Guess what the Collins Dictionary word of the year 2021 is? NFT -- the abbreviation of ‘non-fungible token’, defined by the dictionary as a digital certificate of ownership of a unique asset such as an artwork or a collectible. NFTs were among the most searched terms of the year in 2021, beating Dogecoin, blockchain and even Ethereum in Google searches.
As per an NFT industry report by market tracker DappRadar, in 2021, the NFT space generated over $23 billion in trading volume. Little wonder then that NFTs have made a mark, but what’s more is that they are just getting started.
2021 will be remembered as the year that introduced NFTs to the masses. Despite being conceived in 2014, NFTs didn’t begin to leave a visible footprint until this year. “During the first six months of 2021, the NFT space generated a record $2.5 billion in trades, smashing the figures previously seen in the space. However, everything changed in Q3. After months of seeing projects with a strong community, teams, and utility factors consolidate to blue-chip status, the NFT market exploded with $10.7 billion in trades during the period. Projects like Art Blocks, CyberKongz, Loot, and Cool Cats, created an enticing market,” says the report.
NFTs suddenly became the buzzword when in March, Christie’s sold an NFT called ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ by digital artist Beeple for $69 million. That’s when the world woke up and took notice.
Over the course of the year, they have transformed art, music and sports, enabling monetisation of digital assets. They have gained popularity both among global and Indian icons. While globally celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Snoop Dogg, have given fans a chance to interact with them through their NFTs, in India everyone from Bollywood stars such as Amitabh Bachhan to cricketers like Yuvraj Singh have jumped on to the NFT bandwagon.
In November, Big B’s NFT collection was sold for nearly a million dollars -- $966,000 to be precise (approximately Rs 7.18 crore). The highlight was the Madhushala NFT collection – his father’s famous poem recorded in the superstar’s own voice which sold for $756,000 (Rs 5.5 crore). There were also seven autographed posters from films such as Sholay which were sold for $94,000. BigB Punks and NFT Arts were sold for $66,000.
The auction was hosted by BeyondLife.club, powered by Guardian Link. The NFT collection was based on Guardian’s one of a kind anti-RIP NFT technology. The technology prevents the NFT from being copied - thereby, protecting the exclusive rights of its owner which is currently a challenge in the NFT landscape.
“As the NFT trend continues to take shape in India, Bollywood celebrities, artists and musicians alike are dipping their hands into this ever-growing NFT bandwagon. The lure for the B-town celebrities is that it offers them a new avenue to engage with their audience through a creative digital medium,” says Ramkumar Subramaniam, Co-Founder & CEO, GuardianLink.io.
If 2021 was the year when the broader public started paying attention to NFTs, in 2022 NFTs will be even harder to ignore as they move from celebrities to brands. Already mainstream adoption is happening with some of the world’s biggest brands, including Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Nike having entered the NFT space. Adidas latest marketing campaign included partnering with NFT communities and figureheads. NFTs are becoming a new way to connect with fans and brand loyalists.
Another trend is offering a physical item or experience to the fans along with the NFT. For instance, the person who bought the Madhushala NFT also availed a meet-and-greet with Bachchan. Similarly, BeyondLife currently has an auction of collectible NFTs inspired by Stan Lee’s first international superhero creations—Chakra the Invincible. The highlight is a birthday NFT (it dropped yesterday on Stan Lee’s 99th birth anniversary) where minimum bid price is $30,000. The winner will not only get the digital assets but also its physical collectibles including the original story treatment of Chakra the Invincible.
“The blockchain industry is set to change the world sooner or later and given the pace at which the industry has taken shape in the past two years, we are very hopeful that 2022 will be a year for NFTs. While we are at the stage of “early adopters” of the growing NFT craze, we will surely witness a peak market growth for NFTs across all sectors. We are soon going to witness how the presence in metaverse will become mandatory if you want to reach out to a larger audience that is interested in the virtual world,” says Subramaniam.
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