Earlier this week, Mr Price ran a competition giving away nine non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to its Instagram followers.
Dubbed “NF-Tees”, the collection features a strange-looking animated character doing dance moves while wearing different t-shirt designs.
Eight of the NFTs came with a R10,000 cash prize, while one hid a R50,000 jackpot.
Non-fungible tokens are a type of crypto asset that contains unique attributes.
Unlike coins like bitcoin and ether that are identical and exchangeable (fungible), NFTs with different traits are not interchangeable.
Popularised on the Ethereum blockchain as a kind of cryptographic certificate of authenticity for digital artwork, NFTs have come to be associated with projects like CryptoKitties, Cryptopunks, and the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
The technology is also used in “play-to-earn” games like Axie Infinity, and metaverses like Decentraland and The Sandbox.
Some projects are also experimenting with using NFTs to store various financial positions, including options contracts and long-term “staking” (a kind of fixed deposit).
Despite their varied uses, NFTs have become synonymous with images or animations traded on marketplaces like Rarible and Opensea.
Mr Price’s foray into the space falls into this category.
To stand a chance of winning one of the NFTs, fans had to comment on Mr Price’s Instagram page with their most unbelievable moment of 2022.
They then had to share the post promoting the “NF-Tee” to their Instagram stories and tag Mr Price’s account.
In all three cases, MetaLabs created the NFTs on the Polygon blockchain, which acts as a scaling layer for Ethereum.
The Savanna Cider campaign involved a system where NFTs would increase in rank from bronze, to silver, to gold based on how much people laughed during its Comedy Bar Tour.
The tour ran from 26 July to 26 August 2022 and would use a “laugh-o-meter” to measure how much people laughed.
Savanna would randomly give out NFTs to attendees and social media followers who could exchange them for prizes like PlayStation 5 consoles and cash cards.
However, looking at transaction data on the blockchain, the campaign didn’t end up using the NFTs.
The VW Polo campaign was more like Mr Price’s, with people entering a social media-based competition to win an NFT.
It gave out 100 NFTs over five days, and according to Polygon blockchain transaction data, the tokens were indeed handed out.
Five of the NFTs are currently on sale, with the cheapest listed for 0.09 ether (R2,300).
However, the listings only tell part of the story.
According to Opensea, none of these NFTs have sold yet, and the highest offer from a willing buyer was 0.0059 ether (R150) for VW’s Mzansiverse Golden Ball #1 NFT. A prospective buyer made the offer two weeks before the NFT was transferred to its winner.
The last set of offers on these NFTs was made on 24 and 25 August, where one user offered to buy 16 of them for between 0.003 and 0.005 ether each (roughly R75–R130). None were sold.
Similarly, Mr Price appears to have already transferred all nine NFTs from its campaign to their respective winners.
None are listed for sale, and there have been no offers to purchase.
Inspecting the NFTs’ metadata shows that Mr Price and MetaLabs Africa haven’t simply stored the animations on a server that they must continue operating for them to be available online.
Instead, the tokens link to resources stored using the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).
IPFS is a peer-to-peer protocol for hosting media on the web. Cloudflare launched an IPFS gateway in 2018, and this year it announced IPFS support for its Cloudflare Pages website hosting service.
MetaLabs said that Mr Price’s “NF-Tees” would take the clothing retailer into the metaverse, with winners able to use the NFTs as metaverse avatars.
It is not clear which metaverses it will support.
The two major players in blockchain-based metaverses currently are Decentraland and The Sandbox, and neither’s avatar creator appears to list Mr Price’s new NFTs.