Web3 Watch: From Jewelry to Fashion, Phygitals May Be Here to Stay

Blockworks talks to digital fashion brand Cult & Rain about how Web3 can help fix the broken fashion system


Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • Polygon leads $25 million fund for Web3 venture studio SuperLayer
  • Art Block’s collection, Portal – Art Blocks Playground, saw the largest rise in floor price in the past 24 hours, going from 39 ETH to 300 ETH on OpenSea

This week blue chip NFT projects CryptoPunks and Meebits changed their terms of service to give holders more commercial use rights, a few weeks after Moonbirds switched to a Creative Commons zero (CC0) license.

In funding news, crypto investment firm CoinFund raised $300 million for a venture fund that plans to invest in companies after the seed stage.

Blockworks recaps other notable stories that caught the eyes of the Web3 Watch.

Layering on cash

Ethereum layer-2 scaling platform Polygon announced a strategic partner role in the Web3 venture studio SuperLayer after a $25 million investment.

The venture capital firm supports late stage projects and is led by gaming entrepreneurs Kevin Chou and Mahesh Vellanki, founders of various Web3 companies, including Rally.io, a creator economy protocol on the RLY network as well as the blockchain gaming publisher Forte.

The funding will be used to support and scale SuperLayer’s ecosystem of projects, according to the company, which intends to invest in and build new Web3 products for rapid mass adoption.

SuperLayer launched in October and is backed by several high-profile investors such as Animoca Brand’s founder Yat Siu, celebrity Paris Hilton and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) partner Chris Dixon. 

Unstoppable Domains goes mobile

IPhone users can now download the Unstoppable Domains mobile app to manage any owned NFT domains.

This means users can easily buy and mint domains directly from the mobile app, instead of on a computer browser. Users can connect the following crypto wallets to the app: MetaMask, Rainbow, Trust Wallet, Ledger Live, AlphaWallet and MathWallet for now.

Domain names can be backed up manually or stored as an encrypted copy on the iCloud in the case the phone is lost or stolen.

Because decentralized domain names are minted as NFTs (non-fungible tokens), the Unstoppable Domains app lets users choose a Web3 identity card with a profile picture that can be shared via social media.

Users can also log in to hundreds of WalletConnect-enabled apps, along with 180+ apps, metaverses, and games that have integrated login with Unstoppable single sign-on service. The perk is no more passwords to remember.

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NFT Art as jewelry 

On the heels of the Tiffany & Co.’s NFTiff collection of CryptoPunks jewelry, the jewelry NFT market is undeniably growing. Auction house Sotheby’s is the next to jump on this trend of allowing collectors to wear their art.

Sotheby’s 18-karat gold and emerald ring | Source: Sotheby’s

A physical 18-karat gold and emerald ring and corresponding NFT called Ethereum Expedition will be part of Sotheby’s first auction dedicated to artist-made jewelry, titled “Art as Jewelry as Art.” Its form was inspired by geodesic domes and intercontinental rocket launches.

Metagolden, a digital gallery selling NFT art tokenized by 18-karat gold jewelry, designed this piece for this upcoming September sale. 

The buyer will be able to wear the ring in real life — in the metaverse, avatars can wear the digital wearable, the value of which is independent of the physical item.

The auction will also include jewelry pieces such as pendants by Picasso, earrings designed by Dalí and a piece by Man Ray.

Speaking of phygitals

Cult & Rain is a phygital (physical/digital) Web3 fashion brand co-founded by fashion creative director George Yang. It creates both physical and digital projects such as luxury sneakers and most recently varsity jackets paired with NFTs. 

Cult & Rain luxury sneakers | Source: Cult & Rain

The brand recently launched its own metaverse called CULTR WORLD that plans to transform phygital fashion and commerce. 

Blockworks spoke to Yang, a luxury fashion veteran who started Cult & Rain because he thought “the system of fashion was broken.”

Blockworks: You’re known for selling phygital products via NFTs. Tell me more about the phygital market.

Yang: Version 1.0 is actually putting a chip in a shoe and tying this physical shoe to the blockchain for authentication and ownership transferring. But as the NFT market started to heat up, we saw a huge opportunity, which was to create phygital products and sell these 3D animated NFTs that have the physical counterpart and the physical twin tied to it. 

We’re all about luxury. We’re all about scarcity, and we’re producing all of our physicals in Italy. Our sneakers are produced at the same factory that produces for LVMH and Kering.

I knew that digital fashion was the future, and I knew that metaverse digital wearables, phygitals, and this completely new transformation into Web3 would become the foundation of how different luxury brands would enter into the next phase.

Blockworks: Why start your own metaverse?

Yang: We know that the metaverse and avatars are where [the industry] is headed. So we know that we want to build an environment where you’re going to be able to connect your avatar into our metaverse and be able to go cross-platform into other metaverses in the future. That’s how people are going to go around in their alter egos, and they will need digital wearables to flex in. They’re also going to need space to hang out at, their own home to invite their friends over to. So we’re trying to jump ahead of that.

We also wanted to create a completely new experience based on photorealism, as opposed to the gamification of The Sandbox and Decentraland. A photorealistic view is hard to distinguish between whether it’s a game or it’s real life.

Blockworks: Can you talk to me a bit about the pain points of the traditional fashion industry?

Yang: There’s a tremendous amount of usage and waste — usage of time, energy, water. Take denim, for example. Denim’s one of the most toxic garment dye processes that’s really hard on the environment. So there’s a huge amount of environmental impact and this is why a lot of the professional brands are all talking about sustainability for a long time, because no one quite realizes that impact.

So with this model we eliminate the wastage. We go directly to the consumer. This is almost like the ultimate direct-to-consumer model. We allow the consumer to shop on a website or shop in the metaverse.

Your digital asset that we sold you as an NFT becomes the ultimate Soho House membership card. And it’s going to have a bunch of utilities attached. The main utility is the matching physical luxury product, so it’s like two for the price of one.

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