How Gaming, Loyalty and Entertainment Are Adapting to the Rise of NFTs and Web3

The gaming, entertainment and loyalty industries are poised for big changes, thanks to Web3 tech such as NFTs and DAOs. We talk to the experts on how. Plus, Nike and Puma announced new digital partnerships that show Web3 is still kicking.

AccessTimeIconJun 23, 2023 at 6:32 p.m. UTC

This week, we spoke to experts from across the entertainment, loyalty and gaming sectors about mass adoption. The general consensus? We’re getting closer, though it’ll probably look way more subtle than you think.

Also, global footwear giants Nike and Puma announced new partnerships and digital sneaker releases that offer meaningful utility and thoughtful designs.

You’re reading The Airdrop, our weekly newsletter where we discuss the biggest stories across Web3. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday.

This Week's Alpha

Onboarding the next billion users: Experts from across the entertainment, loyalty and gaming sectors made their cases for why their industries are poised to bring about mass adoption of Web3. While the broader crypto market is down and experiencing numerous challenges, the sentiment around Web3 and a decentralized, creator-focused digital future remains positive.

  • Entertainment as a “stealthy” tool: Visual media like TV and movies have the potential to onboard mass consumers in a gradual and fluid way, according to executives in the entertainment industry. “Mainstream adoption will probably look less like a conscious choice and will just happen to be powered by this technology,” Chris Jacquemin, says head of digital strategy at global talent agency WME.
  • NFT memberships and supercharging fandom: Thanks to NFTs, artists are able control how their tickets are distributed and reward their fans for engagement, experts in the ticketing and loyalty field say. “Any artist who is minting their own NFTs can explore token-gated sales, which can be used to help match token holders with premier seats, pre-show experiences or to simply give first access to all tickets on an upcoming tour,” said David Marcus, EVP of music at Ticketmaster.
  • Gaming that provides “true ownership” of assets: Gamers around the world are spending billions of dollars each year on in-game assets – without actually owning those assets, according to gaming industry leaders. NFTs allow players to buy, sell and trade those assets, giving them value inside and outside of the game. “It's about just getting something back for what you put into it, in terms of possessing some sort of interoperable utility,” said Spencer Tucker, chief gaming officer at Yuga Labs.

Fancy footwork: Major sneaker companies have continued to team up with both Web2 and Web3 brands to bring digital collectibles to their millions of fans. Their collaborations offer meaningful utility and thoughtfully designed digital items that prove Web3 doesn’t have to feel forced or clunky for global brands.

  • Battle Royale: Nike continued its digital expansion with a new partnership, bringing its .SWOOSH experience to Fortnite’s 240 million users. "Airphoria," a collaboration between Nike, Fortnite creator Epic Games and branded game builder Beyond Creative, will enable players to opt-in to connecting their digital items across the Fortnite and .SWOOSH ecosystems. “This is all part of a larger effort to bring Nike's Air Max brand into the world of Fortnite with cosmetics, Fortnite islands, and account linking between Nike and Epic,” an Epic Games spokesperson told CoinDesk.
  • Cat’s meow: Global sneaker brand Puma released a new pair of sneakers called the “GutterMelo MB.03” that link real-world kicks to NFTs. The colorful drop is a collaboration between Puma, Web3 streetwear brand Gutter Cat Gang and NBA player LaMelo Ball.

Projects on the Rise

Mfer NFT collection. (OpenSea)
Mfer NFT collection. (OpenSea)

Who: Pseudonymous NFT collector and artist Sartoshi

What: Mfers, an NFT collection of hand drawings released in 2021, received a boost in both sales and volume this week, according to OpenSea. It’s not entirely clear why the collection was trending, though a recent product release by home improvement giant Lowe’s that featured two characters from the open-source collection gained some buzz. The collection offers no utility and no roadmap and was inspired by the “Are ya winning, son?” meme.

How: The project operates under a CC0 license, which means that the project is in the public domain and can be used in any way by anyone. In June 2022, Sartoshi transferred the project’s smart contract and ownership to the community. The simplistic collection has gained a major following online, and individual NFTs often sell for over $1,000 – far higher than their original mint price of 0.069 ETH, or about $320. So far, the collection has done 66,510 ETH in sales, or nearly $125 million. Mfers can be purchased on secondary marketplaces like OpenSea.

In Other News

Mint Into a SlimJim: The jerky company invited fans to join their new “Meataverse” and is giving away 10,000 “GigaJims" NFTs.

Magical Elixir: Web3 gaming distribution company Elixir Games announced a strategic partnership with game retailer GameStop to power the infrastructure for GameStop’s new Playr platform.

The Legend of Zora: The NFT creation platform popular with brands and creatives has launched its own layer 2 blockchain network.

Hund hunt: Germany’s intelligence agency released a dog-themed NFT collection to recruit new talent that included a hidden string of blockchain characters.

Non-fungible Faroe Islands: The autonomous territory has issued new physical stamps linked to NFTs.

Non-Fungible Toolkit

A bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracks the value of bitcoin and allows investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency without actually owning any. The fund can be bought, sold and traded on traditional stock market exchanges instead of cryptocurrency trading platforms, making it accessible to investors that may otherwise be wary of dealing with crypto.

As bitcoin’s price continues to climb and as financial institutions like BlackRock (BLK), Invesco (IVZ) and WisdomTree apply for bitcoin-based ETF offerings, it’s a good time to familiarize yourself with the concept along with its pros and cons.

Edited by Pete Pachal.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Rosie Perper

Rosie Perper was the Deputy Managing Editor for Web3 and Learn, focusing on the metaverse, NFTs, DAOs and emerging technology like VR/AR. She has previously worked across breaking news, global finance, tech, culture and business. She holds a small amount of BTC and ETH and several NFTs. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter, The Airdrop.