In May 2021, Gucci sold a virtual handbag as part of an exclusive Roblox event for 350,000 Robux (around $4,115). The bag is not an NFT, and can not be used outside of the game. It is simply a digital iteration of an offline product that was only available to buy once. The fact that it sold for more than the offline version – which retails at around $3,400 – is testament to the fact that digital items have taken on new value.
People have started to understand and appreciate the economic value of digital content.
This shift has been building for some time. It’s now normal for digital creators to be remunerated for their creativity – from the uptake of paid-for newsletters to the mainstreaming of OnlyFans. And the growing amount of time spent in game worlds is translating to a desire to invest in our avatars.
But this year, digital goods have been given new value by the sudden spike in interest for NFTs: 8% of social media users globally have already invested in them. Why? Because NFTs have introduced the notion of scarcity to a digital landscape overloaded with stuff.
By ‘tokenising’ a piece of content on the blockchain, a creator is saying that they have only approved one of that piece of content. When Jack Dorsey tokenised the first ever Tweet (which later sold for $2.9 million), the person who bought it knew they were buying The Tweet – a moment in history – not just a screenshot of the tweet that came after.
Just like the status symbols of yore – buying a Rolex, buying a Porsche – buying an NFT is an act of conspicuous consumption. It’s why digital clothing has become such a success story: 33% of Gen Zers globally have purchased digital clothing or skins for their avatars. It's why industries that already trade in status are the natural early adopters in this shift.
Investing in online goods has become the hottest way to earn clout, both online and off.
On the cutting edge of digital ownership, in early 2021, artist Krista Kim sold a virtual house that can be visited via VR platform Spartial for over $500,000 (all the better to hang your NFTs in!). What this looks like for the more pedestrian user? Buying a Balenciaga hoodie to wear in Fortnite.
If you own one of my NFTs today,— ▽ (@3LAU) August 11, 2021
You’ll get to own rights in my music,
Which also means you’re entitled to cashflows from that music…
Fucking 🔥— Zoe Scaman (@zoescaman) April 17, 2021
Nike's 'Cryptokicks' patent allows for the 'breeding' of 2 NFTs to create a shoe 'offspring' that can then be made into custom sneakers
THIS is the type of crazy cool shit that NFTs unlock that no one's thinking about yet
Pay attentionhttps://t.co/tMTW9gSDdn pic.twitter.com/WKSKY521zO