NFT Boom! The Hype, The What, The How and Why?
By now you have seen or heard the buzz around digital Art selling for Millions of Dollars online. Reaching record numbers, it is now getting the attention of top Influencers, Brands and the Big Corps.
I’m gonna give the scoop into the world of Crypto Art and NFTs.
In 2017 while working in London for a Blockchain startup, designing mobile crypto wallet. I stumbled across something that immediately grabbed my attention.
All hail the CryptoKitty!
The start of this booming new industry!
After spending some time learning about the Blockchain and coming from a background in gaming. I knew exactly what I was looking at when when I saw this for the first time, the next big thing…
✨ The NFT ✨
Before I jump into this story a bit of my background.
As I mentioned, I come from building gaming and mobile app UX/UI and development. Shortly after college, I worked for the gaming giant Zynga in SF. We focussed on creating Invest-Express games with collection mechanics using virtual currencies like coins and gems.
This inspired me to start launching my own mobile apps. And with my love of Art and experience with monetization mechanics, I stumbled upon something great…
Now this was back in 2012, we didn’t have face filters and emojis like they exist in the apps today. Snapchat wasn’t even a thing yet.
The concept was simple, allow users to slap stickers onto their photos. This combined with social apps like IG, my Art was instantly distributed by the Millions 🤯.
Littering just about everyones feed, my inbox was full of Agencies, Brands and Big Corps looking to get into the action. They wanted custom apps, so I landed license deals with Fox, Universal, Def-Jam, and even ol’ Uncle Snoop!
For the almost 10 years now, I’ve seen these patterns of growth with new tech and forms of visual content. My experience with digital and virtual goods goes deep… real deep.
So what’s so special about NFTs and why all the hype?
Fast forward to the present, with the rise of Bitcoin and other crypto coins, there’s a hot digital item getting a ton of attention. The Non-Fungible Token.
If you haven’t already read one of the many “Beginners Guide to NFTs”, I’ll explain.
🐱 Above I brought up the CryptoKitty, well that kitty isn’t just another static image on the internet. It is a procedurally generated image based on genetics information and properties. When created all of this info is stored onto the Blockchain.This is called ‘Minting’ and is the birth of that individual Kitty, which becomes a Crypto Token.
This type of Crypto Token is known as an NFT - (Non-Fungible Token). Because it has unique identity data which other ‘Kitty Tokens’ might not have, thus identifiable. Best Example would be a Blue Kitty vs Green Kitty, Two different NFTs each a Kitty, but different colors.
This Token created The NFT Revolution!
Using ETH to Mint, Modify, and Sell NFTs is done with The Ethereum Blockchain. And there’s now even different Blockchains built specifically for these Types of Tokens, that offer all kinds of new capabilities and features.
To create, sell, and buy these NFTs you need a Crypto Token Wallet.
This requires a Web3 Wallet by using a Browser Extensions or even Mobile Apps. A few new technologies are now allowing for Debit payments to handle all of this on behalf of the user, holding your NFTs for you.
Not to be confused with the fake wallets you get using Coinbase Exchange, Paypal, or Robinhood…. Those won’t work!
If it asks have to write down 12 words to get started, it’s probably the right type of wallet.
So what do you actually do with these NFTs?
Users purchase NFTs listed for sale or available for auction on a ‘Marketplace’ or custom designed experience like a Game or Storefront.
When the purchase confirms, the Blockchain transfers that “NFT Token” from the seller to the buyer possession. Moving it into the their wallet and making them the New /Current Owner. ✨ Its magical!
This is a huge deal because optionally the owner can put it up for sale by listing it on a Marketplace. Generating returns on items that have now become investments. This makes limited and rare NFTs even more enticing.
IMO: This is the real reason the industry is booming, becoming a game changer for digital and virtual goods.
The Artist Market frenzy!
Most notably in the NFT boom is the ability for Artists to mint NFTs using their created Artwork. And it’s been a huge success with sale values, reaching record highs almost every week.
Built using specific Blockchains, small and large teams have created these Creator Marketplaces platforms. Introducing a new way For Artist to make money!
NFTs are turning Digital Artist into Millionaires overnight!
A majority of the top earning Marketplaces for Art are tightly curated. Which require you to be approved based on your notability. This is done by submitting an application which is vetted by the platform.
Here’s a few of the most popular ones:
Using some of these curated platforms, new and well established Artist are being on boarded almost every day.
And now Celebrities and Influencers are joining the fun!
YouTuber Logan Paul has even jumped into the mix, selling a terribly illustrated Pokémon card of himself.
Not to forget about Musicians like Rac, Deadmau5, and others who have been minting and selling since this all started. Even that digital influencer that gained massive popularity on Instagram, she sold a Selfie.
This new flood of Famous creators is gaining a ton of industry press and the interest and eyes of bigger IP.
🧐 I’m having flashbacks of the Sticker Apps I built at the height of the Apple Appstore.
Some companies have built ways for everyone to have access to this technology.
Free and Open Marketplaces!
Now anyone can join, create, buy, and sell without the need of approval.
Some Creators are even launching their own mini brands, selling animated collectible IP that they have a little bit more control of. My favorites at the moment TwerkyPepe. 😂
Top Open Marketplaces on Ethereum:
Some even offer you the ability to create custom NFTs you can build your own products around, using APIs and SDKs. Allowing developers to make games or artist make own playing cards. Awesome!
With the ability to display different types of NFTs.
These allow you to import items that you’ve collected from other platforms and create new ones as well. Now you can have a hub for all of your collectibles, maintaining the ability to interact like buying or selling. One of these being OpenSea, an open secondary marketplace..
I recently sent out a Tweet asking other NFT users for their top recommendations for these open platforms:
I got a bunch of responses, with platforms on Blockchains Some that I’ve never even heard of before.
The list goes on and on…
So Who da heck is buying all of these NFTs?
This ranges anywhere from Passionate Collectors, Fellow Artists, NFT Enthusiasts, Flippers, and The Infamous Whale.
- Art Collectors: who truly enjoy the Art and Artists they invest in. With regular purchasing of new created works.
- Crypto Artists: paying it back by supporting fellow Artists on their personal wins from sales.
* This in my opinion is important to keep a healthy balance within the space.
- NFT Enthusiasts: ‘gotta catch em all’ type consumers. Obsessed with rarity tiered goods and limited quantity drops.
- Flippers: making serious gains by purchasing NFTs they can resell on the Secondary Markets.
- The Infamous Whale: targeting specific artists and dropping bags on each purchase.
Most of the NFT action all goes down on Twitter and Discord.
Marketplaces use this as an advertisement channel for announcing new and exciting Artist. Artists and Collectors in dedicated and massive communities, congregate together in Discord and Telegram communities.
And if you’re looking to get into NFTs, Twitter is to you start! 👍
What do I think happens next?
I see now being the rush for new users to join and start selling as fast as possible. I believe this will include more and more artists, brands, and personalities joining in.
We’ll also keep seeing record sales as crypto continues to pump. And because overall the entire thing is super addictive!
… But I’m skeptical on the Curated Marketplace model.
With the success of NBA Topshot
by DapperLabs… my previous employer (2018–2020).
I see large Brand IP or even Bigger Artists moving to their own contained NFT experiences and Marketplaces. Potentially still compatible on Open Marketplaces, but controlled by the Owner of the IP.
Currently when you create a piece of Art on a Marketplace like NIFTYgateway, you create a NIFTYgateway NFT…
Is that NFT you created yours, or did you create their NFT using your Art with a sort of License?
This will matter in the future as the space continues to grow. Especially for Corps and Brands. And more interestingly I imagine it will happen on new or independently owned Blockchains. Which will be even more exciting when the time comes.
Time will tell it’s moving so fast, might be sooner than later!