XTERAT co-founder on bringing streetwear fashion to gaming

Coin Rivet recently spoke with XTERAT co-founder Alex Russman about bringing streetwear fashion to the gaming world using Enjin

Coin Rivet recently sat down to speak with XTERAT co-founder Alex Russman about his company’s vision to bring streetwear fashion to the gaming world using non-fungible tokens.

What is XTERAT?

Alex co-founded XTERAT alongside Isa Kivlighan with the aim of linking “physical design assets with their digital counterparts”.

The core concept centres on the idea of buying a physical item (in this case clothing) and then taking a digital representation of that item into a video game.

“Initially we want to authenticate fashion – starting with streetwear – on the blockchain to really bring that element of scarcity and limited-edition ownership to the digital realm as well,” comments Alex.

XTERAT makes use of the Enjin platform, which already has an XTERAT collection available. The collection is grouped as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Each NFT is linked together in terms of being a similar token, though each can have a unique history and ownership transfer history.

Alex notes that this is key because it allows buyers to prove the authenticity of special and limited edition items – for example, a piece of clothing might have been owned by a celebrity or Instagram influencer before being purchased by the new owner.

The authentication process can often be tricky, but XTERAT solves this issue with NFTs because the NFT would have unique characteristics and a certificate of authenticity.

The NFT standard used is the ever-popular ERC-1155, which has become increasingly prominent in blockchain games.

“We’re really embracing all of the technology the Enjin team have delivered. We feel that’s what gives us the ability to leapfrog other projects and start delivering on their platform,” Alex notes.

While speaking with Alex, he revealed that XTERAT doesn’t consider the world of crypto fundraising suitable, and instead it will be taking the route of seed funding.

“At the moment we’re talking to several individuals and companies for initial seed funding to take our partnerships further and develop our product and platform,” he says.

“There’s the crypto world of fundraising, but we don’t feel that type of fundraising is suitable for us – that’s a relief, we have the Enjin platform and technology.”

“It’s more just about building a business on technology that exists – that’s very much a 2019 sentiment.”

The XTERAT exchange platform

One avenue XTERAT is currently contemplating is developing an exchange platform for digital items, though this idea is no further than the research phase at the moment.

Alex states that viewing this platform as a currency exchange would be the wrong perspective: “This is more of an extension of a trading platform like eBay or Amazon where you would buy an item of clothing and send it physically to someone, but also making a digital transferal of the token linked to it.”

There are often concerns when purchasing items of clothing because there is a risk the items could be fake. In these scenarios, the item is often sent to a middleman who can authenticate the item before selling it on the sellers’ behalf.

“That authentication process is important, it’s vital. Our idea is to take away the middleman as much as possible, and building on the Enjin platform allows these tokens to be taken to other trading platforms and ultimately people will be able to buy fashion assets a lot more reliably with a lot more security,” says Alex.

‘Streetwear is a fantastic kind of launchpad for this type of project’ 

When I ask how difficult it will be to onboard streetwear designers, Alex elaborated: “In terms of fashion as a whole, there will be some difficulties because we’re kind of bridging the realms of art, design, and technology – and they don’t necessarily have a huge overlap.”

“Streetwear is a fantastic kind of launchpad for this type of project because streetwear fans and users tend to be much younger.”

While Alex doesn’t like categorising people, he says it is often millennials who are surveyed as being knowledgeable about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

“A lot of the young millionaires who have earned their money in clever and shrewd investments in Bitcoin are spending that wealth on streetwear items and clothing.”

“It’s an area of fashion that has a demographic which is very OK with cryptocurrency, its importance, and usage. That makes it much easier to approach streetwear designers.”

Alex went on to provide the example of Lil’ Pump, who recently started accepting Bitcoin and Lightning payments at his online merchandise store.

“This adoption by this younger generation really highlights how this digital divide is ongoing,” he says.

Alex also spoke about a designer XTERAT is currently partnered with in Berlin called Studio Obectra and how “he was vaguely aware of the name Bitcoin but had no understanding of the technology beyond that”.

“It was a great experience for us to interact with those who are very much involved in the fashion world and the design world to talk to them about this technology and how it could benefit consumers, producers, and businesses.”

“Ultimately, we were able to refine our business model to find something that works for consumers and designers that businesses can apply down the supply chain.”

“There’s a clear demand from designers to prove the origin of their materials. That’s what the consumers are asking for – is it ethically sourced?”

Bringing physical items to the gaming world

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of XTERAT isn’t the proof of authenticity that comes with merging NFTs with clothing, but rather the ability to bring them into the gaming world – a concept which is only made more enticing with the development of Enjin’s Multiverse.

“It’s really what the Enjin platform is all about in terms of having your crypto digital assets and linking them into multiple gaming universes – provably digital scarce items which you can take into different worlds,” says Alex.

“In the physical realm you can own a jacket and wear it anywhere. In terms of the Enjin platform, you can take the digital asset into multiple worlds, which is revolutionary and incredibly exciting.”

Alex takes a moment to note how this concept isn’t limited to the gaming world – it applies to any tech-enhanced world, such as augmented reality.

“Enjin’s platform is perfect in terms of distribution. In terms of linking the physical to that, it’s very simple: when you buy a physical piece of clothing, you get a token that is linked to an asset sent to your wallet and then you have proven ownership.”

In terms of the Multiverse, Alex states it will be a case by case basis for which physical items appear in which Multiverse game.

Going forwards, he hopes there will be collaborations where digital realms approach fashion designers in the physical realm to help bring more fans and customers to both the designer and the game.

XTERAT’s focus

There are three areas XTERAT is currently targeting. The company wants consumers to be able to own a digital asset linked to a physical asset, the designer to be able to take their physical creation into the digital world and verify its authenticity, and finally businesses to be able to validate authenticity.

In short, XTERAT wants to usher in a new era of partnerships between fashion designers and gaming worlds to bring the physical and digital closer together.

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