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VeradiVerdict - Issue #190
is a metaverse fashion company building out the future of fashion in web3. The company is building a fashion focused metaverse, and also drops innovative NFT collections in collaboration with talented designers and artists. Pantera is thrilled to have recently co-led Space Runners’
as they push the boundaries of what’s possible in digital fashion.
As people look to represent themselves in a fuller, more comprehensive way in web3, metaverse fashion companies are gaining explosive traction. As individuals, the way we look is an integral part of who we are and how we show ourselves to society. Whether it’s through following fashion trends, carving out your own style niche, or religiously purchasing from a certain brand, everyone has a unique relationship with their personal style.
Fashion has long been an expression of personal style, status, and wealth. Source: Getty Images
Our very first perception of people usually has to do with the way they look. This habit is accentuated online – the first thing you identify people by in the metaverse is generally their digital appearance. Furthermore, virtual representations have become increasingly important in society as a whole, especially as the pandemic limited in-person social interactions. The fashion NFT space is taking off because of individuals’ inherent desire to express themselves physically – something that can’t be escaped on the Internet. According to a tweet by Alex Atallah, OpenSea’s founder, NFTs on OpenSea currently outnumber websites on the Internet in 2010. A larger share of these NFTs are progressively becoming fashion NFTs.
People love to use fashion in general as a display of self, wealth, and status. But fashion in the metaverse ecosystem is particularly compelling because it allows individuals to express themselves in ways that extend beyond web2. Web3 fashion reaches a broader audience and is less limited by physical constraints like clothing design time, production time, and other real-world logistics. Contrary to physical fashion, where most pieces lose value the second they’re purchased new, metaverse fashion items can be treated as an investment that can appreciate in value. Furthermore, comfort and functionality of clothing completely exit the picture in the metaverse, so individuals are more likely to take a bolder stand with their fashion statements. People that are hesitant to wear clothes that are out of their comfort zone in the real world are much more likely to take these fashion leaps in the metaverse.
Notice the metaverse fashion piece overlaying the physical world. Source: The Fabricant (a digital fashion house)
Fashion-related events, such as virtual fashion shows, pop-up boutique visits, and try-on galleries, are becoming much more popular and accessible in the ecosystem as a whole. For example, Decentraland, the first user-owned virtual world, hosted its first free “Metaverse Fashion Week” (MVFW) which started March 24. As opposed to in-person events, where accessibility is limited, this event is extremely inclusive and only requires an Ethereum wallet to purchase assets. MVFW will enable users to buy digital wearables from a variety of popular metaverse fashion brands. People don’t need lofty social status, strong connections, or a substantial amount of capital like is necessary to attend other fashion weeks. Along with low barriers to entry, another appeal of this space is the personalization. The strength of this web3 ecosystem will only grow as more ways to showcase your style become available via protocols like Space Runners.
Space Runners is a metaverse fashion brand focused on creating beautiful pieces (what kind of pieces?) for people in the metaverse. Fashion is such an integral part of how we express ourselves in both the physical world and in web3 worlds, and Pantera is proud to have co-led Space Runner’s $10M round with Polychain Capital. With the raise, Space Runners plans to “build the first end-to-end fashion ecosystem on the blockchain,” according to co-founder Won Soh. Using high-end fashion as a display of wealth isn’t a new concept, and it’s growing to be prominent in the web3 ecosystem. The metaverse in general puts an emphasis on affluence, for better or for worse, because individuals’ tokens and assets are open-sourced and therefore much more wide-reaching and accessible. Individuals can easily use their fashion NFTs to both showcase their personal style and flaunt their wealth.
The hype around digital fashion is seen through the community Space Runners has curated; they’ve gained over 300K followers on Instagram and 100K+ Twitter followers and Discord members. On Snapchat, users are even able to ‘try on’ sneakers and other digital wearables via a filter that the team launched. The project monetizes by implementing a one-time initial minting fee from every collection launched, and a recurring secondary royalty fee of 4.25% each time one of their pieces is resold in the fashion metaverse.
A pair from Space Runner’s NBA Champions drop, complete with price history and attributes. Source: Magic Eden
Space Runners’ unique digital wearables, often dropped in collections and in collaboration with artists, are represented on the blockchain as NFTs and can be plugged into metaverses and games. Space Runners is extremely creator-oriented: the platform often hosts design competitions that are open to anyone and collaborates extensively with a number of unique artists. Currently, Space Runners is hosting a design competition where the community votes for the best designs and the winner’s design is included in the next collection as a guest designer rewarded with revenue-share.
The protocol initially began launching NFTs as fashion collections on Solana – listed on Magic Eden and FTX – but is planning expansion of their metaverse fashion vision to Ethereum and other chains. CEO Deniz Özgür stated that Space Runners has been collaborating with some of “the most popular fashion agencies in New York,” and are looking to build more aesthetic and soft collections to expand out of just “urban cyber style”-type pieces.
The current leaderboard for designers competing to be a part of Space Runners’ next collection. Source: Space Runners
Their first collection, called the NBA Champions Drop, was created in collaboration with ex-NBA stars Kyle Kuzma and Nick Young, and sold out in just nine minutes. The pieces were minted on Solana and currently have a floor price of 13 $SOL on popular NFT exchange platform Magic Eden. The collection was capped at 10,000 pieces and has lifetime royalties of 0.5% for minters. According to the founders, community members who made an effort to get whitelisted in the Space Runners Discord “were rewarded with placement in the Private Sale,” which included benefits like priority slotting and discounted pricing. A Public Sale quickly followed the Private Sale, with the entire drop selling in under ten minutes. The Private Sale Round 1 price was 3 SOL, Private Sale Round 2 was 4 SOL, and the Public Sale NFTs were listed at 5 SOL. According to Magic Eden, owners of the sneaker NFTs receive exclusive benefits such as courtside tickets to NBA games, Space Runners physical merch, invites to exclusive parties, auto-whitelist for the next drop, and more. The company plans to launch a second collection in the near future in collaboration (with who?). Space Runners clearly places a huge emphasis on bringing both prominent and emerging artists into the NFT ecosystem and provides them with technical knowledge about the NFT execution process.
Pieces from the NBA Champions Drop currently listed on Magic Eden. Source: Magic Eden
Rather than entering existing metaverse ecosystems, Space Runners plans to launch its own separate space in the metaverse called Spaceverse. They believe that creating their own fashion-oriented space with their own currency will allow them to design a unique ecosystem specifically suited to virtual fashion. Carving out this space will also designate Space Runner’s community to a distinct area where they can further build out their ecosystem. Furthermore, they’ll create a moat around their fashion area with their currency and robust community.
A sneak peak into Spaceverse. Notice the hovering fashion items ready for try-on. Source: Space Runners
The company’s token, $SPACE, has a number of use cases. Users can burn $SPACE tokens to both upgrade existing NFTs and merge multiple NFTs. According to Space Runners, individuals can also spend $SPACE to buy land to build stores, shop from fashion houses, and showcase their NFTs. $SPACE is a versatile token – the currency can also be earned from playing games and interacting with other individuals in the metaverse, and can also be used for governance, staking to vote, and rewarding purposes.
According to the founders, Space Runners has exciting next steps to help the brand become the leading end-to-end fashion ecosystem on blockchain. With Spaceverse they not only aim to gamify fashion with the Wear-to-Earn economy, but also bring fashion brands into their metaverse to create the most seamless immersive shopping experience. With their Fashion NFTs, they aim to continue to expand their integration with augmented reality, and integration with other metaverses and gaming environments. This expansion will make Space Runners the most attractive, versatile, and user-friendly platform for fashion brands and individuals seeking to get involved in the metaverse.
Space Runners was cofounded by Won Soh and Deniz Özgür, who both have leadership experience in metaverse projects. Soh worked at McKinsey, Google, and Bain and earned a BSc in Business Administration from UC Berkeley, and Özgür has spent significant time in business development in blockchain and digital identity after earning a BSc in Business and Economics from Bosphorus University. Other notable artistic individuals on the team include Rohan Chhabra, Victor Homenko, and Mijoo Kim, each of whom bring a unique flair to the NFT fashion project. Chhabra, the Creative Director of Fashion, has spent the 10+ years at Nike and Ralph Lauren. Homenko is an award-winning designer and the lead artist of Reddit NFTs, and Kim is the co-founder of Mue Studio and has over a decade of experience in art directing and visual arts. On the technical side, Mert Beyaz brings over four years of experience in blockchain and is the ex-Head of Engineering of a major crypto exchange. Ahmet Yildirim has half a decade of experience in blockchain integrations (including at the Ethereum Foundation) and brings expertise in core engine and smart contract development.
Pantera believes that fashion will grow to be even more important in the metaverse than in the real world. Digital fashion reaches a larger audience, is more accessible, and allows individuals to more easily support up-and-coming designers and brands and express themselves in a more individualized way. We’re excited to have co-led Space Runners’ latest round as they become the best way for fashion to intersect with the blockchain.
- Paul Veradittakit
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Hi, I’m Paul Veradittakit, a Partner at Pantera Capital, one of the oldest and largest institutional investors focused on investing in blockchain companies and cryptocurrencies. I’ve been in the industry since 2014, and the firm invests in equity, early stage token projects, and liquid cryptocurrencies on exchanges. I focus on early-stage investments and share my thoughts on what’s going on in the industry in this weekly newsletter.