The non-fungible token (NFT) space is arguably one of the most popular aspects of crypto and blockchain technology. In fact, NFTs are often the talk of the town and attract a lot of interest both inside and outside the industry.
The growing appeal of NFTs outside of the crypto space is so great that big brands like Visa and Budweiser are now buying popular items from popular collections. These steps differ from the usual corporate interactions with non-fungible tokens, which often involve creating their own digital goods.
As is often the case with crypto and blockchain matters, a significant takeover by major legacy players triggers a FOMO-fueled frenzy. The lower price limit has been massively raised for several NFT collections as other collectors join the trend.
Beyond the current hype, some crypto advocates say that NFTs offer more than just memetic appeal and can be the “killer app” for Web 3.0. If such claims prove true, non-fungible tokens could become a channel for gamified investment in the emerging decentralized web and become the focus of the next iteration of the internet, much like how e-commerce and social media have dominated current cyberspace.
Visa buys Crypto Punk
On August 23, Visa announced that it had purchased Crypto Punk # 7610 for 49.50 Ether (ETH) – about $ 149,939 at the time of writing. The news arguably caused a stir in the crypto space and even beyond, as several CryptoPunks were nabbed by wealthy buyers interested in participating in the promotion.
CryptoPunks belongs to a league of “OG” NFTs from 2017, long before the current hype about non-fungible tokens. The collection was created by Larva Labs in June 2017 and contains 10,000 pixelated images measuring 24 x 24 pixels in 8-bit pixel art style.
Punks are considered to be the inspiration for the ERC-721 token standard for NFTs and a forerunner of blockchain-based generative art.
When it was first released, crypto punks were available to interested collectors free of charge. With NFTs gaining popularity since 2020, the vintage collection (at least according to the non-fungible token standard) is increasingly in demand.
According to the Larva Labs website, the cheapest CryptoPunk available for purchase costs 119 ETH (about $ 400,000). Several owners reportedly removed their punks after purchasing Visa amid a wave of new interest after the news.
At the time of writing, the 30-day trading volume for CryptoPunks has exceeded over half a billion dollars. CryptoPunks trading activity accounts for more than half of the NFT volume recorded in August.
Chinese internet billionaires have also jumped on the bandwagon and bought CryptoPunks for huge sums of money.
Nowadays, premium NFTs like CryptoPunks seem to have become a status symbol, much like the Lamborghini fascination of the early crypto days. It is now common to see celebrities inside and outside the crypto world wearing popular NFTs as profile pictures on social media accounts.
NFT acceptance and corporate brand management
Visa’s crypto chief Cuy Sheffield explained the reason for buying CryptoPunks: “To help our customers and partners participate, we need to understand firsthand the infrastructure requirements of a global brand in order to buy an NFT store and use. ”While corporate adoption of NFT is not a new phenomenon, instead of launching a digital collection based on a company’s offerings, purchasing an NFT makes Visa’s move significantly new.
Related: Smart user makes $ 80K profit on CryptoPunk ‘Smash and Grab’
Jesse Johnson, founder and chief operating officer of Aavegotchi inventor Pixelcraft Studios, told Cointelegraph that Visa’s foray into NFT space was just “the tip of the iceberg.”
“Brands, organizations and companies in the market will increasingly rely on NFTs in the months and years to come. It will begin as a new way of getting in touch with customers, but eventually entire industries will develop. “
Johnson told Cointelegraph that the popularity of NFT will drive entire industries to review their incentives and realign them with their customers.
According to Christian Ferri, co-founder and CEO of NFTPro, a company that provides NFT market advice to global brands like Prada and Lamborghini, the company’s interest in non-fungible tokens includes investing and marketing, as well as promoting increased brand engagement among the younger population.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Ferri said that the current hype about expensive NFT collectibles will subside, stating:
“If the market turns, most, if not all, NFTs that are not tied to high status will depreciate greatly, if not disappear. These dynamics will bring attention back to a new gamut of digital value where NFT shoppers seek and demand digital authentic products from household names that are broadly agreed upon to have higher, more predictable weight. “
There is already growing interest in NFT in the corporate world, with several major brands looking for a presence in the marketplace. Social media giant Facebook has announced that NFTs will be part of its digital asset wallet service Novi.
According to reports from China, Bytedance, the parent company of popular social media platform TikTok, may also consider an NFT push. Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming reportedly announced the company’s proposed NFT venture into a WeChat NFT group on Aug. 26.
NFTs, Gamified Investing, and Web 3.0
As NFTs become the channel for digital ownership, some commentators have begun to highlight the gamified investment potential of non-fungible tokens, especially in the context of the emerging decentralized web architecture. In some ways, NFTs may evolve to embody the transformation e-commerce and social media are bringing about in today’s cyberspace.
According to Ferris, “NFTs will be the backbone for the third wave of trade, or virtual trade”. From digital avatars to virtual and augmented reality (VR / AR), gaming and metaverses, NFTs are tipped to penetrate multiple layers of the evolving digital matrix.
This increased penetration also leads to discussions about possible interactions with important pillars of the digital world such as e-commerce and social media. In fact, some companies are already looking to develop an infrastructure that will exist at the intersection of NFTs and social media, gaming and e-commerce, among others.
Related: Ready Player Earn: Where NFT gaming and the virtual economy coincide
“NFTs enable real ownership of digital items that can often be used as utilities,” Johnson told Cointelegraph, adding:
“Businesses can use NFTs for many different purposes, but the biggest of them all is games. The play-to-earn aspect of NFTs will be revolutionary in the years to come. This transition from static digital collectibles to tokens creates real utility and will lead to the next generation of NFTs, especially as more companies and corporations get involved. “
Indeed, play-to-earn gaming has become an important part of the NFT space, with titles like Axie Infinity attracting the attention of gamers around the world. The growing popularity of play-to-earn NFT games highlights the possibilities that can lie at the intersection of gaming, blockchain and the virtual economy.
In a conversation with Cointelegraph in early August, Jenny Q. Ta, founder of the blockchain-based social media platform CoinLinked, noticed that NFTs could be the missing link in the search for the deintermediation of the Internet. Ta said NFTs will make content ownership easier on Web 3.0 and create an entirely new virtual economy.
Ta’s CoinLinked was recently acquired by the HODL Assets NFT aggregator platform. After the acquisition, HODL Assets plans to launch its NFT marketplace service, which also combines e-commerce and social media functions.