There’s so much happening in the virtual world. Businesses and creative industries across the globe are gravitating to the virtual space like never before. Just a few years back, going online or launching an online presence was considered a smart and positive thing. Today, the quality of our online presence risks being judged from the standpoint of the momentous trends and developments transforming the virtual space.

Our digital journey has witnessed many new milestones in the last decade. When Ethereum blockchain was introduced eight years back in 2014 and its platform went live a year later in 2015, it started the era of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). There are already reports that sales of NFTs reached around $25 billion in 2021 and the global metaverse revenue could reach $800 billion by 2025. The concept of the metaverse is not new, but it started to gain momentum when Facebook changed its name to Meta.

There are roughly two types of art NFTs. The first type is like a real-world art sales kind of an exclusive art piece, where an artist creates a one-of-its-kind piece of digital art and then sells it. The other type is NFT collections, like Cryptopunks. These entail artists and developers creating many (usually 10,000) NFTs that have the same template with different characteristics. One famous NFT of the latter category is the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection with apes in different traits and outfits. Different people own all pieces of this collection.

American television host James Thomas Fallon, who owns one of the Apes is known to flaunt it during his show with Paris Hilton, who is also one of the 50 most influential people in the NFT space. @Jimmyfallon also tweeted and asked his followers to suggest a name for his APE. The second type of NFT starts with a reasonable amount for purchase but as more and more celebrities buy it, the value changes and adds prestige to digital art. The Bored Ape series has also created a community that organises meetups in New York, California, Hong Kong, and the UK. These events bring in exclusive class phenomena to NFT ownership.

Moving away from the pure creative art world, a variety of brands have started capitalising on the exploding NFT market. NFTs are being used by brands to give a unique experience to their customers. With the growing popularity of the Bored Ape NFT series, Adidas was quick to use the Ape NFTs as profile pictures. The company has plans to rule the metaverse with Bored Ape Yacht Club and NFTs. Metaverse is buzzing with new ventures and forward-thinking brands have already started to move their activities on Metaverse.

Brands like McDonald's, Panera, Adidas, Nike, Walmart, PricewaterhouseCooper, and Sketchers are already headed to the metaverse. Luxury brands are equally venturing into NFTs and Metaverse. Louis Vuitton partnered with digital art pioneer Beeple last year to create its first-ever NFT game - Louis. Givenchy’s creative director Matthew M Williams collaborated with artist Chito and has designed 15 unique digital fashion NFTs. Burberrys has a “Sharky B” that can be collected and sold among the players in the game.

McDonald’s, present in 100 countries and territories, is now taking burgers to the virtual space in the Metaverse. The company has recently filed 10 trademark applications including one for a virtual restaurant headset. The customer will be able to walk into the virtual restaurant via an immersive experience to place an order. The order will arrive at the customer’s doorstep, as in real-life online orders.

The immersive experiences, NFTs, Crypto, and other metaverse projects definitely come with many concerns about the bandwidth, as well as ethical practices, and their social implications, but for sure, it will not be possible for business and the art world to ignore the shift. It is indeed a whole new ballgame.

[The author, a former resident of Muscat, is the Program Leader for the Media Studies Department of Amity University, Dubai Campus. She is also pursuing her PhD studies in New Media and Non-Profits. Email:

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