To paraphrase William Gibson, the Metaverse is here – but it’s not yet evenly distributed. While we all dream of being able to step into a fully-featured, immersive virtual world where we are bound only by the limits of our imagination, we are not quite there yet.
VR headsets are gradually accustoming us to an immersive audiovisual experience, where we genuinely feel that we are somewhere else. However, the current limits of this technology mean that the rest of our senses are still not yet fully engaged. Research shows that our sense of smell is one of the most important ways with which we build memories: wood smoke on a cold winter night, the salty tang of sea air, or the comforting aroma of a home-cooked dinner.
As we immerse ourselves in digital worlds that are becoming progressively more realistic, which form an increasingly significant portion of our social lives as people opt to hang out with their friends in game worlds. We need to engage another sense in order to bridge the divide between our virtual and physical selves – or so the creators of an exciting new venture argue. For example, if there was a ‘Scent of the Metaverse’, what would it smell like? This might seem like a strange question – but it is one that Rook Perfumes have set out to answer, in collaboration with Nifty Orchard, with a release of an exclusive perfume NFT creation.
Described as “the first experiment towards a fully-fledged perfume DAO”, this experience offers participants co-creator rights in a limited-edition run of just 100 bottles of perfume, plus an NFT of the label artwork. But just as integral as the finished product, is the four-month experience of actually creating the fragrance. Buying a ticket – in the form of an NFT on Known Origin entitles holders to participate in the creation process, led by master perfumer Nadeem Crowe. This experience will involve various virtual social activities across the Metaverse, culminating in a launch party, before the physical perfume bottles are finally sent out.
I spoke to NFT collector and Head of Metaverse Technology at Boson Protocol, Holly Atkinson, one of the participants in the Scent of the Metaverse DAO and asked her why she had decided to purchase. According to Atkinson: “I decided to buy one of the limited edition ‘The Scent of the Metaverse’ NFTs on KnownOrigin not only because it’s a beautiful artwork, but because it’s the first NFT to ever provide its owners with full rights to collaborate with the project team in a novel experimental process to co-create a perfume from scratch!”
Furthermore, according to Atkinson, “It’s unlocking this concept of NFTs as an experience and bridging members of the virtual crypto community with the physical world in an exciting new way that’s directly tied to art but which also moves beyond it.”
Meanwhile, Jamie Anson of Nifty Orchard explains that he sees it as just the start of what he hopes will be just the beginning of a new trend of co-creator experiences presented as NFTs. “I was interested in working out how we can create experiences and eventually DAOs with NFTs,” he said.
Furthermore, according to Anson: “Rook had done these collaborative perfume production experiments before and was looking for a way to integrate with NFTs. Using NFTs as a membership token and for co-creator rights seemed a great fit.” Anson hopes that this partnership “can continue making a few more perfumes so we can get a proper DAO together in the future.”
So what will this experiential “scent of the Metaverse” smell like? I guess waiting is the only way to find that out, since Rook is not giving much detail away. However, while this might be the first ever perfume NFT, it’s highly likely that in years to come, this will be just one of many such fragrance experiences.
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