Futurism, Innovation
July 9, 2021

The Future Is: Non-Fungible

If you’re asking yourself what non fungible tokens are, you’re not alone. Google searches for those three letters (NFT) have soared by 25x since January. Standing for non fungible (translation: not interchangeable) tokens, NFTs are unique data sets stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain. They can represent an incredible array of items – such as art (you probably heard about the Beeple piece that went for a staggering $69.3 million at auction), photos, videos, audio files, and more. The cool and crucial part: Only the owner has access to these files. If you are the owner of that Beeple, you can sell copies or share it freely; hoard it or auction it. That conveys major bragging rights – and value.

But what does this mean to your business? Here we’ll dig into three facets of NFTs, so you’re ready for a non fungible future.


NOW: NFTs Take on Fashion and Fragrance


What’s Fresh: At the end of this month, seven emerging designers – including Collina Strada and Gypsy Sport – will send looks down a virtual catwalk hosted by IMVU, a social-networking metaverse. Select pieces will be available for NFT auction on IMVU’s OpenSea marketplace; what’s purchased is a digital file – a garment that can be worn only by the user’s IMVU avatar. Another sign of NFTs’ currency: On the marketplace Rarible, street-style designer Nick Wooster is dropping digital collectibles to his almost 1 million social-media followers, and the world’s first NFT scent, Cyber Eau de Parfum (it deploys spectroscopy to record the molecular wavelengths of an actual perfume) was crafted by Berlin’s Look Labs. Talk about a whiff of the future!

How It Changes the Game: Style is evolving in the ether. Instead of wearing labels IRL, what’s next is owning an NFT and “flexing” or showing off an item online. Rights to the file + a forum to flaunt it = the new status.

3 Action Steps for Brands:

  • Ideate how your brands translate into “token” form: What must-have can you make in this format?
  • Tap influencers to collaborate on NFT collections.
  • Get a foothold in or co-create a metaverse where your NFT goods can live.


NOW: Female Empowerment NFTs


What’s Fresh: The women who for years have been shamed and exploited in Internet memes are now reclaiming control, turning these images into NFTs and profiting from them. Laina Morris, aka Overly Attached Girlfriend, earned $411,000 from selling hers; Zoe Roth, known as the Disaster Girl, received $500,000 for hers. Allison Harvard, aka Creepy Chan, also sold her NFTs, saying, “For years, these images have circulated…without me ever having a say in how they were used. I feel like I got to take my power back.”

How It Changes the Game: NFTs aren’t just about commerce; they have the opportunity to be a force for social change and social good.

3 Action Steps for Brands:

  • Support creators who develop NFTs to right past wrongs and elevate empowerment.
  • Investigate how existing brand content could contribute to your company’s mission in NFT format.
  • Develop “purpose-driven” NFT projects that give back.


NEXT: NFT Hopping


What’s Emerging: Are you ready to live like Ready Player One, across multiple Worlds? Because it’s hurtling our way. In the future, our avatars will travel from real to realm. For example, Wilder World, which has already raised $3 million, is an immersive VR world in which a person’s Wilder assets travel with them as their avatar jumps to other worlds. Another blockchain-based environment, Decentraland has rung up $50 million in sales so far – for land, avatars, usernames, and wearables – sowing the seeds of this surge.

How It Creates the Future: As digitization accelerates, “world hopping” will become a new sport, and NFTs will follow us there.

3 Things to Prepare for:

  • 71% of Americans spent more time in virtual worlds during the COVID-19 pandemic (Nielsen), and that number will only rise.
  • Beyond products, our avatars will need services, from education to entertainment, in their new worlds.
  • Your current IRL portfolio will pivot to the Metaverse; the time is now to invest in infrastructure.


Happenings on Humboldt


We happily work here daily with purpose-driven brands that are bringing more good to the world. In the future, delivering experiences on those promises will happen in all new personal places, spaces and realms, through innovative edge technologies. Read more in our latest article for Forbes.


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