By now, most would be familiar with NFTs (non-fungible tokens)—only one of the hottest and most misunderstood trends of 2021. While some of us had no idea what to make of them, numerous forward thinkers dove in headfirst, many of whom profited significantly from the first leg of the NFT bullrun. For anyone who might not be familiar, since NFTs exist on the blockchain, their transaction history exists on a public ledger. Furthermore, this public ledger is visible to anyone who seeks it out; thus, in essence, how much someone paid for any given NFT is public knowledge. Basically, NFTs have legitimised ownership in a whole new way.
But who apart from the digital natives in the metaverse would know this? Is there a way to present this said ownership to the rest of the world? Apart from virtual fashion wearables, it seems you can too, wear your NFTs—physically. Basically bringing your most prized digital possessions to real life.
Ngl, iWatch + NFT has to be the greatest physical flex. pic.twitter.com/WxRjby5Ind
— JMT-NFT.eth (@jmt_nft) September 10, 2021
One of the most immediate examples of NFTs making appearances in real life has manifested in NFT community members opting to wear Apple Watches, amongst other smartwatches, with their favourite NFTs as their screensavers. This allows for the hodler to show off their NFTs in the wild—as exemplified by the Bored Ape Yacht Club and other top communities. This specific trend isn’t all that new, with examples of Bored Apes “flexing” via Apple Watches since the summer of 2021.
In a world where flexing has become a norm, physically displaying rare NFTs on one’s person has become a more tangible means of proving one’s financial status. As a result, many holders of coveted NFT projects, such as the Cryptopunks, have opted to wear their NFTs on their wrists in place of fine wristwatches. And given that the current floor price of both BAYC and Cryptopunks are currently both over $200,000 USD in ETH, people are beginning to regard a Bored Ape on an Apple Watch to be more impressive than a Rolex.
According to Jordan Lyall, CEO at leading NFT Marketplace Nifty’s, “Expensive NFTs are like any luxury good in that they communicate the owner’s style and status. But unlike Supreme clothing, fancy watches, or rare sneakers, NFT owners can flex both in the real world and inside the metaverse.”
Beyond wearing NFTs on digital interfaces, some jewellers have even gone so far as to inlay gold and diamond necklaces with Apple Watch screens. You may have seen these floating around on Instagram or streetwear blogs, but If you want to purchase them, you’ll have to turn to someone like Gambit Jewlers, whose NFT gold chains start at just over $16,000 USD or, of course, have a chain custom-made locally.
My 1st Jewelry Design. I call it the “Ethereum Block Chain”. I wanted to make a cool way to display NFTs. Digital x Physical Assets. #NFT #nftart pic.twitter.com/tLTN73XFCK
— Gambit NFTJeweler.eth 💎 (@Gambitvvs) March 31, 2021
And these jewellery examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Numerous companies are working hard to find new ways for us to display our JPEGs in public. For example, Hypebrother makes both backpacks and fanny packs with largescale pixelated screens perfect for bringing your NFTs to school with you. And Dutch Web3 apparel brand Stekkel is working to create handbags with see-through sections in which iPads can be placed to display NFTs.
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According to Marjorie Hernandez, co-founder at Lukso and The Dematerialised: “NFTs aren’t restricted to only digital use cases, there is a need for interoperability across devices and even between our physical and digital worlds. Users want to be able to demonstrate and display ownership of things they are proud to own across devices and displaying verified ownership of physical items will be as simple as scanning a QR code.”
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Beyond digital examples, we’re also starting to see people take things a step further. Bored Ape holders, such as Steve Aoki, pictured above, have gone to the extent to have custom clothing made sporting his favourite NFT purchases. Likewise, American football star Odell Beckham Jr. had his Cryptopunk (appraised at over $2 million USD) printed on a t-shirt, which he casually wore to practice. Some NFT holders have taken the customised apparel route even further, turning their NFT purchases into outrageous diamond necklaces.
How much you think this #bayc piece cost with its own real life diamond avatar? 🐵💎
Am I becoming the #nft leader in jewelry? You decide 🤔😂….in the meantime another @BoredApeYC piece made for @0x_fxnction pic.twitter.com/JaI1M8GQyV
— Johnny Dang (@JohnnyDangandCo) January 26, 2022
While you might not be completely sold on flaunting your latest NFT on your Apple Watch or printed on a jacket; either way, this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. As a potential future development, it’s exciting to see reputable NFT artists such as Fewocious experimenting in the realm of physical fashion. It is becoming increasingly possible to buy NFTs that come with custom clothing or phygital offerings that are tied in with tangible clothes and digital wearable counterparts simultaneously. A good example would be Fewocious, who added physical art and his “first-ever piece of hand-painted physical FewoWorld fashion” as unlockables to an NFT he sold back in October of 2021.
the physical sculpture comes with a paired 1/1 NFT telling the story of Mr. MiSUNDERSTOOD + a full set of the 1st ever hand painted physical FewoWorld fashion pieces 😭🎨❤️https://t.co/TRtbOkTmwZ pic.twitter.com/7h1qsdagk7
— FEWOCiOUS (@fewocious) October 1, 2021
Expect to see more releases from artists of his calibre as we move further into 2022.