From Nike to Budweiser to Tiffany, some of the most famous brands in the world are making big bets, and big money, with NFTs and other Web3 projects.
Despite being in the midst of a “crypto winter,” major companies are still investing and announcing plans for Web3 growth, from Warner Music and Disney staffing up for Web3 expansions to Starbucks announcing its non-fungible token loyalty program, Odyssey.
Many brands have already been launching NFT collections and pursuing Web3 strategies and investments such as buying digital land in the metaverse. The companies betting on Web3 are from various industries, with apparel, drinks or luxury sectors the most represented.
We took a look at the top revenue from NFTs on Ethereum and also included brands that’ve chosen to utilize other blockchains to drive their Web3 growth. Here’s some of the brands already making big waves – and big money in Web3.
Top brands on Ethereum
Using data from a dashboard on Dune Analytics that tracks big brands’ NFT revenue, CoinDesk looked at what was driving these brands’ success. We combined Budweiser and Bud Light, below, into one that encapsulated most of what AB InBev, the parent company, is doing in Web3.
Before the more mainstream Web3 push began, Nike was making moves, receiving a patent for “CryptoKicks,” a blockchain-linked sneaker. Nike also ran a blockchain trial with Macy’s and Auburn University’s RFID Lab in March, 2020, to better share product data across the retail supply chain.
But it was in December 2021, when Nike acquired NFT sneaker studio RTFKT Studios, that marked Nike’s major move in Web3. RTFKT is behind the 20,000-piece CloneX NFT collection, with a trading volume of 436 ETH ($584,240) as of this writing. In February 2022, RTFKT gave commercial rights to CloneX NFT holders, allowing them to create derivative projects, mint fan art and make and sell merchandise featuring their avatars.
Continuing its Web3 push well into the bear market, in April 2022, Nike launched a metaverse sneaker line called RTFKT x Nike Dunk Genesis CryptoKicks.
Dolce & Gabbana
Fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana’s September 2021 NFT collection titled “Collezione Genesi” includes nine NFTs including “The Impossible Tiara,” a rare tiara adorned with diamonds and red emeralds. It launched on UNXD, a luxury marketplace on the Polygon network, where the two-day bidding for the collection fetched approximately $5.65 million. “The Doge Crown” NFT sold for the highest amount – 423.5 ETH, or around $1.3 million at the time.
Since the successful launch, D&G and UNXD have teamed up to create the DGFamily, an NFT community “for digital luxury and culture.”
Tiffany & Co.
Considered one of the most classic luxury brands, Tiffany entered the Web3 world with what, relatively speaking, is one of the most classic NFT projects, CryptoPunks.
In August 2022, Tiffany unveiled 250 digital necklaces for 30 ETH each (about $50,000 at that time) – available exclusively to the holders of CryptoPunk NFTs. These diamond-encrusted pendant NFTs allowed holders to redeem them for physical necklaces. One user flipped a Tiffany CryptoPunk necklace for almost double the price, 55 ETH, which remains the highest sale so far.
Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci has a multi-faceted Web3 strategy, from NFTs to metaverse land to investing in a DAO and allowing cryptocurrency payments.
In the realm of NFTs, Gucci turned its Aria fashion collection into an NFT video In May 2021, which sold for $25,000 at auction house Christie’s Proof of Sovereignty sale. It followed with the launch of 1,000 NFTs in collaboration with the toy brand Superplastic in February, 2022. Each NFT, which sold for 1.5 ETH, or approximately $2,623 at the time, can be redeemed for a ceramic sculpture handmade in Italy and co-designed by Gucci.
The company also bet on the future of the metaverse around the same time as the Superplastic collaboration, buying an undisclosed amount of virtual land on The Sandbox to create themed experiences in its digital space dubbed Gucci Vault.
Gucci also bought $25,000 worth of RARE tokens in June 2022 to join the SuperRareDAO and launch a digital “Vault Art Space.”
Finally, some Gucci stores in the U.S. started accepting several cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and dogecoin as of May 2022. Ass of August 2022, that also includes apeCoin.
Adidas started putting some stakes in Web3 in November 2021. The brand acquired land in The Sandbox, though how it got the land remains unclear: The company either paid for it off-chain or was simply gifted them. In the same month, it also partnered with Coinbase, though it gave no details as to why and as of writing, no further information has been provided.
Then came a big splash. In December 2021, Adidas made a whopping $23.4 million in one afternoon with the debut of its “Into the Metaverse” NFT drop in collaboration with the Bored Ape Yacht Club, PUNKS Comic NFT creator Pixel Vault and private NFT collector gmoney.
In January 2022, Adidas and Prada launched an NFT project called the “adidas for Prada re-source” on the Polygon network, which allows fans to contribute with their own designs. As of writing, it has made 474 ETH (or about $616,000) in trading volume.
Time Inc., the publisher of more than 90 magazines, has had its feet dipped in the cryptocurrency world for quite a while now. It started accepting bitcoin for select properties in December 2014.
In the latest bull market, Time released 3 NFTs of its red-bordered magazine covers, selling for $446,000 ETH.
The company also partnered with artist collective FOTO and took in 12-year-old NFT creator Nyla Hayes as its first artist in residence, to help propel their careers and develop a collection for Time’s Build a Better Future drop.
AB InBev: Budweiser and Bud Light
The world’s largest brewing company, AB InBev has gone big with two of its American-born brands, Budweiser and Bud Light.
Budweiser has flirted with crypto for years. In May 2014, Budweiser teamed up with Coinbase on a bitcoin payments initiative for concert goers. In June 2019, Budweiser invested an undisclosed amount in blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) startup BanQ to assist unbanked workers.
The company’s strategy took a Web3 turn in August 2021, when Budweiser bought the beer.eth domain for 30 ETH ($95,000 at the time) and a rocket NFT for 8 ETH ($25,00 at the time).
In November 2021, Budweiser released its first set of NFTs, Budverse Cans: Heritage Edition, which consists of 1,936 NFTs, a reference to the year the company released beer in cans. In January 2022, Budweiser partnered with 22 emerging artists and dropped a collection of 11,00 NFTs, with a mint price of $499 per NFT.
In February 2022, Bud Light took things to IRL: It aired a Super Bowl commercial featuring Nouns NFT. Later in that month, it released 2,000 NFTs in connection with its new beer brand, N3XT. Each NFT sold for $399, and each NFT holder could claim a pair of Nouns-inspired glasses.
In June 2022, Stella, and later Budweiser, partnered with Ethereum-based NFT horse racing game Zed Run to release in-game horse skins based on its Clydesdale mascots, among other things.
The Australian Open
In April 2022, tennis tournament the Australian Open (AO) released a collection of 6,776 AO Art Ball NFTs in partnership with Web3 studio Run it Wild. At the same time, AO launched an immersive journey through Melbourne park within Decentraland’s metaverse, which included access to behind-the-scenes footage and play-to-earn daily quests to win NFTs.
Interestingly, the NFTs are not just a static art. Each ball tracks match metadata and was linked to a 19 cm x 19 cm section on a tennis court. A winning shot that lands on any section of the court is linked to an owner’s NFT. If one of the 11 championship points landed on the plot, the owner of the connected NFT was rewarded with a physical ball used in the game, encased in a custom handcrafted case. Each ball sold for around 0.07 ETH (about $90 at the time).
Finally, French fashion brand Lacoste ventured into Web3 with the launch of its NFT collection in June 2022. The 11,212-piece NFT collection is a reference to its polo shirt called L1212. Before its foray into a true Web3 venture, Lacoste also worked with Minecraft to feature its clothing line in the popular world-building game, which is often talked about as part of the metaverse with similar open-world games like RoBlox.
Top brands on other blockchains
The National Basketball Association’s partnership with Dapper Labs to launch NBA Top Shot in 2020 is a success story in the NFT collectibles space. Dapper Labs shared with CoinDesk that since the launch, the secondary sales have netted over $1 billion in sales through over 22 million transactions. Of course, not all of that money goes to the NBA, but the 5% fee users pay is split between Dapper and the NBA so that’s a cool $50 million between them.
In September 2022, the NBA announced an additional partnership with Sorare as its official fantasy partner, and has also filed for NFT trademarks as well as registering two .eth domains – it’s clear the NBA’s game plans for Web3 are growing.
The National Football League is also worth noting for working with Dapper Labs to launch NFL All Day, another NFT collectibles marketplace. While the figures shared with CoinDesk are not as exceptional as for NBA Top Shot, $65 million in secondary sales is still a significant number.
The NFL has also partnered with Polygon to send “Virtual Commemorative Tickets” as NFTs to Ticketmaster wallets, and gave out unique NFTs to every fan at Super Bowl LVI.
In May 2022, the NFL announced a partnership with Mythical Games to launch a play-to-earn game in 2023, which will make the NFL the first American league to kick off a play-to-earn venture.