There is truly no limit to what money can buy. Many artworks, ranging from Picasso, Warhol, and Rembrandt, can fetch millions of dollars. Meanwhile, more unique items on auction, such as luxury fruits in Japan, are bought in the thousands, and a dead shark sold at $12 million.
Moreover, people are pushing the boundaries with the first-ever tweet sold at $2.9 million in 2021. Right now, many companies – with the distinction of high-end labels – are banking on the promise that the metaverse offers.
We’ve heard the term “metaverse” being thrown around casually in the sci-fi genre as early as the 90s, in Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash.” It was mentioned again as a concept a decade later in the dystopian franchise “Ready Player One,” penned by Ernest Cline. Fast forward to 2021, the social media behemoth Facebook rebranded to “Meta” – a nod to the inevitable future that is the metaverse. But, what is the metaverse exactly?
Wired explains that the metaverse “can include virtual reality – characterized by persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist even when you’re not playing – as well as augmented reality that combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds.”
This vast virtual space allows you to store and do just about anything. You can stage a concert or even launch a digital art gallery that people can explore freely anywhere in the world with just a click of a button. And with a multitude of possibilities it presents, of course, the rise of the new digital economy comes into play. Companies are now racing to cash in, providing fresh and exciting virtual goods and experiences, and encouraging people to spend more.
The marriage of luxury and virtuality – how are they capitalizing?
As we close the gap between the tangible and digital worlds, luxury brands have also dipped their toes and started exploring these virtual possibilities by collaborating with Web3 experts to better optimize the platform with their products and services. Here are some notable big names that have entered into the metaverse.
Balenciaga and Fortnite
Known for their forward-thinking and unconventional approach to fashion, designer label Balenciaga’s partnership with Fortnite allowed them to release an exclusive “skin” (game character outfit) collection. Players can buy these skins using V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency, purchased through real money.
The Gucci Garden
Gucci‘s latest partnership with Roblox, an online game platform and game creation system, is just one of the ways the internationally-acclaimed fashion house flexed its muscles in the virtual space. The Italian luxury giant sold a single handbag costing $4,000.
The NFT Aviator
German digital artist Oliver Latta, also known as “ExtraWeg,” and Rayban launched their own aviators, the luxury eyewear brand’s iconic sunglasses. It featured a 16-second video loop of a man sporting the classic sunnies. The NFT Aviator sold for a whopping ETH 1.8 or more than $5,000. Proceeds of the sale were later directed to the Italian Art Trust charity fund.
Louis: The Game
French luxury atelier, Louis Vuitton, partnered with Beeple (Mike Winkelmann), an American digital artist and NFT specialist, in launching Louis: The Game. It features their mascot, Vivienne, on a mission to find 200 candles for Louis’ birthday. The game is a commemoration of the founder Louis Vuitton’s 200th birthday. It features NFTs created by the collaborating artist, which players can collect by downloading the official game in Google and Apple’s app stores.
The World’s First NFT Superyacht
Cloud Yachts, the company behind the digital venture, sold their superyacht on the Ethereum blockchain costing a staggering $12 million. It was designed by Gregory C. Marshall, an award-winning Canadian naval architect and one of Cloud Yacht’s featured designers. Seattle-based Delta Marine will spearhead the creation of the superyacht with costs estimated at $95 million.
Why invest real money in virtual real estate?
It may seem like a farfetched idea to put your money on something intangible and premature as the metaverse. Still, many are joining as early as now to support its development. A-list celebrities and influencers have shared casually that they own a piece of virtual properties and have invested in digital assets.
American rap legend and NFT kingpin Snoop Dogg, otherwise known as Cozomo de’ Medici, is just one of the many notable personalities betting on virtual landscapes’ growth. He revealed back in December 2021 that he is currently creating his own Snoopverse with someone buying a property in his metaverse for nearly half a million dollars.
Many crypto investment firms have also staked into these land pixels in hopes of developing spaces for learning, entertainment, and commerce. The metaverse aims to create a more seamless interaction between digital and real-life experiences.
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