In the Metaverse, No One Knows You’re a Shill


Apparently, paying people to wear the right brand of digital sneakers in the metaverse’s virtual world is now a $10 million business.

At least, “wear2earn” is one of the uses Space Runner, a “metaverse fashion brand,” has planned for the funds it just raised from top crypto venture capital firms including Polychain and Pantera Capital.

Read more: What’s a Metaverse, and Why is One Having a Fashion Show?

The company is best known for the non-fungible token (NFT) sneaker collection it created with NBA stars Kyle Kuzma and Nick Young, which sold out a 10,000-unit run in under 10 minutes. Claiming 500,000 followers across Instagram, Twitter and Discord, Space Runners calls itself “one of the largest Metaverse Fashion [brands] on blockchain.”

With the newly raised funds “our goal is to build the first end-to-end Fashion ecosystem on blockchain,” co-founder Won Soh said in a release.

NFT Mania Grows

NFTs are unique cryptocurrency tokens holding images, video or other forms of media, putting them on a blockchain to make them immutable — unchangeable — and also prove provenance. That’s why they are popular in the art and collectables world.

See: PYMNTS NFT Series: What Are NFTs and Why Are They Crypto’s Newest ‘Next Big Thing?

The top NFT collectables come in three flavors. One is art, with a number of famous artists jumping in and the top-selling digital artists’ NFT works selling for millions of dollars.  A second is sports-related, like NBA Top Shots video clips and the just-launched Topps Timeless NFT Series by the baseball card maker.

See also: Home Run or Foul Ball? NFT Picture of Mickey Mantle’s Rookie Card Fetches $470K

And third is avatars, digital images including CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club that people use as a representation of themselves. While these are used on social media —most notably Twitter — their future is seen in the metaverse — immersive virtual worlds in which people will interact, play, shop, be entertained and generally lead full and rich lives while sitting on their couch with (as-yet-unperfected) 3D goggles over their heads. See the movie “Ready Player One.”

Read also: PYMNTS NFT Series: NFTs Target Collectors Market With Avatars, Celebrities

This category does double duty for NFTs, as avatars can be “dressed” in NFT fashion items ranging from Balenciaga dresses and Gucci bags to sneakers. Such as Space Runners’ NBA Champions Sneaker Collection.

Where’s the Catwalk?

Space Runners said it plans to expand its Metaverse Fashion Brand “to be the largest supplier of interoperable fashion items for different metaverses and games.”

It should be noted that when it comes to using Space Runners NFTs, there are two metaverses under discussion. One is Space Runners’ own SPACEverse Fashion Metaverse. The other is the generic metaverse, meaning projects created by blockchain companies like Decentraland and The Sandbox, and others like Fortnite, which is rebuilding its massively multiplayer online (MMO) video game world into a metaverse since 2019, when it ran several avatar-fronted concerts by top recording artists that drew millions.

Read more: Are Fortnite Concerts The Future Of Live Music?

Space Runners fashion NFTs aren’t specific to its own SPACEverse Fashion Metaverse, but they can be plugged into any metaverse or blockchain-based MMO game like Axie Infinity.

Aside from gamifying NFT fashion by offering rewards to people who equip their avatars — no mention was made of whether influencers can earn more —Space Runners NFTs wearers can access “exclusive members-only benefits such as winning courtside tickets to NBA games each week,” the company said.

So, we’ve got NFTs, the metaverse and gamification — a fashionable trifecta!