Last year, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) made their name in the public consciousness with their explosion into the art scene. No one can forget the record-breaking Beeple sale at Christie’s, an NFT equivalent of the face that launched a thousand ships. The deal has spawned endless dialogue surrounding the value of these vanguard digital artworks and opened up new ideas for using NFTs in the future.
For anyone that might think of NFTs as a flash in the pan, market growth suggests anything but that. Sales for NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain (the main blockchain used for minting NFTs) were nearly $64 million in April 2021, according to Statista. Just like cryptocurrencies, there hasn't been a straightforward growth line. Total sales for NFTs from January to February 2022 reached almost $87 million with some forecasting an industry worth over $80 billion by 2025.
But is the bright future of NFTs down to art only? Hardly. With the potential to become hallmarks for ownership making them versatile across industries, we’ll see more innovative applications of NFTs in the future. 🙃 Such as…
After the first NFT was created in 2014, it wasn’t until 2017 that CryptoKitties launched and was the first blockchain game where users could breed, collect, and sell digital cats. Cut to 2022, and the possibilities for NFTs in gaming have exploded. Play-to-Earn (P2E) models in pioneering blockchain games such as Axie Infinity are an opportunity for gamers to earn money from their passion.
Whether you think the future will be a digital world or not, metaverses such as Decentraland and The Sandbox are already offering virtual worlds to use NFTs. Facebook’s rebrand to Meta back in October 2021 only added fuel to the metaverse fire of people talking about the accelerated digital transformation of life and work. As multiple metaverses continue to emerge, NFTs will be central to how we design and own our digital identities.
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All-stars such as Stephen Curry and Serena Williams have joined the Bored Ape Yacht Club, while other sports stars like Tyson Fury and Tony Hawk have released their own NFTs. Fan tokens have also been hot on the agenda for sports clubs. European soccer club FC Barcelona is one example of a club offering token-holding fans the power to influence decisions and VIP access amongst other perks.
4. Real Estate
Gone are the days when you might buy a house and receive metal keys and a piece of paper to prove your ownership. Now you’re more likely to receive a plastic key card and code, and soon NFTs might replace that too. TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington has already taken it past this point and legally listed his entire property as an NFT—not just the deed to the house.
5. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) & Financial Technology (FinTech)
FinTech has been busy disrupting the traditional banking space since the 2008 global crash. Now, NFTs and DeFi have arrived to shake up the banking industry even more. NFTs are used like receipts as proof of purchase and like tokens to prove ownership and can be written into smart contracts to unlock the vast potential for connecting DeFi to real-world assets.
Healthcare data is a big topic for the future of NFTs. From tracking DNA records to tokenized blood donations, NFTs are already transforming the industry and could even see people make money from transactions that include their healthcare data.
Industries are often disrupted, especially when developments in technology occur, and NFTs are proving no exception. These digital assets might have started as humble JPEGs, but their future seems destined for new and exciting ways we might not even be able to imagine yet.
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