Easily the buzzword of 2021 and 2022, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have stormed their way into almost every aspect of the metaverse and the world of cryptocurrencies. Redefining the concept of assets and investments, the NFT market is a booming one that goes into billions of dollars. Additionally, the wide-ranging concepts of these tokens pique the interests of collectors as well as creators who are keen on buying different types of NFTs.
Earlier, making a copy of any artwork available on the web was a cakewalk. But with the introduction of blockchain technology, the scenario has changed. The blockchain network gives NFTs their authenticity certification, making them rare and exclusive. They can be traded but not duplicated.
Owing to their exclusivity, the craze of NFTs is such that several celebrities have entered the metaverse and made a mark. For instance, Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan have launched their NFT collections, while artists like Beeple and PAK have sold their NFT artworks for millions. Meanwhile, the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunk NFTs are collectables that the likes of Justin Bieber and Jimmy Fallon own. Additionally, to cater to audiences looking for specific digital art and digital assets, there are dedicated NFT marketplaces, too.
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Decentraland made history with the world’s first Metaverse Fashion Week, held from 24 to 27 March 2022. With brands like Estée Lauder, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana and Selfridges, collectors huddled to lay their hands on exclusive NFT designer wear.
A Gucci bag in Roblox resold for 350,000 Robux or roughly $4,115. The same purse IRL costs $3,400.
Remember: this Roblox purse is not an NFT and thus has no value/use/transferability outside the Roblox world-yet it’s worth more than the physical one.
Watch this space. pic.twitter.com/m4WjfC1Eq1
— Alexis Ohanian 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) May 24, 2021
However, fashion brands entering the NFT market is not new. Gucci sold a digital version of its iconic Dionysus bag for USD 4,115 or 350,000 Robux on the gaming platform Roblox on 17 May 2021. The in-game accessory earned USD 800 more than its physical equivalent.
Sportswear brand Nike, too, forayed into NFT fashion by acquiring digital sneakers company RTFKT in December 2021. Other labels like Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Balenciaga have also made their mark in the NFT space.
NFTs based on films or those launched by eminent actors have also added to this trend.
For instance, a rendition of Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poem, Madhushala, was recorded in his son Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone and sold as NFTs in November 2021. The collection also included autographed posters of Sholay and other memorabilia. The sale took place on BeyondLife.club marketplace and fetched around Rs 7.18 crore.
Feeling bullish yet?😉
Heres a teaser for our upcoming PFP NFT collection!
This collection will give holders regular airdrops of official #Dabangg wearables that you can rock in your favourite #metaverse, access to virtual events, celebrity interactions, games & more
Stay tuned🚀 pic.twitter.com/eI8LgaqQ97
— BollyCoin (@bollycoin) March 31, 2022
Meanwhile, actor Salman Khan launched a set of NFTs related to the Dabangg franchise on the Bollywood-based marketplace BollyCoin. Recently, the platform announced its plans to launch a series of NFTs based on Salman Khan’s Dabangg character Chulbul Pandey that will give holders exclusive access to Bollywood metaverse events, increasing the utility of these NFTs.
Actress Sunny Leone became the first woman from the film industry to step into the NFT space with Misfitz by Sunny Leone, comprising a series of bold and quirky NFTs.
South Indian superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, too, have their own collection of NFTs which have sold for crores.
Acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino too announced his NFT collection titled Tarantino NFT is a collection of seven NFTs based on his iconic 1994 film Pulp Fiction. Created in collaboration with SCRT Labs, they feature original handwritten screenplays broken into several scenes and also have Tarantino’s audio commentary clips. The first of the lot sold for USD 1.1million but the sale of the rest are put on hold due to a lawsuit filed by the film’s production house Miramax who claims intellectual property rights over them.
There was a time when people marvelled at owning vinyl records of legendary singers and evergreen songs. Today, these real-world assets have their digital counterparts as NFTs.
Recently 12-time Grammy-winning singer John Legend announced the launch of his music and social NFT platform called OurSong. Branded as a ‘social commerce platform,’ it will enable creators to easily make NFTs called ‘Vibes’. What sets it apart from the other platforms? Collectors don’t need cryptocurrencies to buy NFTs here and can deal directly in USD. The app allows collectors to bid on ‘Vibes’ using USD which is then converted to Ether and exchanged for an ERC20 token by OurSong. This makes the process quite smooth and easy for those not quite familiar with crypto trading.
Many other artists have sold their albums as music NFTs to garner maximum audience in the digital space. For instance, Kings of Leon’s album When You See Yourself was sold as multiple NFTs in March 2021. Meanwhile, Grimes and Nas have released NFT versions of their tracks. Canadian singer Bryan Adams’ “Heat of the Night” also exists as an NFT on OpenSea.
Additionally, dedicated marketplaces like Airnft help musicians and budding artists to create and tokenise their music. This form of NFT art can be traded using cryptocurrencies and stored in crypto wallets. American musician Justin Blau, aka 3LAU, took to this trend quite early. In February 2021, he sold a collection of 33 NFTs titled Ultraviolet reportedly earning USD 11.7 million.
NFT games make up a major category in this digital sphere and have garnered a lot of attention. Video-game fanatics go to lengths to buy in-game assets for the maximum gaming experience. This led video game makers to use blockchain technology to develop and sell NFTs in the gaming domain.
The play-and-earn gaming system is a classic example. Game developers have been making gaming commodities, like digital collectables, gaming avatars and playing tokens, in the form of NFTs. Players can trade these outside a game in an open market and earn back what they have spent.
Axie Infinity is a leading name in this field. It was the first video game to incorporate NFTs in the form of gaming characters called Axies. Players use cryptocurrency Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) to trade. Several other NFT projects followed this idea, including CryptoKitties, Gods Unchained and Sorare.
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Interestingly, Louis Vuitton also has an NFT-based game called LOUIS THE GAME, which traces the brand’s journey through various galaxies.
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Digital marketplaces provide a platform for budding, as well as renowned artists, to showcase their artworks for sale while collectors get exclusive access and ownership of them.
This led to the rise of some of the most popular digital artists like PAK and Beeple. PAK broke the record of ‘The First 5000 Days’ by artist Beeple which earned a staggering USD 69.3 million in March 2021 in an auction by Christie’s. PAK sold 2,66,445 NFTs for a total of USD 91.8 million. The sale was held through Nifty Gallery and saw a new technology whereby when a collector bought a considerable number of NFTs, the tokens merged together in their crypto wallet to give rise to new NFTs that cannot be found elsewhere.
Other noted digital artists include MATTDESL, XCOPY, HACKATAO and FEWOCIOUS who have huge Instagram and Twitter followings and NFT collections that score thousands of dollars in sales.
Additionally, the mention of artwork collections like Lava Lab’s CryptoPunks, Yuga Lab’s Bored Yacht Club (BAYC) and American generative artist Tyler Hobbses’ Fedenzas is inevitable when we talk about NFT artworks.
While CryptoPunks introduced the league of image NFTs that were used as proud display pictures by owners on their social media accounts, BAYC ushered in the whimsical concept of creating apes with unique attributes. The more unique traits they have, the higher will be their value. An offshoot of BAYC is Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC), formed when a Bored Ape is exposed to mutating serums.
In September 2021, a former BAYC artist launched the Sneaky Vampires Syndicate. At the time of writing, they had three collections, namely Sneaky Vampires, Sneaky Bats and Sneaky Vampiresses.
Sports-themed NFTs are one of the highest-grossing categories drawing attention from sports enthusiasts as well as tech junkies.
Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot is an NFT marketplace built in association with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and lists some of the most iconic basketball moments of all time. Every video clip featured here is also an NFT on Dapper’s own blockchain called Flow.
One of the most expensive NFTs ever sold in the sports category is the LeBron James Dunk Throwdowns (Series), which cost about USD 380,000.
Another type of NFT is the collectables. Since innovation is the only constant in the crypto world, it won’t be wrong to say that a new day ushers in a new idea for the NFT space. One such example is NFT tickets. They can be minted on blockchains and event organisers can auction them to create a sense of exclusivity. Later, they can be resold as collectables.
Other instances include rare digital trading cards and limited editions by celebrities or brands that create major hype. When Twitter creator Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet as an NFT for USD 2.9 million, it became one of the most renowned collectables.
Lands for sale in metaverse
Today one can buy plots of land, houses and even yachts in the metaverse.
In 2021, a noted transaction took place in the metaverse when a plot of real estate land was sold in the 3-D virtual world Decentraland for a record USD 2.4 million (approximately Rs 17 crore) worth of cryptocurrency.
Bridging the gap between the real and virtual, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington sold his Kyiv apartment for over USD 93,000 via the real estate platform Propy in 2017, using Ethereum and smart contracts to close the deal. At the time, the collection included the ownership deed, the apartment picture and a unique NFT artwork by Kyiv-based artist Chizz. A smart contract is a programming in the Blockchain that stores all transaction information related to the NFT and once the deal is done, it can be accessed by the owner. The smart contract is transparent and cannot be altered.
For many, buying and selling real estate property can be a tedious process involving ceaseless paperwork. If such assets can be turned into NFTs and involve blockchain to transfer the ownership certification, the entire process would become rather simple and decentralised.
In this regard, a lot of regulations and governance would have to be involved. Whether it can be at all turned into a reality, only time can say.
Hero and feature image: Courtesy Andrey Metelev/ @metelevan/ Unsplash
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India