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20th December 2022 in

The Street: Vatom Brings NFTs to 2022 FIFA World Cup

We spoke to Colin Hornett, Vatom’s Chief Experience Officer, about the company’s first-ever Web3 campaign for the World Cup.

With Argentina winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it’s time to look back at one of the first Web3 experiences at the World Cup: the Frito-Lays “Pass the Ball” challenge, which allowed fans to scan a QR code on World Cup-themed Frito-Lays packaging. The first 350,000 users received an NFT of a hexagonal soccer ball with their own picture on it, courtesy of the California-based metaverse company Vatom.

TheStreet Crypto spoke to Colin Hornett, Vatom’s Chief Experience Officer, about the company’s first-ever Web3 campaign for the World Cup. “People will jump all over the opportunity to play if you make it easy and fun,” Hornett said.

TheStreet Crypto: Where did the interest come from in terms of wanting to be part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup?
Colin Hornett, Vatom: We were super excited to give the permanent gift of NFTs to fans to keep after the campaign was done. The World Cup was the biggest stage in the world, with an amazing lineage and history. It was the most-watched event on the planet. We got to put the technology center-stage behind such an amazing idea, and do it at scale during a historic moment.

How many people participated in this campaign?
There were 200-plus million bags, which were printed with QR codes, to get people into the experience. The first 350,000 people that took a photo of themselves got turned into a 3D object, a golden hexagon coin, which they got to keep forever. And then they got added to this user-generated content experience in terms of a giant global soccer ball. The NFTs were automatically deposited into a wallet for the user to keep. At the end of the campaign, we closed access to it, so that only people who participated in the challenge had access to the NFTs.

So, let’s explain the technology more. Tell me about the Web3 wallet.
The Vatom platform is blockchain-agnostic. We believe that there are a great selection and variety of blockchains available at the moment, but we think that over the next five to ten to twenty years, there are going to be others that come out. So, tying yourself to a single blockchain means you’ve already put an end to how long that piece of technology is going to run.

We think that people aren’t going to have hundreds of wallets, they might have a few wallets. So we call our wallet, the “wallet of wallets.” While it can be tied to any blockchain, it takes us two to three weeks to add a new blockchain, and it can be custodial or non-custodial. Custodial means if you can’t get access to it, you can contact support, and we’ll help you gain access again. Non-custodial is really the true crypto experience of “not my keys, not my wallet.” We believe that 99% of the world is going to be really scared off by that – if you can’t remember your password, and you get locked out of your wallet, you lose all of your assets. That’s terrifying for people. At the same time, if [non-custodial wallets are what you desire], great – login with MetaMask [or another wallet] and you can use that in our system as well. But we were really catering to the new era of the Internet, this Web3 evolution, and trying to make it as easy as possible for people. That was our goal.

How do you see Web3 changing the future of sports and events in general?
What Web3 offers is the opportunity to bring community around experience, so it brings the opportunity to put people in a space together and to celebrate something en masse. We’re one of the only [metaverse] platforms in the world that can do thousands upon thousands of people in a space simultaneously.

We really focused on the scalability of this, so that if you go see a concert, or you go see a World Cup game, you can be in there with thousands of people. For sports, particularly, I see it being a place for communities to gather before a game to share a beer or a conversation. It’ll change the dynamic of how communities come together at a distance to enjoy the actual game.

The whole goal for Frito-Lay was to unite people around the love of soccer and open up a direct line of communication with fans. And I can’t think of a better way to achieve that than by putting everybody together on a soccer ball, especially with what’s happening in the world.

The ultimate goal is for people to have a fun and meaningful experience, i.e. you get this beautiful object [the NFT], it’s a gift. You have something fun to explore, and you get to be placed on this beautiful soccer ball next to people that are cheering for soccer teams with you.