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Dapper Labs & Genies Launching Digital Avatar Commerce Platform
08/04/21

Dapper Labs & Genies Launching Digital Avatar Commerce Platform

Dapper Labs, the Vancouver-based digital collectible and blockchain experience company behind the incredibly popular NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties NFTs, is partnering with celebrity-favored 3D avatar platform Genies to create a new marketplace for virtual goods, supported by Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain.

Genies is currently one of the widest-reaching avatar platforms, and its customizable digital 3D personas have netted a string of successful partnerships with celebrity musicians such as Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Rihanna, and Cardi B, who all have virtual avatars created. In fact, Genies claims to have a 99% share of the celebrity avatar market. When promoting his recent partnership with Amazon Music, Justin Bieber used his Genies avatar persona rather than his own physical likeness. The hope of the new offering from Genies and Dapper Labs is to take advantage of Genies avatars’ strong adoption across gaming and virtual spaces in order to become the “Amazon or Alibaba of digital wearable NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens),” providing a platform for both celebrities and eventually regular consumers to buy and trade blockchain-backed accessories for their digital alter-egos en masse. 

77% of global consumers now say the most important group they are a part of operates online, with advances in gaming and social technologies supporting this new upsurge in the transition of consumers’ lives into the digital realm, which is called the metaverse. Digital identities represent a new frontier for brands and retailers, as virtual direct-to-avatar selling across the metaverse now starts to mirror the real world direct-to-consumer model. Customization of outfits and appearance options, supported by a variety of evolving styles that are able to be changed based on user preferences, have become key attributes for consumers looking to create their own online persona and accessorize their online reputation.

In PSFK's report, Exploring Social Media's Growing Commerce Ambitions, PSFK researchers have noted the rising prevalence of digital identities as ways both for consumers to express themselves uniquely, and for brands and businesses to engage with and activate their diverse audiences based on these provided-cues. It is this trend of online personalization and individual differentiation that Dapper Labs, which is valued at over $7.5 billion, and Genies hope to capitalize on, taking aim at such competitors like the popular cartoon avatar creator Bitmoji. As the metaverse continues to grow, the thinking is that everyone will need a digital identity; and the hope is that they will go to the new Genies Marketplace to build and personalize theirs. 

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This article originally appeared in PSFK’s research paper, Exploring Social Media’s Growing Commerce Ambitions