NFT Digital Twinning is the Future for Luxury Brands

January 5, 2023
8 min
girl wearing virtual reality headset with Dior logo inside luxury makeup store

NFT digital twins have become the next big play for luxury brands' adoption of blockchain technology. There are a number of ways through which brands tie these NFTs to their physical counterparts. Nike, for example, created a scavenger hunt with riddles and quests that eventually opened an NFT vault revealing a Nike CryptoKicks NFT.

NFT digital twins have become the next big play for luxury brands' adoption of blockchain technology. From Nike CryptoKicks to Breitling and Vacheron Constantin's ‘digital passports’ to Dolce & Gabbana’s Collezione Genesi—luxury brands are entering into the Web3 space thanks to utility-driven NFTs. 

NFT twins are identical digital versions of real-world objects that offer an extra level of value for brand enthusiasts and collectors. Amongst many benefits, having a digital twin widens the range of utility for products and can help manage the authentication process, in particular for luxury items. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the utility and benefits NFT Twins offer, and what this means for the future of luxury retail products.

What are NFT Digital Twins?

A 'digital twin' or 'redeem-and-retain NFT' is precisely what the name implies: a virtual version of something physical anchored on a blockchain. Within the blockchain realm, this refers to a real-world product, like sneakers, with a non-fungible token replica that continually offers you limited edition services and benefits. 

There are a number of ways through which brands tie these NFTs to their physical counterparts. Nike, for example, created a scavenger hunt with riddles and quests that eventually opened an NFT vault revealing a Nike CryptoKicks NFT. The NFTs are modifiable with a collection of skins, and when the actual product dropped, NFT owners were able to claim the physical sneakers, keeping both versions. For this reason, NFT digital twins are also referred to as "phygital fashion", merging the physical and digital worlds.

In other instances, consumers can buy an NFT twin of a product before the drop. They’re able to wear the product in the metaverse or display it as a PFP online and gain perks while doing so. Then, once the product is available IRL, they simply redeem it via the NFT. These NFT twins will continue to provide perks to the owners – anything from exclusive event passes to discounts.

How do NFT Digital Twins Work? 

Digital twin tags tether digital items to their physical counterparts. This is done through a scan-to-own feature accessible through mobile phones. The owner scans the physical item to unlock access to the digital one with their crypto wallet. This transaction takes only a few seconds and is verifiable on the blockchain. Think of it as the same product existing in parallel universes. Each buyer will have a clear transaction history from their wallet address. The wallet address in question will serve as banking information for the user (their own account keeps track of all transaction history). 

New ways to improve digital twinning are continuously evolving. For example, Ryder leverages NFC technology for digital twinning. Using the Xverse wallet, users can scan a tagged product and receive proof of ownership, which can be transferred if desired. Ryder Digital Twin Tags produce a cryptographic signature that cannot be falsified. Whoever owns the physical object will always control the on-chain NFT.

What Benefits do NFT Digital Twins Offer Luxury Brands?

Provenance

In addition to giving owners bragging rights in the metaverse, NFT twins also add an additional layer of verification for product authentication. When Bulgari launched the Octo Finissimo Ultra, the world’s thinnest watch, the brand issued an NFT with every purchase to serve both as art, and as a certificate of authenticity. By pairing physical products with digital ones like the Bulgari watch, luxury brands can implement a simplified and efficient method for consumers to verify the authenticity of a product and drastically reduce the risk of counterfeit purchases. 

NFT twinning can also help to avoid inflation of goods. Even if the NFT twin tag is removed and put into a counterfeit product, you still have a limited number of NFT twins available. By creating a limited number of NFT twins for each physical product, it becomes difficult for counterfeiters to create fake versions of the product, as they would not have access to the corresponding NFT twin. Even if a counterfeit product were to be made and the NFT twin removed and attached to it, the fact that there are only a limited number of NFT twins available would make it easier to identify the counterfeit product.

Brand Loyalty

Another aspect which NFTs promote and reward is brand loyalty. If you’ve minted an NFT from a specific creator or brand before, odds are you’ll be rewarded for this, usually by being whitelisted or getting early access to future mints and product releases. This is not a practice that’s easily replicated in the real world due to obvious logistical obstacles (where did you put that receipt from five years ago?). But having NFT twins as evidence of your previous purchases, means that brands can now streamline their rewards systems.

Then there’s POAPs (proof of attendance protocols). As the name suggests, a POAP NFT proves attendance of an event, be it virtual or IRL. POAPs can track who among attendees own limited or exclusive merchandise tied to NFT twins. Owners of these luxury brand NFT twins could then stand a chance to earn airdrops, win concert tickets, and get exclusive perks through the POAPs.

Production

The technology also holds the potential to change inventory management and processing. Let’s assume NFT twins drop before the actual product release, it allows manufacturers to get funding for the product upfront and make an accurate assessment of consumer demands. This helps manufacturers to develop realistic timelines along with clear inventory goals, all which reduces the risk around the number of products a company releases as well as limiting waste.

Sustainability

Luxury brands face the challenge of ensuring the authenticity of their products and to adhere to ethical and sustainable practices in their production process. To do so, they may need to implement tracking systems and initiatives. Chloé, a fashion brand, is exploring the use of digital IDs to track the authenticity of their products, as well as the ethics and sustainability of their production process. This will not only help improve their supply chain and move towards a circular economy, but also allow consumers to easily resell authentic Chloé products with a single click. By doing so, the brand can move from simply selling products to managing the entire lifecycle of their products, and the digital IDs will serve as a counterfeit-resistant tool and facilitate fair secondary exchange.

First to Market

Many people enjoy sharing their latest luxury purchases on social media. With digital twins, they can do this even before receiving the physical item, breaking down barriers of both time and location. A digital twin can go viral online, reaching a larger audience than it would in real life and allowing the user to connect with their entire community or following. As the saying goes, 'time is money,' and digital twins provide a convenient way for people to showcase their luxury purchases and share them with others.

Final Thoughts on NFT Digital Twins

Scanning digital twin tags bridges the digital and physical worlds, delivering tangible value to users, which ultimately drives crypto adoption. As a mobile wallet, Xverse is committed to supporting all manners of creative use cases. 

This new use-case for NFTs is yet more proof that blockchain technology will continue to seep into contemporary business models, unlocking collaboration opportunities, building trust, and even gamifying assets. Undoubtedly NFT twinning is ushering in a new era for luxury brands, where they go beyond flexing in the metaverse and offer owners additional, physically-tangible benefits. 

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