Pudgy Penguins announced its expansion into Walmart today (September 26), with its Pudgy Toys available across 2,000 stores nationwide. With this move, the brand joins the ranks of renowned consumer brands, highlighting its distinct approach to integrating community-driven IP with the latest in social media and blockchain technology.
This new retail collaboration with Walmart stands as a testament to Pudgy Penguins’ influence in digital collectible sales, boasting an impressive $400M in transactions. The brand uniquely marries digital platforms and blockchain innovation to bring tailored interactions to its consumers.
This isn’t the brand’s first foray into physical toys. Pudgy Penguins first started selling physical toys in May 2023 through Amazon, where the brand saw $500,000 in purchases over the first two days, surpassing 20,000 individual toys sold. During the same month, the company received $9 million in a round led by early-stage investors to expand the Pudgy Penguins global IP.
Luca Netz, the CEO of Pudgy Penguins, articulated the brand’s vision, saying, “Pudgy Penguins is at the forefront of transforming the toy industry, merging unique digital experiences with blockchain technology, like Ethereum and zkSync.” He added, “Our years of effort in brand development and community engagement through social media and the blockchain have now been magnified with Walmart’s support.” Netz purchased the Pudgy Penguins collection in April 2022 for 750 ETH (about $2.5 million).
These toys, available at Walmart, are more than just plushies; they serve as a passport into the digital Pudgy World. This digital realm, powered by the zkSync Era blockchain, provides an interactive multiplayer environment where users can engage, play games, and personalize their Forever Pudgy character. Moreover, each toy comes with its unique birth certificate. By scanning the QR code, users can unlock special traits for their digital Forever Pudgy.
The collection includes a unique twist by adding exclusive traits from notable NFT brands, like Meebits and DeGods into their toy designs. All of the toys are linked to their existing NFT IP. As a result, every time a toy is sold at Walmart, the respective NFT owners will earn royalty fees.
Brittany Smith, Walmart U.S.’s vice president of merchandising – toys, shared her enthusiasm about the collaboration. She remarked, “Pudgy Penguins is bridging the gap between our physical and digital worlds of play for kids in a really engaging way and their price point is right in line with our goal of providing everyday low prices. I’m excited to add them to our assortment!”
Through his partnerships with the two global corporations with massive reach, Netz is seamlessly onboarding mainstream audiences to NFTs and blockchain technology. According to the Pudgy Penguins team, the toys are the first ever mass-market product licensed directly from the community.
Walmart will stock 26 Pudgy Toys, including exclusive Ice Chrome figures and mystery Blind Boxes. Shoppers have a chance to find a golden ticket for unique digital traits in Pudgy World. Created by PMI Kids’ World and priced from $2.99-$11.97, these toys are available at select Walmarts.