Mattel is rolling out a new marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as it looks to expand its digital collectibles business.
The toy giant is launching a platform called Mattel Creations this week on the Flow blockchain where fans will be able to buy digital art tied to classic products like Hot Wheels and Barbie. The marketplace’s inaugural collection will be the latest set in the brand’s Hot Wheels NFT Garage Series, which the company claims to have had success in the previous three releases.
“In launching our own marketplace, we’re able to translate iconic Mattel IP into digital art,” said Ron Friedman, vice president of the Mattel Future Lab. “This is the latest evolution of our digital endeavors, and we look forward to sharing more drops soon inspired by some of the world’s favorite Mattel brands.”
The launch comes as NFT technology has faced uncertainty amid months of slumping sales and a crash in the cryptocurrency market triggered by the collapse of major exchange FTX. But Friedman said the brand remains focused on delivering a digital collectible that stands apart from market volatility and offers fans some form of real-world utility.
“Mattel remains undeterred in our long-term vision to innovate and deliver value to our customers,” Friedman said. “While market volatility is out of our control, we are in control of our product and user performance, and excited to continue building best-in-class digital experiences that pioneer the future of play and create stronger relationships with our community.”
Friedman said Mattel’s Hot Wheels NFTs, which sell in $25 packs and include a voucher for a physical die-cast model, have sold out instantly in each of the brand’s previous releases.
“Our Hot Wheels digital collectibles, which are different from most other projects in the space, are built on solid collection dynamics,” he said. “This creates incredible value for our vibrant collector community using, for example, IRL redemption opportunities to exclusive die-cast cars that they love.”
Mattel has also seen success with a collection based around Barbie in collaboration with luxury fashion brand Balmain and a collection called Masters of the Universe in collaboration with designer Cryptoys. The company plans to further flesh out its Mattel Creations platform with a new Barbie collection later this year in a team-up with women in tech organization Boss Beauties.
The marketplace is designed to appeal to people outside the crypto community with features accessible to mainstream consumers and no requirement that the buyer pay in cryptocurrency.
As the initial wave of hype in the NFT space seems to subside, many brands still committed to the tech are doubling down on turning tokens into loyalty programs, building in real-world experiences and rewards or tying them to valuable intellectual property.