Thursday, September 21, 2023

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    Tiffany & Co. Is Making a Very Tangible Entrance Into the World of NFTs

    The baby-blue box hits the metaverse: Tiffany & Co. is offering a couple hundred CryptoPunks owners the chance to render their very own NFT, using enamel and precious gemstones, into a very luxurious Web3 token that can be worn out and about in the real world.

    On Monday, the luxury brand announced it would be partnering with the blockchain-based software development company Chain to launch its very first NFT—or, in company parlance, “NFTiff”—available exclusively to 250 CryptoPunk holders, in the form of 250 digital assets granting them the chance to purchase a custom, one-of-one pendant of their pixelated Punk. Each 18k rose or yellow gold pendant will feature at least 30 gemstones, which Tiffany jewelers will carefully color-match to approximate the Punk’s digital hues, at the cost of 30 Ethereum, or currently about $51,000 USD.

    Interestingly, neither the popular NFT collection CryptoPunks proper nor its parent company, Larva Labs, are directly involved with the collection. Instead, as Hypebeast reports, “it is made possible by individual Punk owners leveraging their intellectual property (IP) rights,” making for a relatively novel approach as many brands, luxury and otherwise, seek to carve out a customer base in Web3 bedrock. 

    “As a CryptoPunks holder, I saw a partnership with Tiffany as a way to make NFTs accessible to new collectors as well as strengthen the existing community that has embraced the art,” said Deepak Thapliyal, Chain’s chief executive officer, in a press release. On Monday, Thapliyal tweeted a photo of his own Tiffany CryptoPunk pendant, captioned with its flex-able price of 30 ETH.

    According to the press release, the collaboration took shape after Alexandre Arnault, vice president of Tiffany & Co. and son of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, posted his own custom Punk pendant earlier this year, outfitted with a pair of sapphire-and-ruby-lensed 3D viewing glasses and yellow diamond earrings. (The 3D-glasses-wearing CryptoPunk #3167 also serves as Alexandre’s profile picture across his social platforms.) But it is only the latest of many very 21st-century enterprises the LVMH-owned brand has taken on since 30-year-old Alexandre took the helm at Tiffany’s last year, which he kicked off with an ad campaign featuring Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and a gigantic Basquiat painting and followed up with a collaboration with the archetypal skatewear brand Supreme

    Meanwhile, earlier this year, Arnault père expressed some trepidation about the French conglomerate wading into Web3 waters. “We have to see what will be the applications of the metaverse and NFTs,” Bernard Arnault said during the company’s earnings call back in January, per Vogue Business. “It can undoubtedly have a positive impact —if it is well done — on the activity of the brands, but it is not our objective to sell virtual sneakers at €10. We are not interested in that.” This collab, which hinges on the exclusivity that makes both luxury goods and high-priced non-fungible tokens covetable in the first place, gives the NFT-brand collab space a bit more grandeur.

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