We recently announced opening the doors to the Hatch Duo Meta Studio this year! When it comes to the digital space, we believe it is essential for our team to understand the metaverse and digital technology and what it can mean for the future of design and product development. Among the many possibilities the metaverse brings to a small design studio like us, we believe conversations surrounding NFTs and how they can be incredibly beneficial for your business are conversations worth having. But what are NFTs, and why should you care? How will NFTs impact the way we conduct business? And more importantly, how can the incorporation of NFTs and our Meta Studio now play a role in our design process?
But First, What Are NFTs?
Before NFTs, most digital works were fungible, meaning you can download and post a GIF on your Twitter feed. You grant your followers the same access to reposting that GIF: the GIF itself is fungible because it is interchangeable. NFTs, or “non-fungible tokens,” are pieces of one-of-a-kind digital content easily traded through various blockchains. Simply put, it means the content is unique and irreplaceable. Because of this, NFTs bring proof of authenticity, indicate ownership of all digital assets, and become part of the public record.
For example, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, sold his first tweet as an NFT for over $2.9 million. Sina Estavi, CEO of a blockchain technology firm, purchased the NFT and will receive a digital certificate from Dorsey. In the social media world, Twitter’s creation and longevity have played a long-lasting impact on the shift of digital media and the way we consume news. In a way, purchasing the first tweet cements a place in digital history.
In more recent news, Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry launched his “2974 NFT Collection” to celebrate his record-breaking three-point record. Each unique NFT, priced at $499, features every three-pointer throughout his career, along with his digital signature.
More upcoming NFT trends include:
- Virtual real estate (Decentraland offers plots of land).
- Music (Kings of Leon released the first-ever NFT album).
- Luxury NFTs (Gucci teamed up with SUPERPLASTICS to launch an NFT collection).
Ultimately, the NFT market has exploded in profitability over the years, and we only see it increasing in the years to come. NFTs offer unique qualities for consumers, and people are always willing to pay more for limited edition items and experiences. Not only will NFTs play a massive role in the digital world, but they will also shift the way we approach business and the creation of physical products.
A Few Ways NFTs Can Play A Role In Your Business
As we mentioned, NFT’s can be works of art, collectibles, music, videos, photos, coupons, and more. Creators of digital artwork can now “mint” NFTs, which verify originality and cannot be modified or replicated. So how could this help with small businesses or even crowdfunding campaigns?
For instance, you can adopt customer loyalty programs through NFT loyalty cards or certificates if you have a small business. When customers visit your business, they can download digital assets to their mobile devices and scan NFT cards to earn rewards. Every “x amount” of rewards results in exclusive products or discounts. The more they use the loyalty card, the more benefits and value it holds.
More than that, you can use NFTs to indicate ownership or status in the digital world. For example, if your company held an exclusive corporate event, you can offer all attendees a certificate backed by NFTs to prove they were part of your event. Not only would this play a role in new customer experiences, but this would essentially be a gold mine for marketing purposes. Think of it as an exclusive digital party favor.
By leveraging the NFT space, small businesses can now open new revenue streams by creating engaging content and increasing brand awareness. Community is vital: the audience around your ideas or products offers value to NFTs.
How Can NFTs Possibly Impact Product Development/Design?
With the idea of NFT collectibles in mind, how would this relate to what we do here at Hatch Duo? We created a metaverse space for our team and clients to collaborate and experience our services in new ways. More than that, we could create exclusive tokens, which can be attributed to particular, one-of-a-kind products and services from Hatch Duo. While we can create unique experiences with our Meta Studio and speculate its endless possibilities, because NFTs are relatively new, there is still much to learn.
For one, how might proof of ownership play a role in design services in the future? Could it? Should it? We believe NFTs will redesign how we think about intellectual property (IP). When someone “mints” an NFT, they write a smart contract code that defines its properties, containing information about where the work is stored. Let’s consider Jack Dorsey’s tweet. Dorsey auctioned it off via Valuables, “an NFT market for tweets.” When minted, the NFT only contains the tweet itself, the creator’s digital signature, and a link to the original tweet, which lives outside the blockchain: essentially, the buyer purchased an autographed certificate of the tweet. Although Estavi purchased this NFT, Dorsey did not transfer copyright to the buyer, so the buyer cannot use the content without permission, as ownership still belongs to Jack Dorsey/Twitter. As NFTs grow in popularity, companies will need to rethink their licensing strategies to strengthen their IP rights. Authentication of original ideas can have encryption layers on the blockchain via NFTs aside from the real-world IP legality terms. For example, we can tokenize our sketches and create collectible NFTs for clients. The client(s) would then display it in their own metaverse office, and these displays can have smart contracts attached to them that correlate to patents.
Additionally, how will NFTs impact design firms? Could we/should we tokenize design labor? After all, the problem-solving strategies, the testing, and how we approach the design process are what clients purchase. Prospective clients would now have the opportunity to bid for the design firm’s time, and as the firm gains popularity, the more demand for their tokens. For instance, we can create NFTs for exclusive access: Hatch Duo can offer access to our Meta Studio, events, or consultation sessions. These offers would extend to clients and, potentially, design students interested in workshops provided by our co-founders or leadership team. For entry, we can tokenize a Hatch Duo NFT, verified and valued via the blockchain. In this sense, our creativity and time become tradeable value beyond the service transaction.
Unlike designing for gaming worlds, designing for a metaverse, second-life may lead to more attention and accuracy to what could/should be for the real world. Similar to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, which showcases how virtual reality can impact society as a whole, we now have the building blocks to recreate reality as we perceive it. Because industrial designers understand the overall creation of products and how things work in the real world, their knowledge becomes transferrable for products in the virtual world. We believe industrial designers will have the innate ability to bridge the gap between digital and physical products. Suppose industrial design teams can now create “digital twins” to test or problem-solve in the virtual world before taking real-world action. In that case, it will lead to more cost-effective and informative decision-making. As we continue to incorporate our Meta Studio and adoption of NFTs to what we already do in the physical world, we can innovate and increase our value in our services at Hatch Duo.
Lastly, how will digital assets and design affect physical product development? Perhaps we can use NFTs to represent physical assets digitally. What if we were to tokenize a “stamp of approval” or certificate for manufacturers? We know firsthand manufacturing can be expensive–especially down the line if products need alterations. Moreover, it can sometimes hinder the design process if there are factory delays. We’ve also talked before about how integrating industrial design, and mechanical engineering reduces risks in manufacturing. The digital/virtual world offers product designers more flexibility, making changes to concepts more manageable. Because the virtual world can provide more physics-based details, this adds another element for quality control, thus a lower rate for defective products. For instance, what if you can create value for scrapped ideas? Perhaps companies with cult followings, such as Ferrari, sell their concept car ideas as NFTs. Essentially, what otherwise wouldn’t be valuable because it was a hidden part of their process, you can now assign value to the components leading up to their final concept. Or, in our case, we can add value to concept sketches or CAD concepts leading up to the finished product.
Leveraging NFTs provides us with ways to reach new audiences, connect with clients and other design connoisseurs, and ultimately grow as a design consultancy. Our product development and design methods will evolve as blockchain technology, the metaverse, and virtual reality cross paths with the physical world. We strive to create communities built around unique product development experiences, and digital content will allow us to think beyond the boundaries of physical products.
We’re Ready To Explore the NFT Collectible Space
People have always paid for exclusivity. From cars to phones or even trading cards, we crave collector’s items as consumers. With a shift into virtual reality and the metaverse, people realize that digital experiences can hold just as much rarity as physical objects. While there can be limitations with physical products, the possibilities are endless for digital collectibles. By understanding the NFT space, small businesses can create unique experiences and ways for consumers to engage with their brands.
At Hatch Duo, we are always open and willing to experiment with the potential of new technologies because they can ultimately play a role in innovating product development and design. We aim to create the best product experiences possible for our team, clients, and community as a design firm. Although there are various aspects we have yet to explore, we are excited to announce our initial steps into this world.
Our team has worked tirelessly on minting our very first NFT collection, featuring our coveted line of watches, Aggregate. Each unique timepiece, which features full animations and digital CAD files, is available now on OpenSea. We look forward to sharing these one-of-a-kind experiences with you all. If you are interested in minting or exploring what the metaverse offers via our Meta Studio, get in touch with us!