The Future of PFP

Written by ggomma

0. What is DAVA

Make the world know how ____ you are.

DAVA is building a customizable avatar system on the Polygon blockchain which can be used in the multi-metaverse future. Users are able to customize their decentralized avatar NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) by equipping, creating, and exchanging wearable NFTs. Since our system runs fully on-chain, all avatars and wearables are solely possessed by the owners.

We envision the future in which each and everyone in the world owns a customized DAVA avatar and put it on in the metaverse to represent herself. The TRUE AVATAR.

1. What is an “Avatar”

Before we move on to other topics, we should first define what an ‘avatar’ is. Is it merely just a graphical image, or is it something more than that?

An avatar is a tool that you can use to project yourself as a certain persona you want to be. An avatar is usually perceived to be a visual image, but it may also be a name, behavior, a tone, a manner, and so on. A true avatar includes every aspect of life.

An avatar should also have its own identity. It should answer the question of “who are you?” independently from its holder. The answers could be anything: Its name, its favorite brands, its reading lists, or services it frequently used. To be more specific, the ‘wallet address’ works as a key identity in the blockchain economy.

By purchasing and setting a PFP (Profile Picture) NFT as your profile image on social platforms such as Twitter or Discord, you are projecting yourself onto the PFP. In recent times, there is a flood of PFP NFT projects that you can use. For example, if you hold or set your PFP as a CryptoPunk, people see you as an NFT OG(Original Gangster). If you hold BAYC (Bored Ape Yacht Club), people will see you as a cool (and probably rich) hipster.

But are these fixed image PFP projects the only ways to showcase your brand identity to the digital world?

2. Limits of Current PFP Projects

Countless NFT projects are launching every single day and each has their own characteristics, but they share some common limits. Let’s address those limits.

1) Project Dependency

NFTs are a token standard like ERC20, but they are differentiated from other token standards and blockchain applications in a way that NFTs are much more integrated with their communities.

“Pudgy Penguins” was a very hyped PFP NFT project founded by NFT influencers, COLE and TUBBY. People bought them for profit, for their cute images, and for their popularity — the floor price of Pudgy Penguins flew sky-high. However, as soon as the founder COLE was accused of cash grab, the value of Pudgy Penguins plummeted and lots of people who had been disappointed sold their NFT. Just a single person, COLE, ruined the entire project. Pudgy Penguins struggled to survive until they changed their CEO. Should we recognize these susceptible NFTs as true avatars? The strong project dependency severely limits the avatar utilities of most NFTs, as misbehavior of a single person could render these PFPs completely valueless.

2) Too Few Selectable Options

Let’s take a look at BAYC. There are 10,000 BAYCs and each BAYC has 7 properties with several properties. You may freely choose from a total pack of 10,000 unique NFTs as your online representation, so there will be enough variations to meet your taste, right? Well, no.

The chances of finding your ‘Ape with specific desired characteristics’ among 10,000 are slim. Even if you do find your buddy, the current owner must be willing to sell and the price must fit your budget for you to actually take that Ape as your identity. Even after your hard-earned acquisition, you cannot change the properties of your Bored Ape. If you liked its leopard-skinned look initially, but later find it unappealing, there’s nothing you can do but sell. You end up wearing clothes that do not fit you.

This is the current status of PFP NFTs. We, as owners, cannot exercise much control over our PFP NFTs other than to sell or to transfer them. We are forced to fit ourselves into static images. Is this how should we prepare ourselves for the future of the metaverse? Absolutely not.

3. What is a Wearable(Customizable) Avatar NFT

0) The Inevitable Future of Wearable(Customizable) Avatar NFTs

PFP NFTs currently have their own distinct value and will continue to do so in the future. However, we still need a different way to use NFTs as our avatars.

As more metaverses are being developed and as more users are beginning to join them, avatars will be the key to access these services. These avatars should be freely customizable and be interoperable to be used in various systems. In fact, customizable avatar projects are launching much more frequently as of today, and are attracting huge investments. This can be seen through projects like Avatar Protocol and Riot Factory.

1) The requirements of Wearable(Customizable) Avatars

So if ‘wearable (customizable) avatars’ are inevitable in the future, what are the requirements for these avatars? We believe that the key requirements are decentralization and (de)composability.

Actually, a wearable avatar can be easily implemented by setting the tokenURI on the contract to a custom server in which you may change the image on that server whenever you feel like it. But this is a horrible way to create a sustainable avatar system. What if the server goes down, or is hacked? Such a system introduces SPoF (Single Point of Failure). That is why wearable avatars must be implemented in a decentralized manner.

A fully (de)composable avatar means that the change in avatar should not be one-way irreversible like a pokémon evolution or a game character leveling up. An avatar should be treated as a lego. Users should be able to easily compose wearable NFTs on the avatar and decompose them back into parts, and all changes must be applied instantly as we wear clothes in our daily lives.

2) The issues on Wearable(Customizable) Avatars

However, the implementation of a wearable avatar system is not as easy as it seems. We have to consider the NFT marketplace systems, wearable assets, image rendering structures, and so on. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the prevalent issues.

1.Gas Fee(Blockchain)

For an avatar system to be decentralized, the best option is to leverage the blockchain. However, a blockchain is an expensive resource to use, and it would be hard to persuade people to pay more than $100 every single time they change clothes.

2.Dependency on NFT marketplaces

Although the blockchain ecosystem is expanding rapidly, it is still a nascent one. When founders launch new NFT projects, they must make the NFTs compatible with OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace — for as of Feb 2022, 90% of the transactions in the NFT market came from OpenSea. If their projects are not compatible with this monopolistic marketplace, the founders would have hard times onboarding new users to their products.

3.An Avatar as ‘The Identity’

ERC-721 or ERC-1155 are simply token standards. Even ERC-998 is merely a token that can store NFTs. But an avatar must have sophisticated features to be used as the identity across the blockchain ecosystems, which means that an avatar should have a unique address and must operate identical to an EOA (Externally Owned Account). Moreover, since typical participants in the NFT industry expect NFTs to be static and unchanging, the customizable aspect of avatars may lead to very difficult and unfamiliar user experience.

There are some more minor issues regarding the wearable avatar system, but such flaws cannot stop the tide of customizable avatars.

4. The Unique Utility of Wearable NFTs

Unlike the usual non-customizable PFP NFTs, wearable(customizable) avatars are composed of 2 layers: the avatar and the wearables. Much like how you enjoy fashion in your real life, you can purchase or mint wearable NFTs and dress your avatar NFT anywhere, anytime. Here are the unique values wearable NFTs can propose.

1) Proof of Everything

A wearable NFT is still an NFT with some additional features thrown in. So it still can be used as a ‘proof of something’. Wearable NFTs can be used as proof of attendance like POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol), proof of membership like VeeFriends, or you name them. Wearable NFTs allow you to dress your avatars with various types of proofs.

2) Brands, especially Fashion

An NFT is a very attractive tool to drive mass adoption of web3, and is still a blue ocean market. Renowned fashion brands have already made their moves. NIKE has acquired RTFKT Studio, Adidas has launched its membership with BAYC, and Under Armour has sold NFT shoes which can be used in multiple metaverses. However, it is hard to find someone with these literally “wearable” NFTs as his or her profile picture. A standalone pair of shoes or clothing cannot represent someone, but by utilizing wearable NFTs, we can bring them to life by equipping them on avatars.

3) Just show who you are

I personally like simple gray shirts and baggy pants. Regardless of the brands I am wearing, I just prefer that simple style. However, it would be impossible for me to find a PFP NFT that wears gray shirts and baggy pants unless I mint my own one. If there was a public wearable NFT marketplace, allowing people to design, sell, and buy their favorite wearable NFTs, I would not suffer such nuisance. By opening the way to customize your own avatar in any way you wish, we provide a tool anyone can leverage to promote self-expression.

5. What is DAVA up to?

We have built a customizable avatar that can wear web2 and web3 brands and hang around in the multi-metaverse. We plan to bring various IPs in the form of wearables and give them immortality as DAVA avatars progress into the metaverse. Users will be able to represent themselves through an endless collection of wearables, and the DAVA avatars and the IPs will live forever in the blockchain.

Currently, we are focusing on the following 3 areas.

1) Well known IPs as Wearables

As the market grows, more and more IP holders are looking for chances to penetrate the web3 market, but they are undergoing hardships as 99.8% of NFT projects out of 6.8 million NFT collections show close to zero market activity. By launching brands in the form of wearable assets, brands can easily enter the NFT market and their IPs will be automatically migrated into metaverses.

The wearable NFT opportunity is not limited to web2 brands. DeFi, web3 games, NFTs and any other projects can incorporate their IPs into wearables.

2) Provide Wearable Avatar System as a Service

If you want to build your own community, we offer an “Avatar System as a Service” called ‘AaaS’. With AaaS, you can easily launch a wearable avatar collection and the wearables will be compatible with other avatar projects.

Web3 gaming guilds and DAOs can give a sense of belonging by distributing avatars and rewarding users with wearables based on users’ activities.

3) Increase Wearable NFT Utilities via Web3 Games, SNS, and so on

As the project grows, more IPs will be secured in the DAVA ecosystem. These wearable assets will be especially useful in the web3 gaming industry and in the metaverse-related services, thus we are going to provide a high quality full 3D asset package. By allowing external developers and projects to use these assets, projects that integrate DAVA avatars will be able to save costs and to easily onboard DAVA community users.

DAVA is currently operating in the Polygon network. However, in the future, users will be able to integrate their avatars into any other blockchain at their will. Avatars will be the passes to the metaverse and everyone around the world will own their avatars.

We are looking for partners who seek to build a true avatar layer together.

rev. by Jacob & Peter

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UNOPND, a startup studio powered by Hashed, is incubating innovative metaverse and NFT applications.