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Gary Bracey and Jawad Ashraf talk about Terra Virtua platform (Includes interview)

Gary Bracey
Gary Bracey

Terra Virtua is the world’s first immersive digital collectible platform.

What similarities amongst films like Tron and Ready, Player One (and Ready, Player Two) are there, with this type of technology?

Jawad Ashraf: “So it’s like Ready, Player One then?” Has been asked quite a few times in various conversations we’ve had with people who aren’t familiar with the space or Terra Virtua, and while there are similarities in terms of the capability of technology to create a virtual world that you can fully immerse yourself in, that’s really where the similarities come to an end, with regards to Terra Virtua specifically.

We’re more about creating an immersive experience where you can interact with, and experience the things you love from within the arts & entertainment world.

How can this platform help fuel/accelerate the film/tv industry through customizable spaces and opportunities to license works such as that in Top Gun, The Godfather?

Jawad Ashraf: With a changing world, brands more and more are looking for ways to connect more deeply with fandom. With more releases happening over streaming, and theatres closed, the industry is examining what can be done around film releases. We believe NFTs or ‘digital collectibles’ can be part of film launches and merchandising. Imagine watching a movie on the premiere night on a streaming service and collecting some special ‘one-off’ collectibles which you can share with others.

Location bases collectibles you can collect at the movie theatre which unlock something in your own special space in Terra Virtua. Being able to explore your own ‘Hangar’ before watching Top Gun Maverick. We feel this is so much more engaging than a poster or a branded drinks cup or popcorn bucket.

Having obtained the licensing rights for Top Gun/Top Gun: Maverick to create digital collectibles using Terra Virtua, this is quite a feat. What can you tell us about this?

Gary Bracey: Relationships are key and we are fortunate enough to have had a track record of success in licensing from Paramount in a previous life (videogames) and so the trust and goodwill was there. It obviously required a leap-of-faith from them but fortunately, that faith has been validated.

In partnership with the Pacific Rim franchise, the company can provide exclusive Top Gun imagery and release it as NFTs. Talk about this.

Gary Bracey: Pacific Rim and Top Gun are from entirely different production studios so there’s little relationship between these movies/franchises, however in working with Paramount Pictures and Legendary Entertainment, we have licensed the rights to create digital collectibles based on some of their biggest movies and TV shows, such as Pacific Rim The Uprising and Top Gun.

For example, the featured image shows the Gipsy Avenger Jaeger from Pacific Rim Uprising that you can purchase on Terra Virtua (and yes, it’s full size!) or you can pick up a Top Gun pilot helmet, although all the Maverick helmets have sold out already, and then you can interact with your purchases in AR and VR. We even ran a Top Gun selfie competition so we could see our fans in their helmets. It was very cool.

Word on the street is that Terra Virtua holds some intellectual property rights to Godzilla vs. Kong. Is this true, and spill the beans! How does the company fit into the upcoming release of Godzilla v. Kong?

Jawad Ashraf: We are working closely with studios to form part of the digital strategy. With release dates being in flux and being moved forward, physical merchandising can be a challenge. In the digital space, we have extra flexibility. So, yes we are part of the Kong vs Godzilla release.

Digital ownership is becoming the new normal, particularly for Gen-Z – ask yourself, do young children ask for bikes or skins? A digital 1 of 1 rare Kong gives more ‘bragging rights’ than anything physical. We want to allow fans to truly connect with the movie through this new exciting tech. Having your own Godzilla, Kong or any of the other characters, which are authentic, eternal, and exclusive is a super interesting proposition.

What are some of the biggest myths surrounding digital collectibles that are just plain wrong?

Jawad Ashraf: The main narrative we often see is that they are super expensive items that are just for the ‘crypto’ crowd. This just isn’t the case. Many of our items are around $10. The other one is that they are complicated to get hold of, due to platforms being complex. In our case, we have built Terra Virtua to be as simple as Amazon to use! We take care of the ‘blockchain’ stuff to give our users a seamless experience.

Okay, I’m a brand new user. Walk me through how I would use this platform, let’s say when it comes to certain music artists I follow, or even a film director? Are you telling me I could own a part of a film director or producer’s work, such as a movie script?

Jawad Ashraf: Yes you absolutely could. It depends upon how the brands we are working with want to create their assets. You could own a piece of video, handwritten lyrics, characters from a movie, or in some cases part of the film itself. The possibilities are endless, and really only end with the creativity of the brand owner. We work closely with our brands and provide them our guidance in the space. We have seen what works and what doesn’t, and only want to do 2 things. Create great experiences and add value to the creators, and the users of the Terra Virtua ecosystem.

The avatars on the platform are incredible! What went into designing them and how does VR/AR play into this?

Jawad Ashraf: Our vFlects are our in-house IP and were created by our incredible production team. The term ‘vFlect’ was a combination of two words – ‘Virtual Reflection’. These amazing characters have their own lore behind them and have grown to be the most beloved thing on our platform.

We see vinyl collectible toys in the real world. vFlects are the digital equivalent, each with their own personality and now we are working with brands to create their own ones. We will have some Top Gun vFlects coming soon. The great thing about these guys is they can be shared in AR which creates really fun interactions and in VR, it’s a truly next-level experience to hang out with them.

Let’s talk about your demographic. For many Millennials and Gen-Z, blockchain is just starting to come into the conversation. How “well-versed” does one need to be to navigate Terra Virtua?

Jawad Ashraf: We want enjoying Terra Virtua to be as simple as using Minecraft or Roblox. We are bringing in a whole host of social features, which we feel will make it ‘social+’ – a new place for you to hang out, share what your love with friends and other fans. The thing we always say is – ‘everyone is a fan of something’. Terra Virtua can be a place to come, share, explore and do more with the things you love.

Back in November, you attracted approximately $2.5M from leading funds including Woodstock, Hashed, and Twin Apex Ventures. Tell us about that.

Jawad Ashraf: We had massively oversubscribed funding round, and this was way before ‘NFT’ mania hit the mainstream. We were fortunate to have identified such great partners who understood the vision and what NFTs could do to disrupt fandom and collecting. Woodstock has a very strong presence in South Asia, and Hashed in Korea and beyond. Our other partners cover Europe and China. We truly believe this is a global company and our partnerships reflect that.

Recently, Unreal Engine, Legendary Entertainment, and Paramount Pictures have expressed their support for this project. What can you tell us about what could be in the works for these potential partnerships and relationships?

Jawad Ashraf: All we can talk about is what’s already out there. But when we have new IPs to talk about, we’ll make sure you’re on our PR list.

What’s next for the company?

Jawad Ashraf: We are just getting started. Virtual events, time and location-based collecting, AR collectible pop-ups, new and engaging uses of our TVK token are all in the roadmap. There is so much we plan to do. Fandom and collecting is going to change and we hope to be right at the forefront of it.

To learn more about Terra Virtua, check out its official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 18,000 original articles over the past 16 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a six-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past three years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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