eBay for just shy of $100,000.? This week, Polish influencer Marta Rentelsold her love as an NFT to an unknown buyer, with whom she will go on a dinner date with upon completion of the transaction. In our bid to certify authenticity through NFTs, has internet culture just gone full circle in its continued commodification of the intangible?
That’s not to say there isn’t scope for meaningful consumer engagement and value growth on the part of brands however. From Burberry to Campbell’s Soup, brands from a range of sectors are taking strides to enter into this growing space. Burberry is crossing over into the lucrative gaming world, partnering up with Mythical Games to create exclusive digital collectibles or ‘skins’ that once purchased, will grow in value over time. Elsewhere, Coca Cola recently auctioned its first special edition digital ‘loot boxes’ containing branded virtual wearables as NFTs. The auction raised $575,000+, with all proceeds going to Special Olympics International.
The sports industry is also harnessing NFTs through fan tokens and engagement, allowing for deepening relationships between fan communities, clubs, players and sponsors. AS Roma recently announced a $42 million partnership with blockchain fintech Zytara Labs.
As brands make moves to enhance engagement and brand awareness in virtual worlds, how will this evolve? Whilst NFTs have been heralded as a democratizing force that empower artists and creators alike through decentralised systems, questions of accessibility and deepening inequality in the digital space may also rise.