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The way you pay for products and experiences looks nothing like it did 10, 15 years ago. You can hover your phone over a device at Sephora, scan a barcode to settle your bill at a restaurant, and now, you might not even need a traditional bank account to make purchases within the beauty industry — or own what it is you end up buying.
Today, there is a whole new world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology available, which started as a plausible system maintaining transactions (e.g. Bitcoin) but has now traversed into the way we see product ownership and creativity. One of these new methods dominating the art, fashion, and beauty worlds is Non-Fungible Tokens (better known by its acronym, NFTs). In fact, the video app TikTok recently announced it’s going to start selling its top viral videos for NFTs, which means someone could buy a makeup tutorial or beauty how-to with digital currency and own that unique look as a collectible.
It’s not just TikTok, of course. More and more beauty brands — from Nars to E.l.f. Cosmetics to Givenchy Beauty — are also experimenting with the digital token, which poses the question: will cryptocurrency change how we exchange and interact with beauty? We explore everything you need to know about the trend below, including what it means for you.
What Are NFTs?
NFTs are a digitalized token that symbolically stands for the original and authentic ownership of a virtual or physical object and idea. Essentially the original authenticity card, it digitally stamps ownership and prevents rights being stolen, replicated, or altered. These items and ideas can then be bid and sold on blockchain platforms for as little or as much value. (Beeple artwork sold for $69 million.) It gives creators, brands, and artists ownership over their own work, finding a new value for creation while blurring the lines between inclusivity and exclusivity, private and public.
NFTs have already made groundbreaking headway in industries like art and luxury fashion, with both Gucci and Virgil Abloh creating unique pieces that transcend a preservation of ownership through a digitized space, and now this technology is making its way to beauty.
NFTs and Their Impact on Beauty Brands
Just this year alone beauty brands have stepped out to explore NFTs with campaigns surrounding exclusive products and artwork. Nars, for example, celebrated its hero blush Orgasm by commissioning a collection of three NFT artworks by artists Sara Shakeel, Azéde Jean-Pierre, and Nina Kraviz. According to Dina Fierro, the brand’s VP of global digital strategy and social engagement, the aim was to “create unique digital works inspired by Orgasm’s sensorial nature and unmistakable hue,” she told POPSUGAR. “As a result we saw a strong response to the pilot from our community as well as digital collectors, and now we are planning to launch additional programs that incorporate virtual goods in 2022.”
Givenchy Parfums also partnered with artists from Rewind Collective and London gallery owner and LGBTQIA+ activist Amar Singh on an NFT Pride digital artwork. Then, E.l.f. Cosmetics created NFTs that allowed customers to purchase their cult classic products such as the Poreless Putty Primer saturated in gold. Creating three of each for E.l.f.’s Poreless Putty Primer, 16HR Camo Concealer, and Ride or Die Lip Balm (nine in total), the products went on sale on the crypto platform Bitski, where the product can be purchased for the same price as retail, but the chance for …….