Non-fungible token (NFT) and IP brand development company Pudgy Penguins put together an impressive comeback story, spearheaded by CEO Luca Netz, who talked about the future of the company Tuesday at the Benzinga Future of Digital Assets.
What To Know: Netz acquired Pudgy Penguins for 750 Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH) last year and has since launched physical collectibles in about 2,000 Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) stores. The brand also has products listed on Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Five Below Inc (NASDAQ:FIVE).
All of the Pudgy Penguins toys come with a birth certificate, as well as claimable unique traits that can be accessed through a QR code.
"The toy is more than a toy. It actually has a QR code that actually onboards people into a digital experience where they can digitally collect for nothing short of a $5 purchase of a toy," Netz said at Benzinga's digital asset event in New York City.
"Ultimately if we want crypto and blockchain to succeed the way that we all want it to succeed, it has to transition away from a financially driven market to one that is about accessibility, one that is about ownership and one that is honestly consumer-facing."
Netz said Pudgy Penguins is trying to build the first true consumer-facing product in the crypto space. The Walmart product launch allowed the company to build a supporting narrative around its mission, Netz said.
Pudgy Penguins is also pioneering the relationship between the brand and its participants. Those who hold Pudgy Penguins NFTs can license the IP to take part in the brand deals but also help Netz fuel further growth with new ideas.
The Walmart deal is seeing early success with sales continuing to climb week-over-week, Netz said. Brand participants are able to share in the success through royalties and more and more companies are reaching out for deals.
What's Next: The company is on a mission to build crypto's first-ever true mass-market brand and sustain it. Netz said Pudgy Penguins is making good progress and seeing real momentum toward its goals.
The company is building out Pudgy World, which is where customers land after scanning their QR codes on the products they buy. Right now, about one in five buyers are actually using the codes to access the digital space and redeem their NFTs.
Pudgy Penguins is also working on expanding its success to the broader crypto space by building a marketplace tool where participants can go to license IP relatively quickly with just a few clicks, he said.
"I actually think a lot of Web3 companies are actually Web2 companies selling digital products on the blockchain ... I think what it means to be a Web3 company is to try to run this business to the best of your ability through a democratic and collaborative process," Netz said.
Alongside the Pudgy Penguin toys, the company is working on a book with Barnes and Noble and ultimately plans on creating a movie or a TV show — all of which will have the Web3 experience incorporated.
Photo: Luca Netz, photo by Pratya Jankong courtesy Benzinga