Most people today likely first associate NFTs with digital-only items like profile pictures, artwork, and collectibles. But blockchain tokens can also be tied to physical art, property, and other tangible assets.
In one provocative example of how NFTs could shake up retail and apparel, PussyDAO aims to use Solana NFTs as redemption coupons to purchase things like underwear and streetwear.
Founder and CEO Izzy Howell, formerly head of growth at Solana derivatives protocol Cypher, told Decrypt at this week’s Chainlink SmartCon conference that the idea came to her while chatting with her former DeFi colleagues.
“I was up really late with my team, and all of the guys on my team just kept saying liquidity is all that matters. ‘That’s the most important thing: liquidity, liquidity, liquidity,’” she recalled. “And the next thought in my head was that I wanted to make a pair of panties that said ‘highly liquid’ on the crotch.”
Howell—previously named a rising star in crypto by Decrypt—shared her idea with others and said she “got lots of support from the crypto industry” (including funding) so she left Cypher to focus on the new venture. PussyDAO will start off by offering NFTs that can be redeemed at any time for the physical underwear, but she has larger ambitions for the brand over time.
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“We’re using Web3 tech to scale the next generation of apparel, CPG [consumer packaged goods] products, software drops, and experiences,” Howell told Decrypt in a followup chat via Telegram. “Our brand is punk rock meets hyperfemininity: we’re gritty, girly, and powerful—and a much-needed breath of fresh air in this bro-centric space.”
Howell’s plan is to expand the PussyDAO brand into “anything that’s super hype-y,” including the aforementioned products and experiences.
The idea of redeeming a blockchain token for physical apparel isn’t new, and it’s been explored in various ways. Unisocks, for example, is a project that sells tokens redeemable for Uniswap-themed socks, and the price of each token rises with each sale on a bonding curve—it started at $12, but now buying a token costs $22,807.
Adidas explored the model of NFTs redeemable for exclusive apparel with its Into the Metaverse drop last December in partnership with Bored Ape Yacht Club, NFT influencer gmoney, and the Punks Comics project. And the WAX blockchain’s vIRL NFT concept is built around tokens that can be redeemed for physical goods.
Howell said that redemption NFTs make sense for streetwear and other goods because it’s easier to resell digital tokens than be forced to physically ship things to buyers. Swapping tokens could be cheaper, easier, and have less of an environmental impact than shipping packages, too.
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“People buy [streetwear] in an instant, and then it’s the buyer’s responsibility to take that hat and post it themselves on eBay, and they have to deal with the shipping and all that stuff,” she explained. “But if I just own the NFT that entitles me to that physical object, it’s much more frictionless for me as someone who’s selling it on a secondary market.”
Howell is launching on Solana because she was “raised by the Solana ecosystem,” but she envisions a multi-chain future and plans to debut products on other blockchain platforms.
As PussyDAO charts a course towards its first product launch, Howell describes a brand that’s uniquely Web3. “This is the first investor-backed social commentary,” she told Decrypt. “Not only are we a company—we’re also a living, breathing art movement. We drop products that are designed to incite meaningful conversations around gender, identity, and the financial landscape.”