IYK has successfully raised $16.8 million in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, signaling a significant leap forward for its NFT-based infrastructure. The tech startup has also unveiled a novel platform, simplifying the process for brands keen on infusing a digital element into their fashion and related products.
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Empowering apparel with IYK tech
IYK specializes in providing near-field communication (NFC) chips seamlessly embedded into clothing and various items. Coupled with the requisite infrastructure, these chips can be linked to blockchain tokens or NFTs.
This breakthrough allows individuals to scan an NFC-enabled item like a t-shirt, cap, or toy using a smartphone, unveiling a tokenized certificate of authenticity. Moreover, this certificate can function as an access pass to exclusive digital content and communities.
NFC-driven NFTs are a game changer
The startup has already made significant strides, collaborating with prominent traditional brands such as Adidas, Atlantic Records, Billionaire Boys Club, and Johnnie Walker. On the crypto front, the startup has partnered with major names like Coinbase, MNTGE, Pudgy Penguins, and the innovative 9dcc.
For example, Adidas utilized tokenized t-shirts for the NFT NYC convention, employing IYK’s NFTs to verify each piece’s authenticity and link one of eight digital “Alter Egos” to the shirt. MNTGE also leverages the same technology to pair customized vintage jeans and jackets with digital twins, potentially holding future utility in online worlds.
Ryan Ouyang, the co-founder of IYK, highlighted the focus on empowering creators to build digi-physical experiences rooted in some form of physical interaction, such as owning a product or meeting someone.
Newly launched platform
To streamline the integration process, the company recently launched a new app featuring a self-serve model. Brands can now seamlessly join the IYK ecosystem, selecting from an array of NFC chip types and form factors. The platform is designed to accelerate the process, allowing companies to experiment and develop digital content and experiences, using API tools without manual intervention.
By facilitating the infusion of digital elements into tangible products, IYK has simplified the pathway for brands to navigate the NFT landscape, an initiative that has already attracted notable collaborations with traditional and crypto-centric entities.