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So, you can now SMELL the metaverse?

A photo of scent pots from the metaverse
(Image credit: Byredo)

The metaverse is a strange place, and it's getting even stranger with its first perfume launch. Yes, you read that correctly; a perfume for a digital virtual world. Nike-owned RTFKT is partnering with luxury fragrance brand Byredo to release customisable digital scents, or 'auras', for Web 3 that can also be bought as physical perfumes. NFTs will facilitate the cross-over from digital to real life.

The emergence of Web 3 is shaking things up, as you can read in our What is the metaverse? guide, and NFTs have also seen a boom in the last year (our What are NFTs? piece can answer any questions on that). And now the mix of NFTs and the metaverse, which can enable the creation of rare digital assets and merge them with real-life products, is pointing to a bold new future for product design and branding.

RTFKT has a reputation for creating experimental Web 3 projects – its CryptoKicks launch was a huge success for Nike. Now the team-up with Byredo will merge digital and real-life products, with owners of the NFT able to wear digital 'auras' in the metaverse (see a tease below) and then own the same scent in real life using NFT-connected near-field communication (NFC) tags on bottles.

There's a digital scarcity built into the Byredo NFT perfume. Paris-based art directors M/M are working with Byredo and RTFKT (opens in new tab) to create and render 26 'ingredients' that represent some common emotions, such as harmony, naivety and virtue. The idea is that some are rarer than others and that by combining them, owners can create even more unique 'scents'. Owners will be able to use their scents in RTFKT's 'avatar ecosystem' and make use of CloneX characters to showcase their perfumes.

Byredo and RTFKT say there will be a total of 2,000 combinations of ingredients and each one will be made physically in real life and NFC tagged to link the bottles back to the digital representations. RTFKT claims this is the first time that a perfume has been rendered in Web 3, but then perhaps because no one asked for it?

This time it's digital-to-real perfumes but next year it could be clothes, cars, homes and holidays

Sure, we can raise an eyebrow at this kind of project, but RTFKT is poking at the boundaries of what NFTs and Web 3 can do. This time it's digital-to-real perfumes but next year it could be clothes, cars, homes and holidays. This collaboration will launch next month, in the meantime head over to the Alphameta site and swoosh around in the digitised aura.

If you want to get into NFTs then take a look at my tutorial on how to create an NFT for free. Also be aware that NFTs have crashed recently, which actually makes creating an NFT cheaper.

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Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creative Bloq. Ian is the former editor of many leading magazines, including digital art focused ImagineFX and 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. Ian launched the magazine X360 in 2005 and has relaunched many others. In his early career Ian wrote for music and film magazines, including Uncut, SFX, and assisted on The Idler. With over 25 years' experience in both print and online journalism, Ian has worked on many leading video game and digital art brands. With a passion for video games and art, Ian combines his loves to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq. In his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.