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The BoF Podcast | The Web3 Debate: A Reality Check on Fashion and the Metaverse

BoF’s Marc Bain and a group of panellists break down the state of web3 in fashion and where the technology is headed.
The BoF Podcast | The Web3 Debate: A Reality Check on Fashion and the Metaverse
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Background:

Over the last couple of years, the fashion industry couldn’t stop talking about the potential of NFTs, the metaverse, known in tech industry speak as web3. Now, the fervour around web3 has cooled and the speculators are long gone. But for those committed to the web3 space, the work continues, even as the discussion has shifted.

“People are pulling back, but people are investing,” said Brian Trunzo, metaverse lead at Polygon Labs. “If folks are still at the education stage, doing research either internally or through agencies, they may have cut budgets and pulled back a little bit, whereas folks who have beefed up and built out teams to execute against their web3 strategy, who have had that requisite education, they’re doubling down.”

This week on The BoF Podcast, we share a conversation from The BoF Professional Summit: An Inflection Point in Fashion Tech, where our technology correspondent Marc Bain speaks with three web3 experts — Brian Trunzo, Alice Delahunt, founder and CEO of Syky, and Milton Pedraza, the founder and CEO of consulting firm the Luxury Institute — to debate the future of web3 and fashion.

Key Insights:

  • “Something that we say in web3 is that it’s not so much a bear market, it’s a build market,” says Trunzo. Rather than letting a drop in investments define how brands should approach the digital world, consider the performance of the brands that are actually putting resources towards building in the space.
  • Still, there are details that still need to be figured out, the panellists acknowledged. For Delahunt, purchasing a digital Gucci bag on Roblox made her realise how murky digital ownership could be, because virtual items must exist on the platform where they’re purchased. She believes blockchain has the power to change that standard. “Think about the physical world. We’ll go out on the street and there’s public infrastructure that is owned by the US government… It’s public, but private enterprise sits on top of it,” she said. “I think of the blockchain as the public infrastructure that people start to build on.”
  • According to Pedraza, this idea of digital identity will only become more paramount as the lines between the online and offline worlds continue to blur. “The technology keeps evolving… but the core principles of data identity, controlling your identity, taking control, monetising or doing whatever you want with your data… will all be supported by these emerging technologies,” he said.
  • No matter what’s trending, Delahunt said the fact that digital tools like Blender and Fortnite can free users of the physical world’s limits. “You’ve always wanted to be a butterfly, you are not confined in the same way physically… and your ability to express yourselves in those spaces will inevitably be a huge part of the future,” said Delahunt.

Additional Resources:

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BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024
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BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024