Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 18, 2022: Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represent a golden opportunity for organisations looking to take back control of their brands and grow their online communities, according to Ali Sajwani, Chief Executive Officer of D-Labs and General Manager – Operations at UAE-headquartered DAMAC Properties.
The unique tokens, which enable digital denizens to invest via the blockchain, often take the form of unique artworks, providing undisputable ownership for buyers. In 2021, NFT trading hit $17.6 billion, with sellers making $5.4 billion in profits – a year-on-year increase of approximately 21,000%, according to analysis conducted by Nonfungible.com.
CryptoBear Watch Club is an NFT social club for a new world of watch-collecting, as well as for luxury connoisseurs and NFT enthusiasts. It is the first metaphysical luxury watch community with real world utilities and is created by a consortium of blue-chip investors in Dubai. This luxury watch social club unlocks new rewards for NFTs, where holders redeem utility tokens for the luxury watches in the physical world.
“I’m seeing a trend where savvy brands are thinking outside the box and realising that NFTs can help create digital communities,” he explained. “These tokens are making it easier for companies of all types and sizes to build loyal fanbases, which are eager to interact with the organisations and invest in limited edition items, such as product images and collectibles.”
Sajwani cites success stories such as entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, the internet sensation behind VeeFriends. Vaynerchuk’s platform allows users to trade NFTs and earn the right to attend annual community conferences for an initial period of three years.
On the home turf, Sajwani will lead DAMAC’s D-Labs, a US $100 million investment that will place the Group in the world of metaverse. The move is part of the DAMAC’s organisation-wide digitisation ambitions through which it hopes to branch out its services to cater to the needs of the entire Group when it comes to digital assets – ranging from virtual homes, digital property, as well as digital wearables, and digital jewellery.
Other examples of corporations leveraging the power of NFTs include global sportswear giant Nike, which launched CryptoKicks in collaboration with RTFKT Studios in April 2022. The project, which links digital shoes with their real-world counterparts, enables collectors to acquire physical sneakers as well as digital facsimiles for their metaverse avatars. Investors also gain access to exclusive online sneaker forums.
Rival sports brand Adidas, meanwhile, made the headlines by purchasing Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) #8774, ‘Indigo Herz’, which it branded with its logo. In addition to purchasing a plot of virtual land in the Sandbox metaverse game, the Germany-headquartered multinational has also partnered with PUNKS Comic and influencer gmoney, releasing 30,000 NFTs for collectors.
“NFTs create investor excitement through rarity,” said Sajwani. “Linking the physical and digital realms is still seen as a cutting-edge move for a company, and those that have already embraced these digital tokens are succeeding in creating stronger brand loyalty among communities in the metaverse.
“But an NFT’s value doesn’t just lie in the asset itself; it also relates to the additional benefits that buyers gain through ownership of the tokens, such as exclusive access to products, events, forums and services. This is where companies are really starting to build brand loyalty, generating a sense of community and exclusivity all at once.
As Web3 continues to expand, it’s vital for brands to inculcate a presence online beyond a conventional static website, Sajwani added. “We’ve seen forward-thinking companies do some amazing things on social media platforms, but it’s now time for them to step into the metaverse and interact with a new generation of consumers.
“In my opinion, NFTs represent an unprecedented opportunity for companies looking to develop loyalty, community and exclusivity. Brand culture will prove essential for business that wish to remain relevant over the longer term, and this is now intrinsically linked with life online,” he concluded.