While some brands moved away from web3 in 2023 during a long crypto winter, Puma stayed the course and its head of emerging technology Ivan Dashkov told TechCrunch+ it has no intentions of leaving.
After two years working with web3, Puma’s tech revenues remain modest, but the sportswear manufacturer intends to be ready for a more crypto-friendly future. “Web3 is a big shift in how people use the internet,” Dashkov said. Such changes to how the internet is used can lead to landscape-shifts for brands, something that Puma is more than aware of.
The company “missed the boat” on the big e-commerce and social media waves that happened in the past few decades, so it wants to be early in this space, Dashkov explained. “We don’t think the way the space exists today will be what it looks like in four or five years, but we want to be ready.”
In February 2022, Puma registered its first Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain, as Puma.eth. ENS domains are popular among Ethereum users who want to have accessible addresses, usually related to themselves or a brand, instead of copying and pasting a string of randomly generated letters and numbers.
In June 2023, Puma launched Black Station and Black Station 2, which its website refers to as “experimental 3D spatial playground,” which is a lot of words to basically describe a metaverse. I tested out the entry page and found it to be a bit slow and confusing (disclaimer: I’m not a huge gamer, so maybe I’m missing the point, but I imagine not all Puma fans are either.) Regardless, its metaverse aims to provide consumers with a different way to interact with the brand, Dashkov said.