Earlier this summer, CNN and The New York Times warned that the non-fungible token (NFT) bubble, fueled by hype about attractive digital art values and the interest of collectors, may already burst.
As the sixth employee at a social media startup called Wildfire, which was acquired by Google in 2012, I’m aware of skeptics and precautions when it comes to new and emerging technologies. Based on my experience with entertainment, licensing and blockchain technology, I would argue that if the so-called NFT bubble bursts, it could be a positive thing for the future of the industry. The industry is so nascent that we are now first hit.
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NFT: industry to study
Public interest is always shifting from one direction to the other, so the natural rise in popularity of NFT we’ve seen will eventually subside. This gives us a great opportunity in the industry to explore the many doors that NFT will open for creators, intellectual property owners and consumers.
For brands looking to grow and reach new target groups, NFTs have become a good marketing channel. As NFTs gain more acceptance than the first wave, content creators will have the opportunity to reach more and more users. Platforms like Telegram, Twitch, and Discord have already proven many ways to build and grow a fan base. Imagine what a strong NFT market will bring to this growing movement.
As digital certificates of authority, NFTs can act as custodians of intellectual property rights. The NFT site will eventually look like a music publishing model, where music publishers and songwriters collect copyright catalogs that provide a steady stream of royalties in perpetuity and determine long-term rating. The creation of a management platform that enables IP owners to manage NFT transactions (such as business intelligence, analytics, and CRM functions) is just around the corner.
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NFTs also act as digital passports, completely redefining the fan experience and reimagining the idea of a fan club for artists, brands and intellectual property owners. With the whole world opening up after the COVID-19 pandemic, fans will use the NFT Wallet to receive behind-the-scenes deals, VIP experiences, private encounters and greetings. Given that digital assets such as tangible goods are based on the economic principles of supply and demand, scarcity will add value and increase the number of consumers and digital natives striving to enter the first tier. In addition, affinity-based NFTs will drive development both online and offline.
NFT: In perspective
The future of NFT is becoming more promising as we continue to think of fans and consumers in the industry. We need to shift the focus of the media and consumers away from the initial six- or seven-figure sales to creating real value by adding real value to the NFT. We need to focus on building smart and strategic NFT clusters (as opposed to disposable drops) that add value over time as the NFT benefit gained becomes more visible to the masses.
The industry is rapidly evolving from what I consider NFT 1.0 – NFT as digital holdings – to NFT 2.0 – NFT as narrative tools. Projects like Stoner Cats are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using NFTs as access tokens to watch exclusive video content. I am most pleased that NFTs as a medium for storytelling, where NFTs are powered by deep gamification strategies and community groups, have become important components of the cross-platform storytelling experience.
At Wildfire, we’ve always known that the tide lifts all boats. We have gone to great lengths to promote not only our company, but the entire social media marketing category. I also feel for the nascent NFT industry. Most importantly, NFT companies must remain focused on fans and consumers at all times, lest we become an industry mired in misunderstanding of money and myopia.
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The NFT-er will become a permanent passport and gateway to the masses, opening up unique opportunities – both online and offline. This will happen as NFTs get smarter, more strategic, and more playful.