“I don’t care about the bear market,” Arianee chief Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel proclaimed at NFT Paris last week in an interview with Decrypt.

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Quickly clarifying that the dip is of course “not nice,” Hurstel—whose company has helped high-end brands like Yves Saint Laurent and Moncler issue NFTs—explained that the market lull means a real focus on practical use cases that will onboard more people into Web3.

“During the bull, we would get a telephone [call] every day from a brand that wants to make a million dollars with a stupid drop,” he said.

But now that the hype has cooled down, “the collections that are making money are real brands. They have a real product, they build a community around that, around creativity, collaboration,” said Hurstel.

And business is nevertheless booming for Arianee, in a way that Hurstel said hints at further mainstream adoption. “We minted 1 million NFTs last year, we’re going to mint probably 10 million NFTs this year, with more than 50 global brands,” he said. “This is going to touch my mum, your brother, your sister."

Commenting on the unique position of France as a place to do Web3 business, he said it was not just new companies but established household names that will drive greater uptake of crypto and NFTs.

“We have a rich ecosystem of brands, brands that have deep relationships across the globe,” he said. “These brands are the brands that are going to take us from 100 million users to 1 billion users. It’s through concrete, pragmatic use cases that are going to interact with people in their daily lives that Web3 is going to become mainstream.”

Real-world use cases will begin to induct more people into Web3, because there will be a “good reason” for them to do so—be it digital proof of ownership or a multi-brand customer loyalty program.

Upon buying a sustainable product, for example, a digital product passport could prove the item’s credentials, as well as letting the owner prove it’s theirs.

“That is going to be 80% of our minting this year,” Hurstel said. “That is going to touch wine and spirits, appliances, luxury, fashion, it’s going to help build a circularity model around this industry.”

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Web3 takes aim at loyalty points

He also predicted that interoperable loyalty programs will bring more people into the fold of Web3, with brands issuing tokens that customers can then use elsewhere. “Think about why you love your amex program, why I love my Amex program—it’s because the points I gain, I can transfer them to Airfrance or Delta. One-click.”

While the cost of a loyalty program might currently be prohibitive for smaller companies, Hurstel suggested that the openness of Web3 will allow more brands to make loyalty transferable.

“The weight and cost of a loyalty program for companies is super complicated to maintain. If all of a sudden, you benefit from a network effect thanks to the wallet and the tokens, then you have an open loyalty program for everyone, everywhere.”

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