NFTs have become a major buzzword and expanded outside of the crypto and tech space to become mainstream since Beeple’s $69.3 million art sale in March.
This article will explore some tailored trends in the fascinating world of NFTs for a glimpse of how it continues to grow to achieve widespread adoption in various industries, so get ready for a non-fungible experience.
Let’s get right into it!
What are NFTs
NFTs or non-fungible tokens are digital certificates of ownership on a blockchain — NFTs are not cryptocurrencies, cryptos are fungible as they can be exchanged with each other but an NFT has a unique value and no two NFTs are the same.
According to Merriam Webster, an NFT is a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, recorded in a blockchain, and used to certify authenticity and ownership (as of a specific digital asset and specific rights relating to it).
NFTs could represent any type of digital format such as GIF, JPEG, MP3 and can be bought with cryptocurrencies.
The most popular NFTs are on the Ethereum blockchain although other blockchains can have NFTs, so far Ethereum has been the most popular NFT platform but blockchains like Flow, Binance smart chain, Solana, Polygon, and even Cardano have unique opportunities to be efficient with NFTs.
Non-Fungible tokens blew up in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic but it blew up even further in 2021 — in 2020, the total NFT sale volume was $250 million, by the first quarter of 2021 that number became $2 billion.
According to Cloudward, the first quarter of 2021 saw a total of $2 billion in NFT sales, this is over 131 times the sales value in the first quarter of 2020, and as NFTs continues to grow, it only attracts more buyers — so it could continue to become worth even more in the future.
There’s a lot of exciting things happening in the NFT space, some people believe NFTs are helping onboard more people to the crypto side of life more than anything else.
10 Trends in the world of Non-Fungible Tokens
The 10 exciting trends in the world of NFTs are:
- Merriam Webster NFT,
- Tim Berner's Lee source code,
- Spores Multichain NFT Marketplace,
- Real Fevr Football NFT Marketplace,
- Cardano Unsigned Algorithms,
- Twitter releases NFTs,
- OpenSea Becomes a Unicorn,
- Coca-Cola launching NFTs,
- Jay-Z joins the NFT Wave,
- Cryptopunk Record-Breaking Sale
Merriam Webster NFT
Remember the definition of NFTs from Merriam Webster I quoted earlier? Well, that definition was auctioned and sold on popular NFT marketplace Opensea for 14 Eth, at the time of writing this, the equivalent of $39,728,57 — the proceeds went to Teach for All, an international network for improving and expanding access to education.
Words belong to everyone, NFT similarly isn’t limited to use by currency traders but is in the New York Times and Huffington Post — places where a general readership is encountering this term. — Peter Sokolowski (editor at large Merriem Webster)
According to a report by Gizmodo, the editor at large at Merriam Webster made some comments about the decision to add NFTs to the dictionary — apparently, the decision was not uncontroversial, but made because NFTs are here to stay and people universally agree on its definition.
Tim Berners Lee’s Source Code
The inventor of the world wide web, the one you’re on right now — Sir Tim Berners Lee recently sold lines of code from the source code that made the world wide web in 1989 as a non-fungible token at Sotheby’s auction for $5,434,500.
In an interview with The Guardian, Berners Lee said “This is totally aligned with the values of the web … I’m selling a picture that I made, with a Python program that I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it was stuck on the wall and signed by me.”
The NFT contains about 10,000 lines of the source code that initially made it possible to display an HTML document, a 30-minute visualization of the code, a digital poster of the code, and a digital letter by Sir Tim Berners Lee written in June 2021 reflecting on what he invented.
Spores Multichain NFT Marketplace
The Spores network is a full-stack decentralized cross-chain NFT marketplace with interoperability and Defi functionalities — traditional NFT marketplaces are ethereum compliant and this can be limiting, the Spores marketplace seeks to bridge multiple blockchains so the transfer and utility of non-fungible tokens can be more efficient.
The Asian NFT platform founded by Eric Hung Nguyen and Duc Luu recently raised $2.3 million to build a full-stack interoperable NFT platform that bridges the sale and transfer of non-fungible tokens between major blockchains like Cardano, Binance Smart Chain, Polkadot, Solana, and Ethereum.
With Defi functionalities, users of the platform can lock their NFTs in liquidity pools and get rewards for it and get access to defi borrowing and lending with NFTS as collaterals.
Real Fevr Football NFT Marketplace
Real Fevr is a Portuguese tech startup that started as a fantasy football platform in 2015, with more than 2.5M downloads, it has 10 national leagues, 3 international club competitions, and team competitions from Europe’s top 5 leagues — the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
With success in the fantasy gaming space, the company pivoted to bring its users into the world of non-fungible tokens as the first-ever NFT marketplace for enthusiasts of the beautiful game to buy videos of their favorite footballing moments and of their favorite players — the football version of NBA Top Shot built on the Binance smart chain with its own official $FEVR Token.
The company was founded by Fred Antunes, who is also president of the Portuguese Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Association, and Andre Viana, chief operating officer of a top marketing agency in Porto — Realfevr is still in beta but they believe that NFTs backed by intellectual property will continue to remain attractive and with real intrinsic value in the future.
Fundamentally, RealFevr aims at completely disrupting the NFT ecosystem by combining blockchain’s decentralization, with the uniqueness of video collectibles that empower gamers, providing utility to each moment and gamification of the experience through fantasy token leagues.
The brand recently signed the Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes as one of its ambassadors and is set to launch an epic goal from his Sporting CP days as a rare one-of-one NFT on the marketplace.
Cardano Unsigned Algorithms
Unsigned algorithms or unsigs as they are also called are the first algorithmically generated art project on Cardano blockchain — unlike ERC-721 standard NFTs that are created off-chain and stored on the blockchain, what unsigs is doing is actually minting code which generates art onto the blockchain using advanced mathematical algorithms.
These aesthetically pleasing geometric NFTs were created by Alexander Watanabe, a lover of geometry and parametric design working to solve industry problems with AI/ML, and Patrick Tobler, a student of computer science from Germany who created the first NFT platform on Cardano (NFT-maker.io).
The entire unsig collection includes 31,119 pieces. Each piece is unique and was generated using advanced Python programming algorithms — the project aims to allow art to integrate with the blockchain, instead of treating the chain as a dropbox or google drive.
The unsig NFTs can be purchased using dedicated Cardano wallets like Daedalus or Yoroi and can be stored directly into these wallets, funds sent from an exchange (Coinbase, Binance), etc will result in your NFT being lost/eaten by the exchange.
Twitter releases NFTs
Twitter recently dropped 140 limited rare-form NFTs to users of its platform for free via NFT marketplace Rarible — According to the Entrepreneur, these pieces have everything to do with Twitter, from its first logo to the nod to the character limit. The platform gave people the opportunity to receive pieces that uniquely represent the brand.
I reached out to one of the recipients of Twitter’s NFT giveaway and here is what John Pistotti had to say “ honestly I have been really skeptical about NFTs for a while, but when I responded to Twitter’s tweet and they sent me the Rare Form NFT from the 140 Collection, it made me really examine the space” — Remember when I said NFTs were onboarding people into the crypto side of life than anything else?
John continued “There are a lot of fascinating projects and artists are taking direct ownership of their work in exciting new ways… These kinds of innovations are bigger than the short-term hype. I put mine up for sale for 500 ETH (~$1M) to make a statement that I think these things could be extremely valuable in the future.”
OpenSea Becomes a Unicorn!
NFT marketplace giant Opensea recently raised $100 million in its series B round led by VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, and has become the latest unicorn in the crypto-verse — the New York-based company is now valued at $1.5 billion.
In addition to Andreeson Horowitz (A16Z), other notable investors participated in the raise, Kevin Durant, Michael Ovitz, Ashton Kutcher, Shopify’s CEO, and Tobi Lutke.
Open sea also announced it's now a cross-chain platform — originally it used to only support NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain but it's now expanding to support other blockchains like Klatyn and Polygon which allows the platform to become gas-free and support creators to fully earn their way into crypto for the first time.
As NFTs enter mainstream awareness, the marketplaces housing them are also evolving, and the massive size of Opensea’s series b round is a testament that NFTs have a long and bright future.
Coca-Cola launching NFTs
For International Friendship Day 2021, Coca-cola is set to launch its first-ever NFT collection, four unique Coca-Cola NFTs will be up for auction via popular marketplace OpenSea.
The collection includes a friendship box that reveals a coke vending machine upon opening, a coca-cola bubble jacket that can be worn in Decentraland 3D virtual reality platform, a sound visualizer ( the sound of the bottle opening and sound of the drink being poured over ice, to the “ahhh” that accompanies that first sip), and a friendship card that is inspired by Coca-cola trading cards from the 1990s.
According to Coca-cola, the winning bidder will also receive a refrigerator in real life, fully stocked with ice-cold coke to share with friends — proceeds from the auction will go to Special Olympics International, a non-profit sports organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
The Coca-cola brand has played an active role in defining pop culture over the years, so it’s no surprise to see the brand making its way into the exciting world of NFTs and the metaverse.
Jay-Z joins the NFT Wave
Music industry mogul and veteran rapper Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z, has officially joined the NFT train, a train that looks unstoppable right now —he recently purchased an NFT, a Cryptopunk, and it was reportedly bought in April for 55 ETH, worth $126,000 in fiat, the rapper recently changed his Twitter Avatar to the Cryptopunk NFT as a hint to fans that he was now a part of the crypto-sphere.
Jay Z also auctioned a one-of-one NFT to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his album Reasonable Doubt at an auction in collaboration with Sotheby’s for $139,000 — according to the auction house, the NFT created by artist Derrick Adams aimed to reinterpret and recontextualize the album cover to create a new contemporary take on a portrait that defined an era — as a comment and reminder that Reasonable Doubt remains vital and new today.
Cryptopunk Record-Breaking Sale
Larva Labs, CryptoPunk #7523
Sotheby’s partnered up, auctioned, and sold a masked CryptoPunk known as Covid Alien #7523 for $11.8 million in June, according to New York Post, the punk was bought by Israeli entrepreneur Shalom Mackenzie, the largest shareholder of digital sports company DraftKings.
This sale was the most expensive sale for any crypto punk although some punks have been selling for really fine prices, punk #3100 sold in April for 4,200 Eth, worth $7.58 million at the time of sale — on the same day, Dylan Field CEO of software startup Figma also sold punk #7804 for the same price after buying it for 12 eth in Hmmm 2018 ($14,988 at the time).
Exciting things are happening in the world of NFTs, and each project milestone is a step closer for the technology to gain widespread adoption across various industries and for different use cases.
We have explored 10 trends that highlight the diverse and unique functionalities and growth of NFTs and their underlying blockchain technology — from independent creators, to inventors, to venture capital, and big corporations, NFTs have continued to show their potential to become the social value layer of the internet.
While some people have called the technology a scam, others have likened the NFT explosion to the dot-com bubble of the 1990s — according to entrepreneur, speaker, and NFT enthusiast Gary Vaynerchuk, “a lot of people talked about the internet being a fad… in reality, the internet was this game-changing revolution of technology but a lot of the early projects were just overpriced on the excitement.”
NFTs like other blockchain-related activities are still in their very early days but statistics and trends show that non-fungible tokens are indeed a game-changing revolution of technology and like the internet, it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
This article was written by TK Princewill, a freelance tech writer who writes at the intersection of marketing, the creator economy and emerging technologies. When he isn't writing or thinking, he is building a community of blockchain enthusiast.