This Year’s D2: Retail Edition Brings Web3 Forward With Its Own NFT

    Photo Courtesy of Passage Protocol

    Driving the need for retailers and consumer-leading brands to invest in Web3 data rails.

    This week, the annual D2: Retail Edition and Retail & Innovation Conference (RICE) kicked off, adding Web3 exploration into its programming, which runs from June 13 to 15.


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    With over 100 sessions and 150+ speakers scheduled to present, D2: Retail Edition and RICE have brought three days of informative discussions led by today’s boldest and most prominent brands, including General Mills, Coach, NBCUniversal, Liquid Death, Puma, Walmart, and more. 


    As the industry’s go-to event for connected commerce, RICE focuses on what’s top-of-mind for executives along with emerging trends and technologies driving the industry’s next wave of disruption. 


    D2, or Decentralization Deciphered, is a unique Web3 event and co-located conference at RICE that connects traditional businesses with Web3 innovation through in-person events and a year-round digital educational platform/ 


    Passage Protocol, a software company that deploys enterprise-grade tools for consumer-facing brands, serves as one of D2’s partners for this week’s conference, powering the three-day conference with its own NFT that allows consumers/attendees to both D2 and RICE to interact with the most prominent brands and retailers in attendance.


    D2: Retail Edition is looking to explore this new technology paradigm of Web3 concepts for brands and retailers. As Passage is a sought after expert in helping companies and brands bridge their digital strategies into Web3, it made sense for Passage to also provide Web3 infrastructure support during D2 and across conferences extending beyond 2023,” says Meral Arik, co-founder at Passage Protocol.


    The inaugural NFT for the 2023 conference is free to any registered D2/RICE attendee that was airdropped at the start of the conference. Throughout the conference, the dynamic NFT will continue to evolve, offering a clickable interface that provides access to the in-conference raffle and opportunities to join the D2 social communities. 


    Specifically, the NFT provides D2 members with a QR code that links users to a token-gated information page for insiders and the ability to sign-up for early VIP events, granting access to additional token-gated content.


    It’s more than just a ‘collectible,’ but instead, provides the attendee with a unique touchpoint and another reason to engage with the conference and its interactive content,” says Zac Choi, co-founder at Passage Protocol.


    So, what benefits does Web3 bring to the retail sector? According to Passage Protocol co-founder Zac Choi, it’s all about establishing “real world capabilities” around emerging technology.


    For retailers, this means understanding that Web3 should be viewed as a new, digital capability – rather than a single mechanism or use case,” Choi says.


    He continued by emphasizing that the days of simply “slapping” an image of an NFT on something and calling it a “membership pass” are over.


    Instead, we encourage the communities we work with to think creatively and innovatively about how to better engage with their end users and consumers,” Choi added.


    Passage Protocol previously powered CoinDesk’s Consensus 2023 conference, which brought 15,000 attendees to Austin, Texas and its underlying NFT Pass, in addition to other consumer retail activations including, but not limited to  Ape Beverages’s Water Club NFTs for a new BAYC IP consumer-packaged good subscription service, Admit One 9dcc pop-up during Art Blocks x Art Basel 2023, and House of Web3.


    Both Arik and Choi believe that if we look back to the earliest stages of the dot-com era, we can pinpoint this exact moment in history we are in with Web3 frameworks and the need to invest in Web3 data rails, or at a minimum, consider Web3 value creation strategies.


    On Tuesday, Arik spoke at D2: Retail Edition, discussing how leading brands such as NBCU, PepsiCo, Mattel, Coach, Puma, Liquid Death, and the like are each driving a shift in consumer interaction by leveraging Web3 to help create new opportunities for revenue streams, marketing channels, and loyalty and rewards programs. 

    Earlier today, Puma revealed its latest exploration of the metaverse and NFT space with the launch of Black Station 2, an immersive digital world where visitors are invited to participate in several retail offerings, including two digital wearables and a physical sneaker.

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