Digital Nugget: Real world collaboration in crypto scaled

Digital Nugget: Real-world collaborations in crypto

Decentralised applications often compete with their traditional counterparts, but sometimes the relationship is collaborative. While crypto use cases offer alternatives to traditional industries, in some instances they can coexist in mutually beneficial partnerships.

The significance

Real-world collaborations are noteworthy because they can turbocharge crypto use cases for a number of reasons:

  • They can bring a very large customer base to a young project instantly
  • They credentialise and put the spotlight on the crypto project
  • They can fast-track the development cycle of small protocols by sharing know-how and resources
  • As in all partnerships, there are usually synergies where the combination provides incremental opportunities for both parties that are more than the sum of the parts


  • Traditional payment service providers such as Visa and MasterCard offer cryptocurrency payment cards, while PayPal has enabled payments using Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin.
  • The Web3 project Mask Network enables users of traditional social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter to interact with decentralised applications, send cryptocurrencies and exchange encrypted messages, bridging the new decentralised internet to Web2.
  • Corporations have been opening offices in the decentralised metaverse. Crypto metaverse project Decentraland hosts leading companies such as JPMorgan, which opened a virtual lounge, and Fidelity, which built an eight-storey office.
  • Another prime example is gaming studios collaborating with blockchain-based gaming projects. While the studio gains instant access to crypto expertise without having to hire and build internally, protocols developing blockchain-based games can benefit substantially from the resources and expertise of gaming studios in bringing high-quality games that offer a great gaming experience. This expertise could take enormous investment and a long time for crypto gaming projects to develop. An example is Ubisoft’s collaboration with crypto protocol Oasys to launch a new blockchain-based game, “Champions Tactics: Grimoria Chronicles”.

Some more examples of collaborations between leading corporations and crypto projects:

  • Apple’s Macs and iPads use Octane X for high-quality, realistic 3D rendering. Octane X, in turn, provides users access to decentralised graphics rendering protocol Render’s decentralised grid of GPU processing units.
  • Starbucks, Lufthansa and Nike built NFT-based loyalty programmes on the Polygon blockchain.
  • Amazon Web Services teamed up with gaming sector-specific scalability network Immutable X to advance blockchain-based gaming.
  • Swift, the global communications network for interbank transactions, partnered with Web3 protocol Chainlink, using their Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) to connect with different blockchains.
  • PayPal built its own stablecoin on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Walmart entered into a partnership with Ethereum-based NFT project Pudgy Penguins. Walmart is also exploring the potential of metaverse-based virtual commerce.
  • Crypto trading bots such as Unibot have integrated with the social media app Telegram. Telegram also integrated a non-custodial crypto wallet to enable crypto transactions directly within Telegram.
  • McDonald’s teamed up with decentralised metaverse project The Sandbox to launch McNuggets Land, a metaverse game and virtual art gallery.
  • Decentralised Wi-Fi hotspot network Helium signed an agreement with T-Mobile to launch a mobile phone network, leveraging a combination of Helium hotspots and T-Mobile’s 5G network.
  • Siemens issued a digital bond directly on the Polygon blockchain network.
  • Société Générale is launching tokenised real-world assets on public blockchains, with the first such launch taking place in 2021 on the Tezos blockchain.
  • Grab, Southeast Asia’s biggest technology startup, is piloting Web3 services in Singapore in collaboration with USD Coin issuer Circle. Eligible Grab app users are able to set up a blockchain-enabled wallet, earn rewards and collectibles as well as use NFT-based vouchers.


  • In certain instances, collaborations with traditional corporations can introduce elements of centralisation into a decentralised ecosystem or raise privacy concerns. Appropriate levels of privacy protection and the suitability of decentralised vs. centralised solutions to certain use cases are hotly debated. Finding the right balance is still a work in progress.
  • Private blockchains are sometimes used by centralised parties to collaborate within an ecosystem. The participants of the ecosystem share the private blockchain, but there is no public access. This is an intermediary step between centralisation and decentralisation. While this is a good solution to certain business challenges, it is important to remember that this has no direct connection to the crypto market.


As crypto use cases emerge, real-world collaborations are highly significant as they can substantially accelerate user and transaction growth for nascent crypto projects. While decentralisation has many benefits and can solve many problems, it isn’t the answer in every situation. These partnerships are experimenting with finding the right combination of centralised vs. decentralised solutions. We have provided a sample of such collaborations here, but there are many more examples and a constant stream of fresh announcements.

Read more about crypto assets from Sygnum here.


This document is purely for educational purposes and has been issued by Sygnum Group. It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a marketing communication. It does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to subscribe, purchase, sell or hold any security or financial instrument. It contains the opinions of Sygnum Group, as at the date of issue. These opinions and the information contained herein do not take into account an individual‘s specific circumstances, objectives, or needs. No representation is made that any investment or strategy is suitable or appropriate to individual circumstances or that any investment or strategy constitutes personalized investment advice to any investor. Therefore, you must verify the above and all other information provided in the document or otherwise review it with your external advisors. Some investment products and services, including custody, may be subject to legal restrictions or may not be available worldwide on an unrestricted basis. The information and analysis contained herein are based on sources considered as reliable. Sygnum Group uses its best efforts to ensure the timeliness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness of the information contained in this document. Nevertheless, all information indicated herein may change without notice.

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