Interview with Justin Banon, co-founder of the Boson Protocol

In our new era where commerce, digital collectibles, and physical goods coexist, fashion is proving to be a flagbearer of this revolution. Join us as we talk with Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol, and unravel the intriguing world of Web3 fashion commerce.

The fashion space moves quickly and as one may expect is quick to adapt, influence and incorporate new trends. A new frontier is now actively being explored: the metaverse and the opportunity to directly digitize assets.

Here, on the bleeding edge of technology and style, traditional concepts of commerce and consumer engagement are being questioned. Big-name fashion brands are exploring different ventures within the digital collectible space. The Rubicon has been crossed and it now feels more like a question of who hasn’t made a Web3 play. Gucci, Balmain, Prada, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Hugo Boss, Tag Heuer, Paco Rabanne, Burberry, Dolce & Gabanna, and Tommy Hilfiger are just a few names that have had NFT drops in the last 2 years.

There is a delicate balance between appealing to the high-end fashion & sportswear buyer and the Crypto degens that populate the metaverse and Web3. Protocols like Boson are trying to bridge this gap.

The Boson Protocol is an e-commerce solution that provides a channel to bridge traditional and digital marketplaces with unique tokenization and service frameworks. It aims to remove the intermediaries that may generally be required to navigate through an operation. It instead uses an idiosyncratic interface that uses Non-fungible token (NFT)-based smart contracts to represent commitments to buy or sell goods.

The NFTs can represent a physical good that is redeemable. In the meantime, the NFT can be staked, traded, and have secondary utility elevating the base product. Additionally deploying within web3 allows for a model where user data and funds are more protected. Personal data like email or bank account information does not need to be shared with Boson. Just a blockchain wallet like Metamask.

Today BNC speaks to Justin Banon, the co-founder of the Boson Protocol. A serial entrepreneur, Justin has founded numerous startups over the last two decades and has a background in driving successful corporate loyalty programs. Justin provides insights on the challenges and successes of building a web-3 e-commerce startup. He also offers his perspective on the growth and opportunities within the sector.

Could you explain in simple terms how Boson Protocol facilitates commerce in the metaverse for fashion brands?

“-As Web3’s decentralized commerce layer, Boson Protocol enables brands to sell physical products as NFTs everywhere –– on their website, in the metaverse, and on NFT marketplaces. With Boson you can also create phygital assets and token-gated purchases, allowing you to effortlessly develop engaging and rewarding digi-physical commerce experiences.”-- Banon


An example of a ‘phygital’ good being sold on the Boson platform. Source:

“ Buyers can redeem the NFT for the physical with the assurance that either they will receive the item or their money back — all without the need to trust intermediaries or sellers, just code and independent dispute resolvers. Redemption can be integrated into a brand’s own website, giving them full control of the customer experience. Alternatively, buyers can transfer, gift, trade, or hold the digital collectible — just like any other NFT.”> -- Banon

How does Boson's infrastructure lower the barrier of entry for mid-market brands interested in entering the metaverse?

“Mid-market brands can, through Boson, launch digi-physical products, in the manner of global conglomerates such as Nike but without the million-dollar budget. We have solved the hard tech problems of tokenizing and twinning physical items, so brands can focus on creating innovative decentralized commerce experiences for their customers. Our no-code, low-cost tools make it easy to tokenize and sell physical products as NFTs everywhere, all in a decentralized way. Committing to true decentralization allows Boson to drastically reduce the costs of metaverse participation to only a 0.5% per transaction protocol fee.”> -- Banon

Are there any specific examples of brands, like Tommy Hilfiger, that have used Boson Protocol to enhance their customer's journey in an exemplary manner

“-During our closed beta, more than thirty brands are selling phygital goods using Boson’s infrastructure, including Tommy Hilfiger, Sider, Hogan, Deadfellaz, Anrealage, FangGans, Privé Porter, Auroboros, Sian, House of Rare, Metagolden, Alterage. With Boson moving out of closed beta and into open access, now everyone can sell physical things as NFTs everywhere.-One successful use case took place with Blvck Paris, a high-end fashion brand that allowed purchases on its site in both fiat and crypto but was searching for a more immersive Web3 experience. By using Boson's metaverse commerce toolkit, Blvck Paris set up a collection of redeemable NFTs sold through a metaverse storefront. This toolkit also allowed them to participate in the Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 where they generated sales.”> -- Banon

Could you describe the technical challenges fashion brands face when entering the metaverse and how Boson helps in overcoming those?

“Boson Protocol assists fashion brands in unlocking the power of decentralized commerce through a full suite of Web3 infrastructural products and services including the decentralized commerce store builder, a drag-and-drop metaverse kiosk, an NFT marketplace bridge, the digital commerce redeem widget, token-gated access, and decentralized phygital. Fashion brands can treat Boson as a one-stop-shop to engage in Web3 commerce.”> -- Banon

How does the creation and exchange of redeemable NFTs work within Boson Protocol’s commerce layer?

“Redeemable NFTs (rNFTs) can be thought of as NFT vouchers for things that can be: bundled to create phygital and digital twins, programmed to enable token-gating to holders of specific NFTs, and configured to return royalties on secondary sales. Simply purchase the redeemable NFT and get the physical item, or your money back.”> -- Banon

Can you explain the role of decentralization in Boson Protocol’s operations, and how it benefits the fashion brands you work with?

“-Much of the Web3 commerce prevalent in today’s market is Web3 by name but not by nature. Centralised agencies charge fashion brands large fees to create rNFTs. As a decentralized protocol, Boson is built for the benefit of and governed by its users. Consequently, Boson only charges a minimal 0.5% per transaction protocol fee.-There is no reliance on centralized third parties; brands redeem back on their own domain, thus retaining control and oversight of the customer experience. Additionally, due to decentralization, brands can sell anywhere in an easy-to-use, self-service manner with free support.”> -- Banon

How difficult is it to bridge the gap between buyers of luxury fashion goods and Metaverse users? Can either side adapt to the culture of the other?

“There is a strong cultural overlap already being exhibited between the fashion and metaverse industries. Fashion and luxury bridging into Web3 is a natural process as they find common ground in community building, experience-centric approaches, and innovative mindsets.”> -- Banon

Do you see more fashionistas becoming metaverse/NFT participants or more crypto degens buying into high-end fashion?

“Many fashion enthusiasts are becoming metaverse participants and NFT holders. It is a natural progression for many — an extension of the immersive customer experience.”> -- Banon

What has it been like to work with these fashion brands on these technology-heavy concepts?

“It has been both interesting and rewarding to equip creative minds with the new technology ‘power tools’ that are able to construct real user experiences from innovative visions. There is a convergence of creativity and technology that is only possible through collaboration.”> -- Banon

Can you tell me a bit about the Boson portal? What is it like having a storefront in the metaverse? Do people come in regularly and buy things?

“Boson Portal is a gamified commerce space within the metaverse typically used to host events, for example, Metaverse Fashion Week. We are currently building a metaverse commerce boulevard where qualifying brands can deploy a Boson storefront for free as part of an introductory offer.”> -- Banon

Do you have a perspective on the success and growth rate of emerging sectors like NFT/metaverse commerce and Real-world Asset tokenization? When and how will these concepts break the glass ceiling and hit mainstream popularity?

“-Retrospectively, any new technology has been adopted in, what is now, a predictable cycle. First, the new tech irrupts into society before gaining massive popularity. This bubble balloons until it eventually bursts, resulting in disappointment in that technology and doubt over whether it will be adopted. Following this stage, we see the technology rebuild its reputation as companies commit to educating themselves and employing the technology through carefully considered strategies, thus promoting steady, sustainable growth until the technology achieves mainstream adoption.-It is in that stage of sustained growth that we currently find the metaverse and its affiliated sectors, such as real-world asset tokenization. The bubble has already burst and we’re now moving steadily forward as brands develop proper metaverse strategies.”> -- Banon


As we step further into the digital age and explore the opportunities presented by Web3, it's clear that there is an interplay between the metaverse, fashion, and Web3 technology, based on real product-market fit unfolding. Technology builders with experience in traditional & blockchain commerce , like Boson Protocol, are smoothing the path for this transition, making it not only possible but profitable. Big-name fashion brands are clearly embracing the new frontier, diving headfirst into the metaverse to provide enhanced customer experiences and unique offerings like NFTs. Mid-market fashion brands, as explained during the interview

In our conversation with Justin Banon, the potential this burgeoning technology holds for the future of fashion commerce is gleaned. The benefits of decentralization, utility, and consumer engagement are promising. The integration of fashion and metaverse may still at an early stage but the momentum is clear.