Cover photo

Spotlight on SAPIENZ: Digital Avatars for the Next Generation of Cultural Tastemakers

Redefining the Nexus of Commerce, Community, and Creativity

Today I wanted to highlight a web3 project that is very near and dear to my heart. It is BY FAR the community I have spent the most time in and I consider it to be my web3 home: it's SAPIENZ by the team at Stapleverse. SAPIENZ is the digital avatar, or PFP project, from the Stapleverse team and it follows an evolution of drops going back to 2021 when the company was founded that have encompassed amazing art from artists B Thom Stevenson, Rhymezlikedimez, Zaid Kirdsey, DirtyRobot & more along with storytelling around the history of New York, street culture, Jeff Staple's history of explosive collaborative power and web3 mechanics, gamification, and groundbreaking new standards such as ERC6551. If you want to read a little more about the early days of the Stapleverse, as well as some personal history around my introduction to it, check out this early blog I wrote in the first few months of being an active member of the community.

But in today's spotlight, I wanted to highlight the SAPIENZ project specifically. Not because I am really proud of the foundation the team has built so far, which I am, but because of how excited I am about the possibilities for the future. SAPIENZ are not only digital avatars for the next generation of cultural tastemakers in our society but they have the potential to redefine the nexus of the commerce, community, and creativity within our society, onboarding a whole new generation of "hypebeasts" to onchain technologies. It's this potential that I wanted to explore in today's piece but first let's start with a brief expose on the SAPIENZ product, platform and partnership history.

SAPIENZ by Stapleverse

SAPIENZ: Building the Co-Creation Economy

SAPIENZ is a collection of 15,000 networked playable characters created in partnership between STAPLEVERSE and RHYMEZLIKEDIMEZ. Imagine a reality where the marriage of art and commerce is seamless, where creativity is the currency and collaboration the fuel that powers our collective evolution. This is not merely a vision of the future, but a tangible reality within your grasp with the SAPIENZ world. The goal is to build the next 100+ years of street culture! These bold words sit atop the project's profiles across marketplaces and they show some of the bold vision that Stapleverse has always had around the SAPIENZ universe.

There are a couple of key components to what Stapleverse has built for the SAPIENZ platform themselves: 1) the SAPIENZ themselves and how you interact with them - art, lore, tech; 2) collaborative partnerships with major web2 & web3 brands resulting in digital and physical product drops; and 3) the concept of experiential and educational opportunities associated with holding NFTs in the ecosystem called WRKSHOPS. We'll cover off on each of these in this section before diving into future possibilities with the Stapleverse!

SAPIENZ - Lore, art, & technology

As Jeff Staple and the Stapleverse team were looking to create a personal identity project, more commonly referred to as a PFP (profile picture) project, they wanted to blend real identities and our digital/future identities together in a way that helped people express themselves online uniquely but still bring traces of their IRL identities into the picture without fully doxxing themselves. This meant straying away from some of the animal-centric PFPs that we had seen over the years since 2021 and into a more humanoid PFP or character. Jeff also wanted to draw from the IRL identities of many of his friends, colleagues, and cultural personalities who had helped shape the direction of culture and streetwear over the past few years. We know that digital identities are the future so we wanted to imagine that future from both a visual and technological perspective.

Therefore, SAPIENZ is set in Neue New York in the year 2097, 100 years have Jeff founded STAPLE, envisioning what the people, culture, and technology look like 100 years from now. Artistically, this is shown through Rhymezlikedimez unique artistic style, whether it be unique hairstyles, eye contacts, accessories or clothing SAPIENZ exhibit a futuristic style that is still grounded in the roots of streetwear culture, hip hop and more. Also, you'll notice some blue and green SAPIENZ in there. The SAPIENZ team is convinced we will be living alongside our Alien, zombie, and/or physically altered friends before too long.

SAPIENZ Collection on Magic Eden Marketplace

Technologically, SAPIENZ are unique too. They are digital avatars built on top of the ERC6551 standard. This means that they are networked identities fully capable of ownership and action onchain. They each have what is called a Tokebound Account, you can think of this as the SAPIENZ unique accountID and/or wallet address. You can send digital assets and digital currency to the SAPIENZ for them to hold within this account or "backpack". They can buy, spend, and trade these digital assets, as well as, login to dApps as their own identities. This means that SAPIENZ can fully participate as citizens onchain - voting in DAOs, gaming in web3 platforms, trading on marketplaces, and much more. This unique approach allows SAPIENZ to have a dressing room by which you can see all of the things in your SAPIENZ backpack and change their appearance in different ways from clothing to background to equipped accessories and emotes all on chain, in a gasless way, and have that visual change be reflected across all web3 platforms instantly.

SAPIENZ "Dressing Room" and Web App Experience

Additionally, SAPIENZ can use the tokenbound website to access additional functionality for your SAPIENZ. With TBAs now supporting multichain assets, this opens up a whole new possibilities for SAPIENZ and other projects to experience with onchain identity and ownership in new and exciting ways.

SAPIENZ on Tokenbound Website

Collaborative Partnerships

SAPIENZ and Stapleverse overall throughout the past 3 years have collaborated with a number of artists, brands, events, etc. Examples of partners include: 9dcc & Gmoney, Crocs, Zaid Kirdsey, Rhymezlikedimez (including their work with Erykah Badu & Travis Scott), B Thom Stevenson, the Krapopolis TV show, Coinbase, ComplexCon, RENGA & DirtyRobot, etc. It's a powerful mix of web2 and web3 brands and personalities and is just scratching the surface of the contacts in Jeff and the team's rolodex in the industry.

This healthy ecosystem of collaborative partnerships is further enhanced with the SAPIENZ platform, which thinks of partnerships as being more important a one and done product that they produce. Because part of a partnership's beauty is all of the amazing collaboration that goes on behind the scenes to bring something like that to life. It also ignores, the long term potential for brand collaborators to learn and co-create with the communities they will be delivering these products too and the market's receiving of the product as part of that partnership journey. It closes off the potential for partnerships to live on longer than that specific product launch where stories are left untold.

Therefore, SAPIENZ introduced a three-tiered approach to these partnerships: digital product, physical product, and experiential and/or educational product or community activation. We live in a digital world and we wouldn't be a NFT and blockchain project if we didn't believe in the future of digital asset ownership in this world. Thus, we lead with digital artwork and NFTs as part of these partnerships. The digital pieces exist on their own but also transform into an equippable for SAPIENZ when they are held within the backpack. This opens up a lot of potential for the partnership to deliver digital goods and then have the community rep that partnership digitally through their avatar throughout the duration of the partnership activation. This brings brands and their communities together visually but also enables the community to product digital community generated content in support of the brand activation.

Secondly, Jeff is known for his history of physical goods that have shaped the culture industry over the years, such as his infamous OG Pigeon Nike Dunk. Therefore, we wanted to carry on that tradition as a team and deliver quality apparel that lives up to the standards STAPLE is known for but innovate on it with web3 technologies to hopefully shape culture in the next 100 years. Each physical product comes chipped with an IYK chip that is capable of delivering different interactive digital experiences with our communities. Quality products, technological innovation, mindblowing experiences.

Lastly, they created a model called WRKSHOPS, which offers SAPIENZ holders unique experiential and educational content related with these partnerships and the ability for the community to co-create with these partners and the Stapleverse team on the next product they do together.

WRKSHOPS

Jeff ran a show for a long time called Business of Hype where he interviewed different cultural greats about what made them great and how they innovated in the world. This was extremely beneficial to audiences and so the Stapleverse team wanted to extend that to the digital realm with WRKSHOPS. These are either short Masterclass-style video interviews with these artists and partners, behind-the-scenes content related to the partnership, or experiential activities with the community where they get one on one time with these partnerships via livestream sessions, special podcasts, and more. They plan on elevating that experience even further by allowing top participants in the WRKSHOPS to graduate to C-Divison and co-create the next product experience side by side with Jeff, the team and these partners.

SAPIENZ WRKSHOP PLATFORM

All in all the three tiered approach to partnerships lays down a collaborative framework for web3 brands and creates multi-tiered value for communities as they buy the products that result from these partnerships. It also opens up a lot of excitement for me around the future of SAPIENZ and what they could represent in the cultural landscape of our web3 world.

SAPIENZ - How do we Change the Next 100 Years of Culture?

I think you should always have big, hairy, audacious goals as a young brand and startup. SAPIENZ, as an IP, always pushes itself by asking how they will change the next 100 years of culture. In particular, there are a few ways that I personally see that playing out that I am very excited about. The first is a slight re-branding of SAPIENZ to refocus on the power of the IP at the community's disposal and create incentive alignment with the community around the usage of that IP. The second, is making SAPIENZ the center of a retail-focused product experience that delivers a user experience that is not dependent on foundational web3 knowledge on behalf of the user. And lastly, is creating financial incentive alignment between brands and the community to grow that network. Let's dive into each of these ways in which SAPIENZ could succeed at changing the culture over the next 100 years.

The Power of SAPIENZ IP in a Hybrid World

In today’s increasingly digital landscape, the role of intellectual property (IP) extends beyond mere branding into shaping community interactions and cultural trends. The rebranding of SAPIENZ aims to harness this potential by elevating the SAPIENZ IP to serve as a beacon for cultural innovation and collective expression - we want it to be the PFP of cultural tastemakers. By intertwining SAPIENZ with cultural, social, and technological narratives, we reposition it not just as a symbol, but as a living, breathing ecosystem that resonates with its community’s values and aspirations.

Community Empowerment through Shared IP: We envision SAPIENZ as a platform where community members are not only consumers but also creators who contribute to and evolve the IP. This open-source approach democratizes creativity, allowing individuals from around the globe to co-create, share, and profit from their innovations under the SAPIENZ umbrella. This could be through the creation of equippables and other digital assets for the SAPIENZ ecosystem, similar to what we already did with their Magic White Tee contests but opening up a whole marketplace, system of templates, and revenue-sharing system for creators, a Canva, CafePress, or digital design studio and marketplace for digital cultural products. Or it could be by allowing them to take their IP and build their own businesses with that IP similar to the Made by Apes program. ERC6551 allows SAPIENZ to curate what they collect and wear on that SAPIENZ. One possible future could be where I create a SAPIENZ who only holds all the eyewear equippables and then starts a sunglasses or eyewear store using my SAPIENZ IP as part of the brand.

Enhancing Real and Virtual Interactions: In a hybrid world where the lines between physical and digital are increasingly blurred, SAPIENZ stands as a cultural and digital landmark that bridges these realms. Through virtual events, AR experiences, and digital collectibles, SAPIENZ enriches the cultural landscape, making it more engaging and accessible. It also opens up the opportunity for brands to utilize and/or license IP from the SAPIENZ community for their digital campaigns as they need to leverage SAPIENZ IP and/or assets that community members own similar to what Pudgy Penguins does with its Overpass IP system. SAPIENZ could become the mannequins of our digital era as brands push new products into the digital landscape. By partnering and/or integrating with other ecosystems such as Fortnite, Roblox, etc. you could see brands launching whole digital collections with SAPIENZ as the character IP.

SAPIENZ as the Center of a Mobile-First Social Commerce Experience

As the retail industry evolves, there is a growing need for platforms that seamlessly integrate commerce with social interaction, particularly on mobile devices. SAPIENZ is set to meet this demand by becoming the centerpiece of a new kind of shopping experience—one that prioritizes convenience, personalization, and social connectivity, as well as solves problems of authenticity, curation through noise, and digital growth for brands.

Seamless Integration of Commerce and Social Media: Utilizing the latest in mobile technology, SAPIENZ could enable users to shop, share, and engage with content all within a mobile commerce app experience built on top of a protocol like Farcaster, for example. Imagine the following mobile app experience. You download a shopping app. It asks you to create a profile but in order to do so you need a character. You pay $X through Google Play or Apple Pay and your mobile app store and you get created an account (custodial wallet) that comes with an avatar for navigation within the ecosystem. You can buy packs of additional characters if you want. Each of these transactions is actually a blockchain transaction ( minting, buying on secondary, etc.) but is obscured from the user with a layer they are comfortable with - accounts, characters, changing clothes, etc. This integration ensures a smooth, uninterrupted user experience that leverages the familiar mechanics of social media to enhance the shopping journey. They can then purchase digital and physical products, curate their own collections, create consumer generated content that brands tip them for, etc.

Personalized Shopping Journeys: By analyzing user interactions and preferences, SAPIENZ can offer a customized shopping experience for each user. This not only improves user satisfaction but also boosts engagement by showcasing products that truly resonate with individual tastes and cultural inclinations. The natural social and brand curation within the product could help brands cut through the endless noise of products as the barrier to entry gets lower.

Authenticated Shopping Experiences: SAPIENZ is already chipping their clothes. They could build platform experiences and secondary markets on the back of the frontend shopping experience that would help consumers and brands validate the authenticity and provenance of products while creating royalty and secondary markets for these brands and consumers to participate in in a fair and transparent way. GOAT and StockX should be features of Amazon and not niche plays in their own right.

Social Proof and Viral Marketing: In the SAPIENZ ecosystem, every purchase, share, or like becomes part of a larger social conversation, adding layers of validation and community endorsement that are invaluable for brand credibility and product visibility. SAPIENZ, could also be the access pass, for allowlists to MSCHF-like activations that raise the profile of the brand and create incentives for other brands to do small, curated drops on the platform. Not only is it social proof but with financial incentive tipping models, you could finally align brands and communities in the future. Let's dive into how this could operate.

Financial Alignment between Brands and Communities in the Future

The final cornerstone of transforming SAPIENZ into a cultural powerhouse over the next century involves creating a sustainable financial model where brands and the community mutually benefit. This approach not only fosters growth but also ensures that all stakeholders are invested in the success of the platform.

Profit Sharing Models: Innovative financial structures, such as profit-sharing or equity-like tokens, will allow community members to gain tangible benefits from their participation and contribution to the SAPIENZ ecosystem. This aligns interests and incentivizes active involvement and loyalty. There can finally be alignment between consumer-generated content in support of and featuring brands and a brand's network growth on social media.

Brand Partnerships with a Purpose: By collaborating with brands that share a commitment to cultural progression and community engagement, SAPIENZ can create unique offerings that resonate with users while also driving forward the collective mission. Brands could also license IP from the community for these missions and activations.

Sustainable Economic Growth: With a model that encourages reinvestment into the community and continuous innovation, SAPIENZ is poised to not only adapt to future market trends but to actively shape them, ensuring relevance and influence for the next 100 years.

By addressing these key areas, SAPIENZ is not merely adapting to future trends but is actively crafting a future where culture, commerce, and community converge seamlessly, setting new standards for what a digital-native brand can achieve. These are just some of the many reasons I am excited about building SAPIENZ over the next 25 years and beyond. They are not the only ones and the only way we are going to build that future is with the support, feedback and work of our community.

We are currently actively taking community feedback around these ideas. So either fill out the following form and/or schedule a 1:1 call with myself directly. This is just the beginning of a very special ride as we reshape the cultural landscape for the next 100 years. SAPIENZ are not only digital avatars for the next generation of cultural tastemakers in our society but they have the potential to redefine the nexus of the commerce, community, and creativity within our society, onboarding a whole new generation of "hypebeasts" to onchain technologies. LFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Loading...
highlight
Collect this post to permanently own it.
CULTURE REMIX logo
Subscribe to CULTURE REMIX and never miss a post.
#stapleverse#sapienz#digital fashion#digital wearables#web3#intellectual property#cocreation economy#erc6551#tokenbound accounts#mobile commerce#wrkshop
  • Loading comments...