Let’s Get Phygital.
In the dystopian movie, Looper, protagonist Joseph Gordon Levitt can be seen, in a memorable scene, stashing his hard earned blood money in the form of silver and gold bars under the floorboards of his inconspicuous apartment as other loopers attempt to track him down for failing to close his own loop. The setting is distinctly cyberpunk, taking place in 2044, with the invention of time-travel available only to those brave enough to reach for it, or to those unfortunate enough from choosing the wrong career path.
An excellent movie by all metrics, Looper illustrates crime by juxtaposing low-living standards in a high-tech environment. The futuristic setting is further reinforced by the overcrowded cityscape of future-Shanghai’s monolithic skyscrapers being swarmed by flying vehicles.
However, despite taking place in the dystopian future, there is one constant that the movie producers and screenwriters could not supplant. The representation of money as a physical medium. In a time where flying cars and time travel are mainstays, it is telling that the movie producers chose to represent money in one of its most primitive forms.
The increasing digitization of our society has led to the development of rapidly evolving fields such as cryptocurrency, blockchain and the metaverse. It would not be too far-fetched for one to predict that at its current trajectory, everything valuable in life will soon have a digital medium. Societal staples such as money, art, finance, music, personal identification, literature are already in the evolutionary process of shedding its physical form. We have seen this transformation accelerate especially in the last two years, COVID being a pivotal defining moment.
Digital assets unequivocally make our lives more convenient, timely, and cost efficient. The recent surge in web3 and metaverse chatter has us imagining a world where everything can be digital, including our own bodies and existence. But as we see everything around us becoming effectively tokenized, so to speak, we might be forgetting that our lives are still bound on the temporal plane.
In every example and innovation sprouting in the crypto industry, we’ve ironically seen the community applaud the efforts of those who enthusiastically create its physical representation. Let’s take bitcoin for example. In the beginning, and we’re talking early days, there were diehard enthusiasts that took this obscure concept in bitcoin, and made them into actual physical bitcoins. And there’s still a niche market for this.
In the art space, owners of highly valued NFTs have taken a further step by printing out their wildly expensive JPEG images and hanging them as physical wall art. What better way to show off the unfathomable amounts of money spent on them?
Popular bitcoin media publication, Bitcoin Magazine, has plans to restart printing their physical print form publications soon to its readers after its hiatus due to the pandemic.
Critics and doomsayers who have been decrying the end of traditional media for decades are undoubtedly surprised that they can still find a newspaper or magazine at the local coffee shop today.
It’s evident where this digital trend is taking us. But being able to tangibly hold something that is ordinarily only viewable as digital pixels is a yearning we invariably have. Heck, romantic cyber love relationships eventually lead to a real-life meetup.
This is a call to action. Not the romance part, but the physical part. Or as the title explicitly words it: “phygital”. As in the sense of combining the words physical and digital.
There are already a handful of projects making bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other digital assets in the physical (“phygital”) form.
Because it’s more tangible. It’s palpable. It’s palatable.
We yearn for, and indeed, need physical mediums in life.
The examples of money being represented in physical form is not only seen in Looper, but also in many other cyberpunk/neo-noir genre movies. John Wick wouldn’t have been able to kick-ass his way to sweet revenge if it wasn’t for his physical gold coins, which represent a social contract of assurance.
Let’s not forget the closest representation of the metaverse in the Hollywood action packed movie, Ready Player One, where money, extra lives, and easter eggs are represented as a physical object one could hold in the OASIS.
At the end of the day, it’s easier for most people to see and feel tangible things rather than to understand an abstraction in digital form. Don’t get us wrong, we support the industry and ethos of digital assets, but we at Ballet believe that there is no greater calling than safeguarding the lanes of two-way travel between the physical and digital world.
Both are possible to have in possession and both are necessary in a world where both the digital and physical are intertwined.
So in the words of Olivia Newton-John:
“Let’s get physical, physical
I wanna get physical
Let’s get into physical”
Physicality is what we love. Digital is what we support. Marrying the two into “phygital” form is what we do.
So let’s get phygital.
Ballet is a U.S. company that provides simple and secure cryptocurrency storage solutions for the global mainstream market. Ballet is the team behind the world’s first multi-currency, non-electronic, physical crypto wallet. The company was founded in 2019 by Bobby Lee and an international team of cryptocurrency industry veterans. Ballet is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States, and has an office in Shanghai, China.
For more on our products please check us out at: https://www.ballet.com/
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