While crypto has been around for well over a decade now, something interesting happened over the last couple of years: it suddenly entered the mainstream. It seemed that it was out of nowhere that everyone was talking about the likes of Bitcoin, NFTs, and the metaverse. Facebook even changed its name to align itself with the latter.
About 1.5 million people in the UK owned some form of crypto in 2018. By 2021, this had exploded to 9.8 million as of February 2021. With 30% of UK consumers and 40% of US consumers wanting to pay for goods with cryptocurrency, it’s not surprising that more businesses are making moves into the crypto space.
If you’re still a bit unsure about Bitcoin and how it works, there is a great resource here that can help you out. Today though we’re going to take a look at how crypto, and everything else associated with it, has grown in popularity and infiltrated brands without us even realising.
Some of these well known names already involved might surprise you!
Crypto and music
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are hot topics of conversation right now. A basic way to look at them is that they give someone a certificate of ownership that relates to a digital asset. The asset is usually limited and this creates more value. It is common for NFTs to take the form of artwork, but they’ve also entered the music industry. Find out more about NFTs here.
When Kings of Leon released its album, When You See Yourself, in March 2021, they became the first band in the world to release an album as an NFT. They generated a massive £1.4 million in sales from NFT sales alone. Along with the release, there were additional perks thrown in such as access to live shows and front row seats forever.
Spotify has recently hinted at adding blockchain technology and NFTs to its music and audio streaming service by advertising two job vacancies for people to work on Web3 technology. Web3 is described as the next phase of the internet and refers to a decentralised online ecosystem based on open blockchain tech.
Crypto in the world of sport
If you’re a fan of Manchester City, did you know that it’s the first football club to start work on a stadium in the metaverse? By taking football into the virtual world. Man City recently signed a three-year partnership with technology giants Sony. The hope is to create the Etihad Stadium in the metaverse where games can be watched from any angle and the stadium can be filled several times over.
In football, we also have fan tokens. These are just like any other cryptocurrency but are created by the football club in question. Fans buy these, can trade them, or hold onto them waiting for their value to increase.
In December last year the biggest sports brand in the world, Nike, made its crypto debut when it purchased RTFKT (pronounced ‘artefact’). RTFKT makes NFTs and shoes for the metaverse.
A look at health and fitness
Ever experienced a TRIB3 gym? Well, the experience is set to get a little different! The company, as well as offering NFTs, is taking its classes into the metaverse. TRIB3 will be working with Fitness Metaverse company, OliveX, to be the first gym brand to launch in the Sandbox (a virtual metaverse where users can build, own, and monetise their gaming experiences). This can see you joining a whole class in the virtual world, all from the comfort of your home.
Gaming and cryptocurrency
While there is lots going on in terms of games such as Fortnite, Call of Duty and, perhaps, GTA VI, exploring the use of crypto for in-game purchases (microtransactions), nothing has yet been committed to.
What we do have though, are companies such as Bitrefill that allow crypto to be used for the likes of Xbox Live passes and other gaming services. Other companies such as Gipsybee allow hardened gamers to purchase all of the hardware that they need, all while using either Bitcoin or Ethereum. And of course blockchain-based gaming, as first brought to the headlines by titles such as Axie Infinity, is a potentially massive area of future development.
Even brands in the fashion industry have seen the potential and got themselves involved with all things crypto. Major brands, such as Gucci, have made fashion digital by auctioning off their own NFTs. We also have these brands exploring the metaverse with the potential to hold fashion shows there.
Crypto and finance
Cryptocurrency is also finding its way in mainstream financial services. You can now buy, hold and sell crypto with PayPal. This was first available in the US in 2020 and rolled out to UK customers last year, although there’s still no way to make payments with cryptocurrency through PayPal.
Cash App, a mobile payment service, has just rolled out to its US customers the ability to automatically invest a portion of their pay check into Bitcoin. This new ‘Paid in Bitcoin’ feature allows customers to have a percentage of their direct deposits converted into Bitcoin at no extra cost.
Shopify first announced allowing sellers the option of adding Bitcoin as a payment method back in 2013. It has just announced a partnership with Strike — a digital payments platform based on the Lightning network. This facilitates faster and cheaper translations, and now U.S merchants can receive Bitcoin payments globally as U.S dollars.
As you can see, there are many well known brands getting involved in cryptocurrency and the metaverse. Having reputable household names like the above involved in cryptocurrency is great for its reputation, making it more visible and accessible to new audiences.
It will be interesting to see if this encourages more people to invest in crypto, as well as using it for things other than just holding it as an investment.