The champagne you drank at your wedding, remember it, don’t you? The trainers you were wearing when you smashed your PB, what logo was on them? The doll or action figure you played with as a child, what was their name?
All of these moments in time that are turned into cherished memories is how we form bonds with brands, and if that brand gets it right, we become advocates, proud owners, collectors and fans.
Collecting, it’s nothing new
Historians have traced the concept of collecting back to the 3rd century BC in north-west Asia and the rulers of the Pergamum Kingdom where slaves were tasked with classifying ‘things’. Fast forward circa 2316 years and the stones and jewels collected by the Pergamum rulers have been swapped for action figures, comics, and now digital art, cards; items that encase those precious moments.
While there are some who collect keepsakes because of the sentimental value, there are also those who collect for the investment potential.
In 2009 Yves Saint Laurent’s private art collection sold for a whopping $484 million, breaking previous records. A Lego brick made of gold sold for $20,000 in 2017. A ticket stub from the 1927 World Series ticket which was untorn and therefore the original ticket holder never even saw the New York Yankees sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games, sold for over $40,000.
While these are incredible items and pieces of history that collectors and fans enter into bidding wars with each other over, collecting has often been out of reach for the every-day fan simply because of the cost of having a collection. You need space, display cabinets, stands, shadow boxes. Most people don’t have the square footage spare to bulk-buy toilet paper, let alone space for a range of collectibles.
Then, there’s the question of whether you want to unbox, unwrap, touch and experience the item. Or, do you leave it sealed in its packaging in ‘mint condition’ so as to keep the value and investment potential high? Either way, the likelihood of true collecting being available to every fan is low. Plus, how do you prove authenticity with so many people able to make fake reproductions of physical items?
The rise of digital existence
Our lives are fundamentally changing every year as technology advances and we become more and more comfortable living in the digital age. We’re using Virtual Reality to train medical staff, the armed forces, or just hang out in. Zoom is a household brand. Boston Robotics have robots who can search for survivors following a natural disaster (and who can throw some moves on the dancefloor!)
These shifting habits are being seen in all areas of our lives and where we’ve swapped ownership of music, movies and television in favour of streaming, we’re also seeing a rise in digital collectibles, or as they’re called by those ‘in the know’; NFTs.
This notion of owning a digital collectible is a tricky concept for some to get their head around as it’s not a physical figure you can show off on a shelf while on a Zoom meeting or a piece of art you can hang on your wall. A digital collectible is entirely digital. Its existence is intangible and there is that never-ending question of ‘what can I do with it’ that is often heard throughout the digital collectables industry, especially for those who aren’t ‘in’ the digital world.
In 2017 a game, Cryptokitties, entered the mainstream market where users could adopt, raise and also trade cats that are entirely a collection of pixels through a computer, phone or tablet screen. (Think Tamagotchi but on steroids and for sale.) Fast forward a few years and Cryptokitties has one of the highest-priced digital collectibles to sell in the world at the equivalent of $738,000 for a cat named ‘Dragon’.
One of the pain points of physical collecting is that there’s not in reality much you can do with them. Sure you can pick it up and hold it, but you don’t unbox it, or unseal a comic and you certainly don’t want to play with it in case it breaks. Plus, you then have the question of true authenticity as there are many fake reproductions out there.
What you do end up having to do is though is dust your collection, catalogue it, insure it, protect it.
Within the world of digital collectibles, however, these pain points just simply don’t exist as you know that the collectible you own is 100% authentic and if you bought a 1 of 10 there are, and will only ever be 10 minted, all thanks to the security and authenticity of the Blockchain. On top of this, you also have the opportunity to actually experience your collection. In full VR you can walk up to your favourite Jaeger from Pacific Rim Uprising and stare up at all 300ft of this incredible machine moving and arming itself. You can hear the sounds that come from it. It’s like you’re there inside the movie.
Take the upcoming release of Godzilla vs Kong on the 27th March 2021; how awesome would it be to be able to reach out and touch the hair on Kong? Or what about being able to see the texture of Godzilla’s skin? That’s the sort of thing dreams are made of and it takes collecting to a whole new level that many have never even been able to imagine.
Luckily, you don’t need to imagine it anymore because Terra Virtua is bringing this fully immersive experience to you, now.
Terra Virtua is already live and operational and has existing partnerships with the likes of Paramount Pictures and Legendary entertainment as well as the notorious horror comic book artist, Nick Percival.
The full list of art and entertainment licenses Terra Virtua holds is as impressive as its technology. As well as the movies already mentioned, they also have Top Gun, The Godfather, Sunset Boulevard, World War Z and others that haven’t yet been released onto the Terra Virtua platform.
Add to this their upcoming release of Pacific Rim The Black, the new Netflix anime series and Godzilla vs Kong in March, their production line is pretty full as is the pipeline of other major brands the leadership team are in conversation with. So, it’s no surprise that their current fanbase is predicting valuations of $1bn in the future if they carry on the trajectory they’re currently on.
So what’s next?
The plan is very simple; mass-market adoption. And the team is on the cusp of releasing a full VR version of their FanCave on Oculus Quest which will take the experience to the next level. There is also a new iOS and Android app that should be released in Q1 2021.
In order to encourage a mass-market uptake, the leadership team have been on a high acquisition track bringing in partnerships with leading companies who provide technology that is familiar to your typical internet user and those operating on the blockchain. Things like social sign-on, making it easy to sign-up and login, and also, the ability to pay in whatever currency you want to, are imperative to Terra Virtua and it’s this that will help with mass user adoption over the coming months as more major new brands are rolled out.
Perhaps the greatest thing about what Terra Virtua is that you don’t need to know what an NFT or the blockchain is, to be able to be a digital collector. You just need to be a fan, and Terra Virtua does all the rest.