Not For Regular Customers: Gucci Is Rewarding NFT Holders With Physical Products

Kristina Akhrarova

Participants of the Gucci Grail project, in collaboration with 10KTF, will be granted the opportunity to acquire one of two exclusive physical items. Last year, this esteemed project adorned profile pictures with digital designs, and now those involved will be rewarded with the chance to own a tangible piece from this limited collection.
Gucci NFTPhoto byGucci

Gucci has recently unveiled its plans to acknowledge and reward a select group of its NFT holders with exclusive physical products. Online commentators speculate that the rewards may include a coveted wallet or bag that cannot be acquired by regular customers. This move exemplifies the luxury brand's innovative approach to NFT strategies, aiming to express appreciation towards those who have invested in their digital assets.

The pieces are exclusively available to owners of a Gucci Vault Material NFT, distributed a year ago to holders of Gucci Grail NFTs. The Grail NFTs are PFPs dressed in digital Gucci, obtained through a partnership with 10KTF in March 2022. 10KTF centers around a fictional digital tailor character named Wagmi-san. Owners of popular PFP NFT communities like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cryptopunks, and World of Women can purchase Gucci attire for their avatars, such as a red jacket with a black riding helmet or a tropical yellow button-down with a cowboy hat.
Gucci Vault MaterialPhoto by10KTF Stockroom

The purpose of the recent Gucci Material NFT has been deliberately shrouded in mystery ever since it was distributed to Gucci Grail NFT holders last year. The Web3 communities, comprised of passionate digital asset enthusiasts, have developed a keen sense of expectation and curiosity surrounding this enigmatic offering. Speculation is rife about the potential future rewards associated with the Gucci Material NFT, which has fueled anticipation and excitement. This growing buzz has, remarkably, resulted in a pre-existing valuation of approximately $600 for Gucci Material NFTs on Opensea, despite the lack of concrete knowledge regarding its true significance.

The community received a visual preview of the Material NFTs through images shared by Gucci and Vogue Business. These images reveal the iconic interlocking G pattern and red-and-green stripes. A total of 2,896 Material NFTs have been distributed to lucky recipients.

NFT owners will soon have the opportunity to exchange their Material NFTs for one of two items of their choice, without incurring any additional costs. As a result, they will no longer retain ownership of the Material NFT. Alternatively, owners may opt to sell their Material NFTs on the secondhand market to individuals who wish to trade them in for the physical item in the future. Gucci has not yet disclosed the specific process by which individuals will receive their physical piece. In similar ventures, participants have been asked to link their wallets on an e-commerce platform to verify their NFT ownership and provide shipping details for product delivery. Once the transaction concludes, the corresponding NFT (in this instance, the Material NFT) is "burned" by being sent to a null address and rendered unusable.

It is not uncommon for luxury brands to extend offers to their NFT holders, granting them the opportunity to obtain exclusive physical luxury items. However, what sets this particular case apart is that these items are being made available free of charge. They are presented as a gesture of appreciation to those who have invested in the community, and notably, this offering comes over a year after the initial investment was made. This gesture is likely to pleasantly surprise NFT holders, particularly during a period when the excitement surrounding NFTs has subsided alongside the decline in cryptocurrency values.

Gucci's involvement in Web3 and the metaverse shows their quick adoption of new tech. They started with an art film auction with Christie's, selling a piece for $25,000 in June 2021. This event showcases the changing trends in this fast-evolving space.

Since the emergence of NFTs, fashion brands have adopted various methods to integrate exclusive physical merchandise with NFT ownership. One approach is through the creation of digital twins, where a digital counterpart of the physical product is included. Another method involves token-gated access, where only certain NFT holders can obtain the product. Furthermore, brands also offer the opportunity to trade in an NFT for a physical item. These strategies have gained prominence, particularly as the initial NFT speculation frenzy has evolved into a more sustainable focus on fostering community engagement and rewarding loyal supporters.

What’s next at Gucci

The new community reward was teased during this week’s Christie’s Art + Tech Summit in New York, where leaders from across fashion, technology and art discussed the future of the industry. Gucci VP of Metaverse Ventures Micael Barilaro and Yuga Labs chief creative officer Michael Figge announced the news while speaking of the recently announced, years-long partnership between Yuga Labs and Gucci. In November 2022, Yuga Labs acquired Wenew, the company that created 10KTF; it is already the parent company of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cryptopunks and The Otherside.

According to Barilaro, storytelling plays a vital role in tying everything together. He highlighted the significance of having authentic and genuine motivations. Barilaro emphasized the importance of engaging with new communities by actively listening before contributing to the conversation. He mentioned that partnerships such as the Gucci Grail project, with its gamified and narrative approach, serve as a means to attract a new audience by presenting luxury in a more accessible manner.

The goal of collaborations, like Gucci's, is to connect cultural assets to the blockchain and integrate Web3 into mainstream use. Yuga Labs, known for its engaging experiences, has had a successful 2021, with a $450M funding round and a $4B valuation. They create valuable NFTs called "blue chip" projects, which preserve value better than other market initiatives.

Barilaro emphasized the importance of projects that merge the digital realm and fashion. He mentioned the creation of a digital Gucci loafer for the 'Next 100 Years of Gucci' exhibition in Milan, which was later made into a physical piece. Barilaro stressed that the internet provides an enhanced visual and interconnected experience.

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