Designing for the Metaverse

A few months ago, Christie’s auctioned a work of Mike Winkelmann (Beeple) for a whopping $69 million. It brought unprecedented attention to the work of Digital artists. The biggest challenge of digital art has been the ease with which it could be replicated. There was hitherto no easy way to claim and prove ownership of JPEGS, GIFS, Videos and 3D models.

Blockchain technology is well on its way into revolutionizing the relationship between a creator, buyer and viewer. The advent of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has been able to address this challenge of ‘proof of ownership’. Smart contracts also allow the creator to automatically receive royalties, every time their work is re-sold / traded.

Market places like Rarible, Open Sea, Superrare are teeming with exciting projects. This new found appreciation for digital art is heartening. Last week, Sotheby’s announced the opening of its London Galleries on the metaverse platform, Decentraland. The virtual site imitates the London building and features five ground-level gallery spaces. Luxury brands like Hublot and Gucci are also partnering with VR platforms to sell/ flaunt their products on the metaverse.

What started with cute collectibles like Cryptokitties and Cryptopunks, has rapidly turned into serious business. As more brands and institutions wake up to this new frontier of art, it is an exciting time to be a Designer.

Design Research & Strategy