Exploring The Risk-Free Ways Web2 Brands Are Entering Web3

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Exploring The Risk-Free Ways Web2 Brands Are Entering Web3


The next iteration of the internet is called Web3, and although many people and companies are still skeptical of the concept, there’s little doubt that the idea of a decentralized web based on blockchain is getting increased momentum. 

This momentum can no longer be ignored by the world’s biggest brands, which have to stay on their toes and be nimble and daring or else risk losing their relevance. It’s for this reason that many brands have already begun testing ways of creating new value for consumers using Web3 concepts. 

The vast majority are doing so in a careful, essentially risk-free way, with fairly simple initiatives that allow them to test the waters of Web3 and explore its potential benefits. They’re employing a cautious, forward-thinking approach that involves simple proofs-of-concept that don’t impact on their existing business models. 

Let’s explore how a handful of well-known brands, such as Gucci, Nike, Barcelona FC and Charles & Keith, are exploring the possibilities of Web3. 

Gucci’s NFT collection

One of the best known brands to explore Web3 is Gucci, which has famously been a participant in some of the biggest, metaverse-based fashion shows and more recently dipped its toes into the world of NFTs, launching a collection that sold for $25,000. To do this, Gucci partnered with SuperRare to launch Vault Art Space – a Web3 art space that hosts various collections of NFTs, including “The Next 100 Years of Gucci” where each NFT represents a “collectible fragment of Gucci’s kaleidoscopic heritage”. 

Gucci’s initiative was successful because it created a popular NFT collection that doesn’t impact on its traditional business model, yet allowed it to establish a Web3 presence with minimal risk. Had the collection bombed, it would have quickly been forgotten about. But instead it was a big success, with the story behind its NFTs proving to be attractive and valuable to loyal customers. It also did well to partner with SuperRare, which is well established in the NFT space, allowing it to tap existing NFT communities. 

FC Barcelona’s celebration of Johan Cruyff

The Spanish football giant dipped its toes into Web3 with a unique, one-of-a-kind NFT called “In a Way, Immortal”, which celebrates the legend of one of its greatest-ever players, Johan Cruyff, and sold for a staggering $693,000 via auction. The animated NFT provides an aesthetic recreation of one of Cruyff’s most iconic goals scored while wearing a Barcelona shirt. Whoever owns this NFT carries the title of “Barça Digital Ambassador”, and can enjoy unique benefits provided by the club, such as access to training sessions and the opportunity to meet the team’s players. 

Barcelona got many things right in its experimental initiative, focusing on a very small but iconic moment in its history that’s engraved in the minds of many of its older fans, essentially memorializing what happened. By focusing on a simple, standalone NFT rather than a collection, it created scarcity and incredible value, most especially with the way it offers utility. Anyone who manages to buy the NFT has lifetime access to Barcelona’s training facilities and the opportunity to meet their favorite stars at any time. 

Charles & Keith embraces crypto payments

A much simpler way for any brand to enter Web3 and get some attention is to add a cryptocurrency payment method for its products, which is precisely what the fashion brand Charles & Keith has done. On its website, fans of the brand can purchase any of its products using BTC or ETH. Like Gucci, Charles & Keith has also explored the metaverse, attending Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week event. 

By allowing people to use their crypto to pay via its e-commerce platform, Charles & Keith makes itself more appealing to a subset of crypto-native consumers without risking its existing business model. It can generate a lot of PR with virtually no effort, while appealing to crypto natives by providing more utility for their digital assets and accelerating their long-held dream of mainstream adoption. When a big brand says it will accept crypto, it tempts others to follow and immediately boosts its standing among digital asset fans. 

Of course, joining Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week adds to its allure, creating a positive, forward-thinking buzz about the brand. 

Nike’s multi-pronged approach

It’s hard to think of a more progressive brand in terms of Web3 than Nike, which has explored various initiatives that leverage decentralized technologies to drum up interest in its brand, while positioning itself as a pioneer within the metaverse. 

The company notably acquired the U.K.-based digital design studio RTFKT to spearhead its Web3 plans, and followed that by creating a distinct space within the Roblox universe, called Nikeland. Just six months after launching Nikeland, Nike said the space had been visited by more than 7 million Roblox gamers. It’s a digital venue where fans of the brand can meet, socialize, play games together and enjoy various other innovative experiences, meeting celebrity visitors such as LeBron James and buying exclusive digital Nike products that they can wear throughout the Roblox metaverse and also in other metaverses and video games. 

In November 2022 Nike launched .SWOOSH, a new platform that aims to build a community around its digital wearables. .SWOOSH acts as both a Web3 educational resource and a marketplace for buying and selling Nike digital collectibles, such as virtual sneakers or jerseys. These items can also be worn in various metaverse platforms and games. Additionally, budding designers can also create their own collections on .SWOOSH and earn royalties on their sale. 

Nike has been extremely successful with its metaverse initiatives, which enhance value for fans of the brand without impacting its traditional, real-world business. 

Low-risk avenues to explore Web3

The above examples show just how easy it is for Web2 brands to explore the possibilities of Web3 in a low-risk way that won’t impact on their brand’s reputation should they fail to make a splash. 

Perhaps the easiest way to explore Web3 is to do so through social media, which has emerged as one of the fastest-growing segments of the blockchain industry, with a range of platforms offering incentives for creators to switch from traditional social networks. 

One of the most successful Web3 social media platforms is Phaver, which has attracted a number of prominent Web2 brands to explore the opportunities it provides. Phaver has created a decentralized social network that allows people to build up their reputations through its Phaver Cred system and create trust around their social media identities. 

One of the first brands to take advantage of this was The Smurfs, which used Phaver’s platform to promote its first NFT collection, called The Smurfs’ Society. Holders of these NFTs can link these tokens directly to their Phaver profiles to increase their Phaver Cred and gain more trust and followers. Another brand with an established presence on Phave is South Korea’s Lotte Group conglomerate, which has major businesses in the food, retail, chemical, construction, manufacturing, financial services and tourism industries. Lotte Group notably created the Bellygom NFT collection, its first-ever digital collectible, promoting it directly through Phaver to reach out to its crypto-native audience. 

These examples showcase how brands can take advantage of existing Web3 platforms to launch decentralized technologies and offerings and reach out to a ready-made audience of crypto natives. What’s more, these audiences are almost certain to enthusiastically embrace their progressive attitude to Web3, eliminating any risks to these major brands. 

Web3 without the risk

Very few brands remain unaware of the Web3 movement and the massive potential it offers in terms of expanding their growth and boosting engagement. As the Web3 narrative gains more momentum, brands of all sizes are starting to explore low-risk ways of testing the waters, and the above examples showcase some of the numerous possibilities. 

Numerous brands have successfully made the transition from Web2-to-Web3, and they share a common factor – doing it in a way that doesn’t impact or disrupt their existing business models and income streams. 


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