Web3, blockchain, and NFTs are concepts of intense interest to artists, entrepreneurs, and collectors, as they are constantly gaining in popularity and intruding into more and more fields.
By leveraging the capabilities of blockchain and adjacent technologies, Phygify – a Web3 decentralized e-commerce marketplace (DeMa) – has created the first NFT monetization platform designed to bring NFTs to life in a way that benefits collectors, entrepreneurs, and artists.
Within this revolutionary Web3 e-commerce platform, users can tie NFT offerings to physical goods and open their e-shops. To better understand the way Phygify operates, its mission, and how it hopes to benefit entrepreneurs and NFT collectors, we had an in-depth discussion with Tatiana Karanasiou, the COO and co-founder of Phygify.
How did the idea for Phygify come about?
“First of all, Phygify is a term, a verb, created by our team; it means to combine something digital with something physical, creating a Phygital, an item incorporating both digital aspects and real-life utility.
The Phygify project has been under development for the past year. It is the evolution and next mature step of the team’s first project, Moonmug, which launched in November 2021.
It all started at the beginning of 2021 when NFTs were reaching their pick in valuation and popularity. Having realized, as collectors, the strong emotional connection with our digital art assets, we envisioned creating an NFT collection with a Phygital twist. The initial vision was how great it would be for NFT holders to proudly show (off) their digital treasures on items of everyday use.
And just like that, Moonkey, our mascot, was born as an in-house NFT collection, whose every minted NFT was printed on a handcrafted mug and shipped to each proud owner worldwide.
Not long after Moonmug was successfully launched, we witnessed, on one side, a strong community forming with an appetite for NFT merchandise. On the other, the crypto market and the traditional markets are destabilized. We soon identified the opportunity of potentially transforming every holder’s NFT into royalty-yielding quality merchandise through a web3 e-commerce platform, where NFT investors & collectors would earn passive income and NFT projects would boost their community reach by offering NFT merch”.
Your mission is to revolutionize e-commerce by linking it to the possibilities offered by Web3 technology. Please elaborate and tell us a little bit about these possibilities.
“The gradual shift from Web2 to Web3 era presents the unprecedented opportunity to develop a more useful and open Internet, where users can benefit in many ways. The main characteristic of Web3 is that it offers security, transparency, and immutability by working on blockchain technology. We believe that e-commerce will tremendously benefit from these capabilities.
As web3 functions through a network of multiple peer-to-peer nodes working independently across the world, it allows complete decentralization and the shift to a community business ownership style, opposite to the current norm of hierarchical corporate control.
This means that aspects like community engagement, value-driven communication, and authenticity will be equally or even more important than traditional marketing campaigns detached from direct customer feedback. Small players from every part of the world will be able to enter the e-commerce business by breaking down current entry barriers and gaining control of their data, assets, and content.
The community-driven aspect of web3 also creates an ownership model with the potential to change how consumers and brands interact. No intermediaries are required for data, functionality, and value, allowing sellers and customers to interact directly. But apart from business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce partnerships can be altered as well, by linking goods and services in new ways, with incentivized engagement, personalization, customization, and a wider range of scaling possibilities”.
You describe this global movement characterized by blending the physical and digital worlds in every aspect of our lives. Do you think one side will prevail in the end? Has our world become so digital that the value of physical contact is lost?
“The phygital movement, the new phygital universe as we call it, is being shaped through the past years and will continue to do so, along with the disruptive technologies accompanying it.
We believe that phygital experiences come to enhance rather than substitute our digital and physical worlds. We see, for example, digital experiences and digital customer journeys being enhanced through the addition of features from the ‘real world’ like full personalization and tailor-made services and direct online communication and participation. Additionally, the physical world can be enhanced with a range of digital aspects as an added AR layer that will facilitate and ease our everyday life.
We believe that the importance and value of physical contact will be, in the end, enhanced, and the implementation of immersive technologies in our everyday lives will help us to save time from activities and reserve it for more physical personal contact”.
For an e-commerce company to enter the “Phygital Universe”, as you describe it, there is a need to be able to understand terms like “DeFi”, “DeMa”, “Cryptos”, etc. Do you think the average e-commerce company is struggling to understand the new digital world? What is your experience with your customers?
“E-commerce companies, along with companies from most other business sectors, are, understandably, going through a learning curve to digest the concept of blockchain and we3 technology. In our opinion, more important than understanding how the technology works and what the accompanying terminology stands for is to realize the gradual but definite shift to a new way of doing business which is more democratized in terms of entry barriers, more direct in terms of consumer relationships and more value and community have driven in terms of sales drivers.
Most of our customers, being NFT collectors and NFT projects, are already familiar with the crypto and NFT universe. Our broader vision through our platform is, by linking NFTs to everyday merchandise, to spread around the ideas of crypto space, NFTs and Web3 and introduce them to a broader range of audiences worldwide”.
NFTs are becoming more and more popular. However, many remain wary of investing in them. Why do you think people are sceptical? Maybe they are worried about their money or don’t know how to enter into the NFTs world.
“As discussed above, it is anticipated that there will be scepticism and fear when a technology is new and a concept is quite complicated for the ‘traditional’ investor to grasp. Especially since the crypto hype over the past years, apart from brilliant projects, also brought to the surface illegitimate projects and people who wanted to take advantage of this primarily unexplored space.
Being a company in the broader web3 NFT space, we educate people on the capabilities of web3 and the multiple utilities of NFTs, which go way beyond viewing NFTs as investable assets. Also, by sticking to our values and continuously performing our due diligence, we aim to be one of the industry players that aspire investors to trust the crypto space and onboard themselves on a profitable customer journey”.
Cyberattacks are on the rise. How is Phygify preparing to provide a safe environment for its users?
“The most significant pillar of Phygify is its web development infrastructure which combines aspects from traditional and blockchain development (smart contracts for wallet integration and revenues distribution).
Our team of experienced professionals with a diversified and wide range of backgrounds and capabilities is prepared to respond effectively with measures in place to prevent and contain any potential incident with the minimum impact. Our developers continuously test and update the platform to ensure it runs according to the latest and highest standards”.
What are your plans for the next few months? Is there anything new you’re working on?
“We are going through the last stages of our platform testing before our launch during winter 2022. For the next few months, we will focus on three main areas: fully implementing our marketing strategy, completing the onboarding on NFT projects in our platform, and ensuring our supply chain efficient functions in anticipation of our orders fulfilment during the first months of 2023.
Phygify has a lot more ideas and projects in the pipeline. However, we prefer to make sure to prepare steps, hoping always to satisfy the expectations of our loyal community.
Thank you very much for this conversation,
Let’s get Phygital!”.