In the metaverse, scan your dog and go on a walk: Virtual NFT pets are becoming increasingly popular.
According to new data, the number of people looking for a furry friend to keep them company reached new highs during COVID-19, not only physically but also in the metaverse.
Is the trend of tokenized pets here to stay, or is it just a passing fad?
The metaverse, which is assisted by virtual and augmented reality, is often viewed as the next iteration of the internet as a virtual environment, or Web3.
In the metaverse, there are a variety of ways to buy or adopt a pet, each with its own set of benefits. You can buy a puppy and take it for a walk in the virtual open-world platform Decentraland, or you can buy a fish and keep it in a bowl on your dresser.
Another option for getting a pet in the metaverse is to purchase a nonfungible token (NFT) picture on a marketplace like OpenSea. These two examples have one thing in common: they both live only in the digital realm. When you buy an Axie on Axie Infinity, it also doesn't exist in the real world.
However, there are a growing number of projects that try to combine the digital and real worlds. ClassicDoge, for example, was founded in November 2021 and allows you to scan and tokenize a 3D model of your pet in the physical world before bringing them into the metaverse.
Although the pandemic may have sparked interest in pet NFTs, Saylor Howell, head of growth and partnerships at ClassicDoge, told Cointelegraph that they were an inevitable development of the metaverse:
The facts show that the world is changing. And I believe it's building up to be a great time in the metaverse to start virtualizing the things we care about.
The team's long-term objective, according to marketing director Kade Cooper, is to "become a portal for bringing your real pet into the metaverse." Even if she's passed away, you could walk your dog again along the road and have her sit next to you," he remarked.
According to statistics from intelligence firm Similarweb, web traffic data referencing "pets" or keywords referring to dogs and cats on the NFT marketplace OpenSea peaked at around 636,000 in October 2021. However, by December, the figure had plummeted to 246,000.
Web searches for NFT pets and associated terms showed a similar pattern. Similarly, in October, searches peaked at at 206,000 before decreasing to around 93,800 in December.
Related: A dog-themed currency and some fascinating new avatars demonstrate the metaverse's true potential
The concept of NFT pets has also piqued the curiosity of several NFT professionals, such as NFT blogger and YouTuber Matty DCL.
The concept of having a virtual pet isn't new, but it's never been more realistic. Tamagotchi popularized the concept of having a digital pet in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, Tamagotchi's website received over 125,000 hits in December 2021, a nearly 750 percent increase over December 2019.