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Brief Published: 13 May 2021

Dapper Labs & Genies to Launch Avatar Commerce Platform

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Genies' Avatars

Canada-based Dapper Labs (NBA Hot Shot, CryptoKitties) have announced a partnership with star-studded avatar platform Genies to create a blockchain-backed marketplace for virtual goods.

Scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2021, the Genies Marketplace has ambitions to become the “Amazon of Digital Wearable NFTs” where celebrities and regular consumers alike will be able to create and sell digital wearable NFT items for their avatars.

Genies claims a 99% celebrity avatar market share, with past partners including Rihanna, Shawn Mendes and Cardi B, who use their personalised avatars as alternative ways to connect with fans and brands. Justin Bieber, for example, promoted his partnership with Amazon Music through his Genies avatar. Genies’ lead position is set to grow: in late April, the platform signed a deal with Warner Music Group, who are hopeful that the “partnership with Genies will enable our artists and songwriters to tap into a new form of self-expression and audience reach,” according to a statement on the deal.

The extension of celebrity drop culture into digital spaces lets fans craft elaborate online identities around their passions. Celebrity artists, meanwhile, gain a whole new palette of expression beyond the limitations of IRL merch – think of the in-game items Lil Nas X sold at his Roblox concert event (see Pop Culture Round-Up Autumn 2020). With 77% of global consumers saying the most important group they are part of now operates online (Facebook, 2020), the consumer market for avatar lifestyles will be a huge opportunity.

For more on the avatar economy and how to scale virtual one-on-one experiences, check out Digital Doubles.

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