The Digital Pets Company, and Israeli start-up, is to introduce 3-D virtual dogs, based on artificial intelligence, to the metaverse through the NFT market.
Metaverse is essentially a virtual space focused on social connection, that offers a platform for people to work, play, shop, and socialize.
"Dogs help to break the ice with people on the street, they strop to smell each other and you find yourself talking to someone you didn't know," explains Itay Hasid, co-founder and CEO of The Digital Pets Company.
Hasid himself has met quite a few new friends thanks to his digital dog Rosy.
The CEO hopes that dogs, like humans, could be integrated in the metaverse and translate their social role on the streets to that on the web.
"The virtual worlds will feel lonely and empty if there won't be something to connect between people," says Hasid. "I've experienced this and saw how hard it is. Dogs can relieve loneliness, be partners in all sorts of experiments and create connections between people."
The Digital Pets Company's guinea pig project is the "Meet Laika" application, which stars Laika, the virtual 3-D dog that can bark, chase her tail, and do backflips on cue. However, this is just the beginning.
The Israeli start-up plans to sell approximately 10,000 virtual dogs of different breeds to NFTs in about two months.
Consumers will receive "test tubes" with embryos, and will have to put them into incubators through the company's virtual lab. Afterwards, buyers will have to "take care" of the embryos in order to set their personality traits, such as intelligence, curiosity, and energy. Once the embryos transform into puppies, the pet owners will be able to raise and train their new pets.
Looking farther ahead, The Digital Pets Company hopes to connect with the leading metaverse actors so that their dogs will be able to accompany their owners in different virtual spaces.
Hasid said a price has yet to be set for the product, but claims that it will be "attainable". Like the other NFT collections sold today, "the supply and demand will set the price", he said.
Hasid, only 34-years-old, is a serial entrepreneur. Among other ventures, he co-founded start-up companies Mobeego and Kado, which both developed innovative variations of smartphone chargers.
He founded The Digital Pets Company in July 2021, along with his partners- Maciej Miarecki, Amit Yogev, and Dan Stern.
The company uses advanced technological software to make the dogs look and act realistic. Still, Hasid emphasizes that as of now, the company's product neither translates a real household pet to the virtual world, nor aims to cause humans to "fall in love with artificial intelligence, like in the Movie 'Her'."
"I'm not trying to switch out the dogs of the real world. Part of our experiences will be virtual," he said. "The idea is to create social interactions - I want two dogs based on artificial intelligence to connect between two real humans."