rud, the company who created the iconic virtual influencer Miquela, was acquired by DapperLabs last week. Both Brud and DapperLabs have been driving innovation in the virtual influencer and NFT spaces, respectively. Now, they’re teaming up to usher in a new era of digital communities in enabling the creation of DAOs for everyone.

If you’re confused about what this means, then strap in for the ride as we explain the importance of this merger and how it will affect the virtual influencer industry.

Who is Brud?

Brud is the media company that created Miquela Sousa, one of the first and most popular virtual influencers. In 2019, the company was valued at over $125 million after their latest round of investment. Dapper did not disclose what they paid for Brud, though it was confirmed an equity-based deal.

It's unsurprising that Dapper chose to integrate the entire Brud team considering that they recently announced an exciting new creative direction. For years, the only information available about the company was a single google doc website.

However recently, Brud unveiled a new website to outline their ambitious plans for Miquela’s future, one that involves empowering fans to create “community-owned media and collectively built worlds.” Essentially, the company wants to invite Miquela’s fans to collaborate in the crafting of her storyline.

Miquela with Brud Co-Founders
Photo of Miquela with Brud Co-Founders Trevor and Sara

What is Dapper Labs?

You should have heard of CryptoKitties, the explosively popular blockchain game in which users can buy, sell, and breed digital cat NFTs. DapperLabs created Cryptokitties as a way to certify video game item ownership through NFTs while also incorporating fun and leisure into the now-viral NFT collecting process. They recently partnered with the NBA to create Top Shot, a space to trade and sell jaw-dropping basketball game moments as collectible NFTs.

Photo by DapperLabs

What is a DAO?

DAO stands for “Decentralized Autonomous Organization” and is a new kind of digital organization structure that grants everyone equal decision-making power.

Imagine a media company whose audience owns stock the way top-level investors traditionally do. A DAO dismantles the idea of a top-down organization in which decisions are only made by higher-ups. Instead, everyone participates in a collective decision-making process. The rules of a DAO are typically encoded in a transparent computer program that all members have access to.

For example, the co-founder of Brud, Trevor McFedries, created his own DAO called “Friends with Benefits." When people purchase the Friends With Benefits cryptocurrency ($FWB), they buy in to the community of token holders. Each member is both emotionally and financially invested in the future of the DAO, which incentivizes them to further increase the value of the FWB token.

Friends with Benefits current value
Photo by Nomics

What does this mean for the future?

Dapperlabs has tapped Brud’s McFedries to head a new department called Dapper Collectives. The goal is to streamline the process of creating, joining, and running DAOs.

Brud will remain in charge of Miquela, who is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon with her new unlocked memories storyline. If anything, Brud’s management of Miquela is an inspiring example of how the decentralized media model has empowered her fans. Whether through Instagram or Discord, Miquela invites them to determine her choices in a collaborative, choose-your-own-adventure style, giving fans an active stake in her decision-making process.

Photo by Brud

An invested fanbase is the backbone of any virtual influencer’s success online. Without it a virtual influencer is just another character on a screen. With an invitation to participate in a virtual influencer’s storyline via DAOs, organizations like Brud can drive higher engagement and greater emotional interest from fans.  

Miquela’s community of 3 million fans will reportedly be the flagship project for Dapper Collectives. Want to see how it turns out? Subscribe to our newsletter, and you’ll be the first to know what develops.

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