PFPs, profile pictures based on blockchain, are the hottest things out there in 2022. Now, it’s time to dress them up.
CryptoPunks started it all, but what is next for PFPs and how will luxury brands respond?
With the momentum collectively swinging toward mass-adoption of blockchain assets globally, we must wonder: what place will PFPs have in the growing global web3 landscape and what will luxury fashion brands in particular have to say about PFPs and digital wearables?
A PFP NFT (non-fungible token) is essentially digital artwork used to represent a character or personality; it is shoulder-length, often hand-drawn and often reflecting various “human” traits. Usually created as a collection minted (i.e. spawned) upon a common theme, they come with different levels of rarity and complexity.
The world of avatar NFTs — known as crypto profile picture (PFPs) — continues to expand.
Celebrities, luxury, fashion and athletic brands, plus TV, tech and startups are all on-board, and with a preponderance of phygital products rapidly coming to market, PFPs are now firmly established as key markers of success for a growing collective of NFT collectors and crypto communities. Some of the most popular PFP communities are CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club, both of which have garnered the attention of major celebrities.
Owning an NFT, usually as an ERC-721 token (the Ethereum-based NFT standard at the moment), means you are one of the select few who can claim membership in that community. Financialization of NFTs is now possible; one way is collective bidding, exemplified by PartyBid ; another is fractionalization; and finally, NFTs may be now used as collateral for loans.
Undoubtedly there is both cultural and symbolic value in participating in these collective, blockchain-based interactions. Holding a PFP lets people signal their status and also embrace a community while engaging in artistic expression (activities that otherwise would not be possible).
NFTs are property, and owning one means a ticket to special internet native social clubs which are otherwise closed off.
Identities merge with digital depictions of “real” people, and the intersection of personal adornment, image, community and personal preferences are now forming a new web3 arena where PFPs may be “dressed” using NFT wearables.
Nifty Tailer, a web3 project, lets owners create derivative NFTs wearing fresh “clothes” for their PFP. These “digital garments” are the latest trend in what is quickly becoming a very “phygital” movement, creating some powerful and highly-imaginative collaborations.
NFTs have now sauntered far beyond a speculative gamble or new investment tool; they are becoming a part of our socially-connected lives, representing a deep connection to the nascent web3 universe that is accessible to anyone with a smartphone.
By allowing NFT owners to personalize their avatars, a technological revolution is taking shape which major brands are strongly embracing.
So significant are PFPs that Visa bought an NFT for its historical collection of globally-significant financial instruments, with Visa also creating a mentorship program for NFT creators.
The brand Champion Athletic revealed digital apparel and accessories to NFT holders of the Non-Fungible People series, allowing holders to upgrade by burning their original NFT (and in the process freshly mint a new NFT) in exchange for a new Champion apparel; the same series and burning method has been embraced by luxury watchmaker Louis Moinet, allowing for holders to retain the standalone NFT watch if they wish.
“All of the NFT timepieces in this collection are maintaining full working functionality in their virtual form, staying true to the original vision of Louis Moinet and bringing watchmaking into the new age of web 3.0. For the first time in their history, Moinet creations are breaking free of pure physicality and getting realized in their most innovative form.” ~ Jean-Marie Schaller; CEO, Louis Moinet
“What is really interesting about this is when you change a trait you change the rarity, so you could have an NFT that has been burned to have a combinable look, and now your singular NFT has four distinct pieces combined into one. It adds a different layer of complexity and value,” ~ Jessica Rizzuto.
Puma recently partnered with CatBlox, and Gucci has continued the company’s dive into the metaverse with an upcoming 10ktf collaboration that involves illustrations, storytelling, PFPs, NFT accessories and a virtual (floating) world. This burning method, used to mint new PFPs, is not used by metaverse powerhouse Roblox, however it could be on the way, as currently the project’s use of digital clothing does not utilize NFTs — though Roblox does allow users to layer their clothing, much like real-life.
Wearing and/or displaying an NFT as a badge may soon be the way we identify online.
That same PFP image could also be used to transact, socialize, and shop.
It is still early but we now see a clear convergence of web3 communities with PFP-hype; while it now takes mere weeks for NFT projects to gain massive followings and impressive volume (e.g. goblintown), it is still not an easy-entry for many wishing to participate, with many hurdles for (worthy) whitelists and much uncertainty about which projects are truly worthwhile.
Contrasting these gambles in pre-minting are the certaintitudes that present themselves if and when major brands and retailers get involved in a movement; this is what is now occurring, with shopping and socializing transforming themselves into digital-first experiences, and customers using PFPs by default.
Marketplaces such as OpenSea, Gem.xyz and others are paving the way for innovative asset-backed platforms such as LuxFi to move the dial even farther forward, allowing consumers to browse, buy, sell and borrow against their real-world NFT and product twins, choosing from exclusive globally-recognized retailers and luxury designers verified by LuxFi.
The wearable NFT revolution is indeed upon us — buttressed and supported by PFPs — and with the door open to anyone willing to step in. Just be sure to bring your blockchain wallet if you plan to participate.
LuxFi is the world’s first asset-backed NFT marketplace for luxury assets, where people can buy, sell and invest in luxury assets using cryptocurrencies and traditional payments. We eliminate counterfeiting while minting an NFT on a multi-chain blockchain network, with a focus on luxury assets that hold value well and have a high resale value. Leveraging our big data intelligence system and unique algorithm for automated data collecting and data processing, the value of each NFT on our platform is backed by real-world data.
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