Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were the big buzz of 2021. They were billed as a new way for artists to make money, and they were hyped as a major part of building Web3.
However, for the majority of consumers, NFTs were both a puzzle and nothing of consequence for them. The sales figures for NFTs might have skyrocketed fro, $94.9 million to over $23 billion in a 12-month period, but all this apparently helped to do was convince Joe Public that buying NFTs was all about financial gain, and that you needed a substantial amount of money to be an investor.
As a result, there’s still a large amount of scepticism about NFTs, because a large number of people can’t understand their value or how they might bring change. However, those who believe in NFTs, whether they are artists, developers or companies, are aiming to show they can have a real impact on lives by using blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology does not stand still, even though some blockchains appear to find upgrades difficult to effect. The upcoming Ethereum merge may prove to be a very important moment as it transitions from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This should make its blockchain faster and more efficient. It’s expected in August 2022 and should also reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by just below 100%.
While the Ethereum merge is an advancement that has yet to occur, it comes concurrently with the growth of the Polygon, Tezos, and Solana blockchains. In early 2021, Ethereum, FLOW, and WAX were seemingly the sole proprietors of the NFT ecosystem. Now, over a year later, the expansion of the NFT market is palpable, ranging across various blockchains.
NFT intellectual property
As the NFT ecosystem itself has expanded, so too has the range of intellectual property (IP) minted on the blockchain. NFTs are a revolutionary way for artists and content creators of all kinds to monetize their IP in a way that simply wasn’t possible before.
Tokens are evolving
Plus, the tokens that house the diverse range of creator content are evolving as well. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s Soulbound Tokens (SBTs) introduced a new era of crypto assets aimed at housing not only the interests and affiliations of a person as it pertains to them as a collector, but a full-fledged individual as well. It sounds weird, and some are referring to them as NFT 2.0, but they could bring a dramatic change to the market when the mainstream comes on board with the concept of a decentralized society, something that is beyond the comprehension of many. However, even if SBTs take a while to take off, they have already played a role in starting a conversation about what NFT technology might look like in the future.
It’s likely that your view of NFTs may depend on who you are, where you live, and the degree to which you’re exposed to new media and tech. The mainstream media has focused on NFT scams etc, just as they have done with cryptocurrencies, but beyond the tabloid headlines at the forefront of the NFT market, exists a vast and expansive ecosystem ranging across industries.
Just because the potential of NFTs is not yet widely understood, this doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Just as it is the case with any new or controversial topic, we must dig deeper to unearth the full scope of the situation.