Boson Protocol seeks to blend physical and digital marketplaces in the Metaverse


Boson Protocol is a decentralized commerce protocol that seeks to enable the sale of physical goods, services and experiences in the Metaverse as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and hopes to provide an infrastructure layer for exchanging assets of non-monetary value. For example, an NFT of a pair of sneakers bought using the Boson Protocol in the Metaverse would then be redeemable for that physical pair of sneakers in the real world, and vice versa. 

Ahead of the launch of its first Metaverse commerce experience in Decentraland, called Boson Portal, Cointelegraph spoke with Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol, to learn more about the company’s long-term vision and its commerce model:

“Now it’s normal for humans to have a digital shadow, such as a Linkedin or Twitter profile. And within the next couple of years, it will also be normal for physical and fashion items to have a digital twin.”

This notion of “twinning,” or that there is a digital NFT representation of every physical object or service, is central to Boson Protocol’s goal of being “a ubiquitous bridge between the physical and the digital,” according to Banon.

That’s why Boson Protocol has built Boson Portal to be a space, similar to a virtual mall, for Decentraland users to browse virtual items in the Metaverse and then potentially receive the physical item on their doorstep.

The Portal is also a gamified space. Banon described it as an “experiential wonderland with quests.” Users can go over to a brand’s boutique and choose to play in a quest or a game. The prizes are NFTs, and are considered hero items. Customers can either purchase these hero items at full price or play the suggested quest to purchase the NFT at a discounted price.

The BOSON token is the protocol’s would-be utility token. The network also established the dCommerce DAO with plans to be a self-sustaining, community-governed decentralized autonomous organization that reinvests its revenue into the growth of the ecosystem or uses the revenue to buy back or burn BOSON tokens. In Boson Portal, a 1%–2% fee will be applied per transaction. Those fees would then get recycled back into the protocol and distributed to the tokenholders.

“The key is that there is no intermediary, no Amazon or eBay in the middle. It’s all smart contracts encoded with game theory. That means there’s no one taking a slice out of the middle.”

Banon added that by working with trusted brands, users can carry out commerce in the Metaverse without a fear of losing their funds. In September, Boson Protocol acquired “The Glass Suit,” a $1 million Dolce & Gabbana suit that is also an on-chain NFT. The digital version of the suit will be housed on the Boson Portal, while the physical item is planned to be displayed in a museum. More and more major global brands are using NFTs to integrate fashion and the Metaverse.

When asked what the value of doing commerce in the Metaverse is, Banon told Cointelegraph:

“It’s this next generation interface. We tend to move towards the things that are the most real, rather than the low-fi versions. Why would you go with a 2D flat screen if you can be immersed into the same room as someone?”

Banon confirmed that an in-the-works Boson Protocol 2.0 will enable brands to plug in an e-commerce system like Shopify and then sell straight into the Metaverse. And that the protocol plans to expand to other virtual worlds and even traditional video games, such as Fortnite.

Starting with Decentraland, Boson Portal aims to not only host retail spaces for brands but to also have an events space for conferences, art installations and cultural activations. Its first conference, called Boson Forum, coincides with the Portal’s launch on Thursday and will feature speakers covering topics related to Metaverse commerce.