New book is a beginner’s guide to NFTs, digital art, and blockchain – WWD


Inevitably, a book on NFTs, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency might not be fully relevant when completed. Record sales of NFT and the value of the cryptocurrency are constantly changing.

Marc Beckman explains all of this in his new book “The Complete Guide to NFTs, Digital Artwork, and Blockchain Technology”. As the founder of DMA United and co-chair of the Luxury and Fashion Council of the Stern School of Business at New York University, the author has compiled a primer that also explains how fashion, art, sport and social justice can benefit from this.

Illustrated with NFT and photos of digital savvy figures like Takashi Murakami and Steve Aoki, the page turner highlights the rise of NFTs, digital artwork and blockchain technology.

Macbook Air with the Beeple motif “Every day: the first 5,000 days”.
Shutterstock / Courtesy of DMA United

While some may link NFTs to Christie’s sale of artist Beeple‘s $ 69.3 million digital file in March, the book ties the rise of NFTs in November 2017 to CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties. Beyond Beeple’s huge auction price, the value of its NFT and everything else is that it is a digital file verifying the maker and tracing ownership back to its creation. Beckman repeatedly reminds readers that they cannot be altered, copied, or tampered with, and the risk of theft is almost zero.

A CryptoPunk digital art NFT on electronic billboards, taken from the book

A CryptoPunk digital art NFT on electronic billboards, as seen in the new book.
Getty Images / Courtesy of DMA United

Beckman also explains how blockchain, “the mechanism behind cryptocurrency and NFTs, advances the technology used to verify who created something and who owns something (digital or otherwise).” With the blockchain, the ownership history of a coin is integrated with the history of the currency and is accessible to anyone who views it. The author likened it to a “living ledger that grows larger every time it’s used,” or pulling a dollar bill out of your wallet and knowing everyone who’s ever touched it.

Readers will learn how the blockchain that runs Bitcoin was created by the “mysterious person or persons” Satoshi Nakamato, who devised a way to verify the history of each Bitcoin with a digital time stamp. And all Bitcoin transactions would be decentralized and maintained by a network of computers around the world that would “mine” for Bitcoins, effectively maintaining the chain of transactions in the Bitcoin ledger and being periodically rewarded with new Bitcoins for the effort.

In a recent interview, Beckman said his agency has been consulting with fashion and lifestyle companies on NFTs, digital art and blockchain technology, as well as building his own platform, for nearly two years. year. The concept of the book was developed in March 2020 and is aimed at people in the fashion industry “who want to acquire a knowledge base in cryptocurrency, digital art connected to NFTs, the different mechanisms that NFTs can provide marketing, brands, products and ideas on how industries other than fashion can harness this new technology.

His definition of the metaverse is “the digital realm at the heart, a place where your digital identity could come to life with the digital assets you buy and own.” This should include your digital wardrobe, cosmetics, different digital environments, and other things that bring that digital identity to life, Beckman said. The metaverse could include movie premieres, concerts, fashion shows, and retail experiences. There could be a crossover in the physical world if a Metaverse purchase allows for a redeemable experience in the physical world, he added.

Paris Hilton attends the Libertine fashion show, from the book

Paris Hilton attends the Libertine Fashion Show, taken from the book “The Comprehensive Guide to NFTs, Digital Artwork and Blockchain Technology”.
Getty Images / Courtesy of DMA United

From a brand perspective, companies can either create their own metaverse or enter a third-party digital realm like Roblox and Minecraft. The latter is very beneficial because it takes less time for brands to build and it’s cheaper to enter the metaverse that way, Beckman said. The embodiment of brands in the Metaverse can be completely different from how they live in the real world. Basic branding image like logo, name, and color theory may be different, as may product behavior and offerings. “Metaverse brands can be riskier with their appearance, bolder with their affiliations and certainly more innovative,” he said, giving the example of brands coming to life in the game such as Balenciaga in Fortnite, or via new exclusive product offerings in the digital realm like Gucci has done.

Digital art collective Bored Ape Yacht Club’s recent deal with Universal Music Group to launch a four-part band BAYC NFT intrigued Beckman by creating a franchise that extends beyond art, while simultaneously increasing the value to the holders of the work of art. The booming industry spawns new businesses, exclusive experiences, and product drops practically by the minute.

Based on daily conversations, Beckman said the fashion industry still has a lot to learn about how NFTs can create new revenue streams, “incremental business growth and serve as the core of a marketing engine. “. With how collaborations are part of every marketing manager’s bag of marketing tactics, “there’s no doubt that Web 3.0 will bring an equally powerful tool through blockchain technology, NFTs, and other digital assets. [for] clothing and accessories, ”he said.

Overall, he thinks people should know that because the technology is superior, it’s here to stay. Brands should look at the Metaverse with fresh eyes, and the way a brand comes to life in the decentralized world of the Metaverse shouldn’t be the way it comes to life, looks, feels and behaves in the physical world. Brands need to start developing a blueprint that shows what their brand looks like in the metaverse in relation to how it behaves in the physical world.

While most members of the fashion community (and elsewhere) do not fully understand the potential of NFTs and associate it primarily with digital artwork, NFTs can also have utility functions such as unlocking. exclusive redeemable perks such as limited edition merchandise, access to live events, unique experiences and services, Beckman said. “This is where the industry needs to start focusing if it is to create real economic and marketing value for brands. “

As to how all of this stored information, along with the calculated marketing and customer service might affect spontaneity, Beckman said the technology provides the user with some spontaneity. He gave the example of how a customer wanted to immediately communicate with buyers of an NFT, a message was sent directly to those consumers through their wallet.

As marketers suck all kinds of consumer data and restaurant deals, exclusive products and experiences for individuals as a result, he said, “They can. There is no doubt that at present the fashion industry and others are not making full use of technology when it comes to capturing and using this type of data on consumers and on the market. -of the.

Since businesses could potentially make a lot of money, consumer privacy is another factor to consider. “Unless the person engages and provides more information with the partner company beyond what they shared through the NFT transaction, like their email address. The company would not be able to violate the identity or demographics of the individual, ”he said, referring to a traditional purchase of an NFT.

He rejected the idea that technology dictates what individual consumers will like, as opposed to the person making their own choice. Brands can use NFTs as rewards for consumer behavior for interaction with the brand, in the same way that the number of users of Nike’s running app are incentivized to get badges or shields for certain races or mileage goals, Beckman said, adding that those rewards can also be done off-chain. . However, off-chain there are fewer opportunities to keep telling stories.

Beckman’s book, available for pre-order, highlighted the power of the NBA Top Shot digital basketball collectible platform. Since its offering to the public in October 2020, it has reportedly generated nearly $ 800 million in sales, with users purchasing and trading digital collectibles from NBA Highlights.

Brands that wish to delve into NFTs, digital art and block generation should develop strategies that create new revenue streams and a new communication platform, while remaining true to the brand’s core values, a Beckman said.

As for the instability of the cryptocurrency, Beckman said, “It doesn’t make me nervous personally because I see it as a long-term initiative and the technology at the core is superior. Right now, there is no doubt – it is undeniable – the cryptocurrency is very unstable. Over the past five days, Bitcoin and Ethereum have suffered steep declines and are starting to rise again. It’s part of the dynamics of the industry. (Separately, Ethereum’s scaling start-up Mir was acquired by Polygon for $ 400 million.)

Despite the inherent instability of cryptocurrency, Beckman advocates programs that could boost brand awareness, customer loyalty, and open up positive experiences with a long-term vision. Fashion brands should expect to spend “in six figures” to put together a full NFT program, Beckman said. While the media covers successful NFT sales such as Christie’s auctions, most consumers can get fantastic artwork for a few hundred dollars, according to Beckman.


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