Signalling Innovation
2 min read

Signalling Innovation

An exclusive offering combining physical and digital elements... but limited to Polygon. I'm a huge fan of Polygon but this feels like a limiting decision. Read on to learn more about what mass market retailers need to do as they bundle NFTs with physical products.
Signalling Innovation

Considering my model that addresses tech absorption into human behavior, and how NFTs for the moment might simply be copying or representing things, like status, that can already be represented in other ways... looks like Bulgari is tying the bundling of physical and virtual products into their message around innovation.

Look at the press for the Octo Finissimo Ultra Watch:

  1. only 10 being made
  2. record setting thinness
  3. new complications and ratchet wheels had to be developed to make it work
  4. pushed all conventional watchmaking boundaries
  5. embedded QR code for exclulsive NFT

They're messaging the NFT as part of the innovation, as part of the exclusivity, without ever really explaining its utility.

Clearly, this is an exclusive product meant for a niche market, but there are lessons to be learned.

The number of physical/digital product combinations that are emerging are fascinating. It leads me to believe that NFTs are a trend that physical retail simply can't ignore. The NFTs may start as a signal, and then add utility... but the ultimate win clearly become community.

Bulgari mentions some vague utility:

[...] offers the owner a link to an exclusive NFT artwork, as well as a discovery into the story behind the watch design, the making of, and the history. There is even a three-dimensional virtual journey inside mechanical movement.

The interesting thing for retailers (and others) to note is that Bulgari is offering their NFT on Polygon, and that the specific chain supported becomes critical to the minting and redemption of the NFT.

Imagine only selling this watch to people who use the Discover Card? Or people willing to pay in Euro?

That's one aspect of offering the NFT on a particular chain. The tokens are money, sure. But, imagine a Visa or AMEX customer wanting this watch and having to go get a Discover credit card just to buy it.

That's what Bulgari is doing, only instead of Discover it's Polygon. You need the Matic token and a supported wallet... even if your "regular" preference is some other chain/wallet combination.

This watch makes a particularly useful case for comparison because of DapperLabs Flow. Dapper is the "NFT company" used by the NFL, NBA, UFC, and more. Atheletes. Who is one obvious segment for high priced exclusive watches? Professional athletes.

So, Bulgari is launching a watch against a demographic that it's reasonable to assume uses Flow and the Blocto wallet. Yes, they're telling these customers that their choice of money isn't good, they need different money to buy the watch.

It's early. So I'm probably nitpicking. Early adopters will have many wallets, coins, and in fact, probably have teams of people (crypto wealth managers) to help manage it all.

Mass market is different.

Mass market retailers are going to need to find a way to make the complexity of chain, wallet, gas fees invisible.

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