Case Study: Plugging into Highstreet’s Phygital Metaverse

Hypotenuse Labs
7 min readJan 25, 2023

Written by: Andrew Drury, Software Engineer @ Hypotenuse Labs

Figure 1: Highstreet reimagines retail in the metaverse

TL;DR: We created a Web3 marketplace for Highstreet, the first-ever commerce-centered metaverse. This case study focuses on how we launched 3 phygital products (physical and digital) in the marketplace and reduced turnaround times for supporting new drops from 16 weeks to only 3 weeks! We also implemented a home furnishings NFT collection with on-chain multi-checkout.

Overview

Highstreet is the leading retail-focused play-to-earn (P2E) metaverse that combines shopping, gaming, NFTs, traditional brands and crypto brands into one seamless experience. Highstreet is defining the next generation of shopping allowing brands like LVMH or Balenciaga to expand in a brand new digital realm with little to no cost.

This novel e-commerce approach fosters win-win relationships by generating profits for partnered companies, all while creating a gateway into the metaverse for consumers!

Hypotenuse helped Highstreet develop a fully-fledged web marketplace and built new features, such as a secure payment and minting verification system, a staking pool for Highstreet’s native currency, various phygital drops (physical and digital products) and metaverse home offerings.

We’ll showcase two key features we built for Highstreet from the ground up:

  • Creating a marketplace for phygital products
  • Launched an interactive Home Furnishings NFT collection

Let’s get Phygital!

What are Phygital Products?

Highstreet bridges physical and virtual worlds with their exclusive phygital products. Phygital items are made up of 2 components:

  1. a physical component, such as a designer hoodie or a collectible art toy
  2. a digital component, an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain

These products allow traditional retail brands to generate new revenue streams and marketing channels without expenditure or reducing inventory!

Phygital Products on Highstreet’s Marketplace

Hypotenuse helped Highstreet implement the sale of these phygital products by building a new purchase and redeem flow.

Consumers purchase a product token on the Ethereum blockchain through the marketplace website, then redeem this product token, which triggers the shipping of a physical product and the minting of a digital NFT token to the user’s wallet.

Instead of redeeming the product token, users can sell their token anytime at market value! Prices are set according to Highstreet’s proprietary StreetSmart bonding curve. TL;DR: as more product tokens are purchased, the price increases according to the curve and vice-versa.

We helped Highstreet launch three successful phygital drops:

Figure 2: Limited Edition Phygital Drops

Implementing the sale of physical and NFTs items paired together can be challenging. Our experience in the blockchain and traditional retail spaces allowed us to ramp up within 1–2 weeks and deliver solutions despite facing tough deadlines.

Phygital Flow Technical Details

As phygital drops are an entirely new concept emerging in the blockchain space, we needed to implement a one-of-a-kind flow from scratch to securely purchase and obtain phygital products. The following flowchart depicts the purchase and redeem flow on Highstreet’s Marketplace for the first phygital drop: silk boxers.

Figure 3: FOMO’s Secret $PANTY redeem and mint flow

We created a listing for the product token, an ERC-20 token which anyone can purchase. The token behaves like a voucher for the phygital product and can be sold back to the market before it is redeemed.

Figure 4: FOMO’s Secret $PANTY listing

ERC-20 is the universal language for fungible (identical) tokens on the Ethereum blockchain which can be transferred between wallet addresses.

When the product token is redeemed, it is burned on-chain and exchanged for the physical product and a digital NFT, an ERC-721 token.

ERC-721 is a standard for representing ownership of NFTS, non-fungible (unique) tokens linked to digital content like images, videos, and music on the Ethereum blockchain.

The NFT is added to the player’s inventory and can be used in the metaverse.

Functional Programming FTW

Fun fact for the devs: we used FP (functional programming) principles for highly modular and reusable code and it helped for quick turnaround times for the second and third phygital drops.

How? FP is well-suited for web3 development since it promotes immutability, improves modularity, and simplifies complex issues. FP also results in more concise and easier to understand code, which helps us ship products faster!

Results

We successfully implemented a phygital purchase and redeem flow, bringing Highstreet;s vision to life in three phygital drops. Using a FP approach, code reusability enabled quick turnaround times, with the most recent launch taking only 3 weeks to develop, compared to 4 months for the initial drop.

Exclusive FOMOCASA Home Decor

FOMOCASA is a home furnishing NFT collection that serves metaverse inhabitants by filling their homes with artistic and interactive pieces. The collection consists of 15 Home Decor NFTs that can be filtered by type and rarity.

Figure 5: FOMOCASA ERC-1155 collection listing page

Players can customize their virtual residence by placing the decor anywhere in their home. Some items will offer fun and rewarding mini-games while others offer the ability to play music like the Ancient FOMO Harp!

Figure 6: Rotating Ancient FOMO Harp in Highstreet Home

Multi-Checkout on the Chain

Unlike other NFT collectibles, the home decor collectibles are semi-fungible tokens which follow the ERC-1155 token standard.

The ERC-1155 standard differs from the ERC-721 standard used for other NFT collectibles like the $PANTY NFT, as it allows multiple identical tokens to exist.

A neat feature of the ERC-1155 standard is the ability to mint multiple tokens in a single transaction. This reduces network congestion and gas costs, making it more cost-effective for users to purchase multiple items in one transaction.

Figure 7: ERC-1155 multi-checkout flow diagram

Instead of making multiple transactions and gas payments, users can purchase a couple of Cloud Beds, a FOMOBIT couch, and a few Peaceful Volcano Lamps, all in one transaction!

Figure 8: ERC-1155 furniture multi-checkout

Recycling with FP

Despite being a different token standard, the FOMOCASA collection was quickly supported by recycling generic logic created with the FP programming patterns. For Highstreet, this results in rapid launches and a high degree of scalability in the marketplace.

FP utilizes pure functions to create code that is immutable and deterministic.

A pure function is a block of code that always produces the same output given the same input. An example of this is buyTokenFactory, a function that creates a general abstract token purchase used by all tokens and NFTs in the marketplace:

We can define a pure function that will buy ERC-1155 assets specifically with HIGH currency. Hooking the function up to the frontend in order to purchase assets with a button click becomes remarkably simple.

Adopting the FP approach leads to more concise and modular code, and enables rapid launches in the marketplace. This is beneficial for Highstreet as it increases scalability and reduces delivery time.

Results

The furniture NFT collection was a great success! User’s were able to save gas fees with the multi-checkout feature leveraging ERC-1155’s ability to perform batch NFT transactions. It took two developers a couple months to modify the marketplace’s backend architecture to support the ERC-1155 standard, create new UI and additional features such as a checkout cart.

Closing Remarks

With a marketplace geared for phygital products, designer streetwear, exclusive collectibles, and much more, Highstreet has an exciting time ahead!

With the awe-inspiring work Highstreet has completed in building their metaverse vision, we are eager to see what’s in store for them.

Need Help Building Something?

Hypotenuse Labs is an elite team of CTO-level engineers. We deploy engineering SWAT teams to help growing organizations build killer products, on-time, and on-budget.

Where we play:

  • Backend, ML, and DevOps
  • Web dev
  • Smart contracts (NFTs, DeFi, Infra)

How do we work?

  • Build and develop your product idea; from first line of code to market delivery
  • Staff augmentation
  • Fractional CTOs

Please email hello@hypotenuselabs.com or DM @hypemanchan on Telegram if you’re looking for help!

Website: https://hypotenuselabs.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hypotenuse_labs

Medium: https://hypotenuselabs.medium.com/

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Hypotenuse Labs

Building incredible web, AI, and blockchain solutions since 2018.