The WalletConnect Report is here!
Download report
Blog Home
User Story
January 29, 2024
The WalletConnect logo
COZ: Shaping the future of phygital experiences with NFIs
With its new concept, COZ introduces a whole new way to experience web3.

You’ve heard of non-fungible tokens, but what about non-fungible items?

A non-fungible item (NFI) is an innovative, real-life embodiment of web3 technology conceived and manufactured by COZ. A ​​web3 software and services group specializing in blockchain and distributed technologies, COZ is a key force behind the Neo ecosystem and an expanding universe of blockchain-enabled experiences. 

Many of these experiences are now taking off across a wide range of physical form factors, ranging from wearables to collectibles. Fueled by nascent NFI technology, these new implementations are moving crypto beyond digital and weaving together all sorts of possibilities for immersive, real-world interaction.

An NFI is born

An NFI is a physical asset that is cryptographically linked to a "digital twin" on the blockchain, securely bridging the asset across the physical and digital realms. 

In early 2023, COZ partnered with AxLabs, a fellow Neo ecosystem partner, to bring the NFI concept to life. The first use case was OneBand, a web3 foray into the wearables space. 

“COZ focused heavily last year on developing this new digital realm and connecting it with people’s everyday lives,” says Tyler Adams, CEO of COZ and co-founder of ITEM Systems, a joint venture between COZ and AxLabs. “Before we introduced OneBand, the concept of ‘phygital’, a union of the physical and the digital worlds, had barely been scratched. We’ve since driven several activations using OneBand and other NFI-based form factors that clearly demonstrate the practical, hands-on value of this technology. From here, the potential to open up a whole new world of user experiences is unlimited.” 

OneBand: The first NFI

OneBand, the first NFI use case, is a physical ring that packs a lot of power within its sleek design. It functions similarly to a hardware wallet, except for one major point of difference: only this specific piece of wearable tech knows the private key. An embedded secure NFC chip helps the ring assert its authenticity cryptographically, as it contains a censored BIP32 master key that supports BIP44 derivations to private keys for most blockchains. This means that OneBand can work with all networks in web3.

OneBand is essentially activated when the physical item is cryptographically bound to its digital twin, tethering the physical and digital worlds. By establishing this relationship (which is done in a non-custodial manner), users can then attest ownership, sign transactions, and interact with applications using OneBand. 

The OneBand NFI

“To understand why we call OneBand an NFI, you first have to understand what ‘non-fungible’ means,” says Tyler. “For something to be non-fungible, it must be unique and irreplaceable or unduplicatable by something else. Everyone is now familiar with the concept of NFTs – non-fungible tokens. With OneBand and additional wearables, collectibles, and other products that we’ve since developed, we’ve pioneered a huge leap forward to non-fungible items. With an NFI, you have a traceable asset on the blockchain.”  

Binding a physical object such as OneBand to a digital twin on the blockchain is where WalletConnect comes into play. In the case of OneBand, in order to bind the physical object to a digital twin, the user uses a mobile app to scan a WalletConnect QR code, which establishes a pairing. This “handshake” is carried out by the integration of the WalletConnect Sign API on both the ring and the app’s side. With the connection established, the user can then use the ring in conjunction with the mobile app or simply tap-scan to engage in interactions.   

"We’re essentially building out a software interface for physical assets,” explains Tyler. “We are doing that using the concept of an onchain digital twin which has some similarity to a traditional non-fungible token. It’s a passively-powered but always-usable wearable.” 

The future is phygital

OneBand's capabilities were first showcased in a COZ-led activation for Neo at Consensus 2023 in Austin, Texas. Attendees were invited to collect their own ring and interact with nine projects, tap-scanning their OneBands at every stop in a phygital take on a punch card game. In October 2023, COZ orchestrated another OneBand-powered conference activation for Neo at TOKEN2049 in Singapore.

Tyler delivers a demo of OneBand at Token2049 

OneBand has even made its mark in the entertainment industry, supporting Alden Ehrenreich's directorial debut, Shadow Brother Sunday, at the Tribeca Film Festival. In a live auction at the film’s afterparty, attendees were able to use OneBand to place bids on a set of collectible movie memorabilia items, each of which was also an NFI, to enable tracing of each asset's value. 

COZ has since rolled out NFI-powered activations using other form factors, most notably at the DENVER WALLS festival in Denver, Colorado and at The Hobby Hangout in Melbourne, Australia. New activations and use cases are in the works for 2024.

Artist George F. Baker III, next to the mural he created for DENVERWALLS 2023, points to one of the 17 NFI-embedded plaques installed by COZ across the district-wide exhibit's many murals. 

“Our NFI-based activations to date are really just the beginning of all that’s possible with this technology,” says Tyler. “From loyalty to ticketing to really any kind of online-to-offline experience, NFI technology delivers a fast, easy, and secure way for users to attest digital ownership in the physical world. You no longer have to fumble to connect your wallet in ways that may make you feel uncomfortable; this technology takes care of all that to simplify the user experience.”

Learn more about COZ

COZ is a software development group specializing in blockchain and distributed technologies. With a proud history dating back to 2017, COZ’s initiatives have introduced countless new professionals to the world of web3 and made it possible for people to experience the full potential of the Neo ecosystem. COZ is now present in 7 countries and through its innovation continues to enable people and institutions to achieve their full potential through web3. To learn more about COZ, visit

Recommended Articles
More articles

Build what's next.
Build with WalletConnect.

Get started
© 2024 WalletConnect, Inc.