Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are no secret that they are still a fringe topic. Despite their meteoric rise in popularity in 2021, a sizable portion of the population remains unaware of what an NFT is. Looking at the graph below, it’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done before NFTs become widespread.
However, recent months have shown that this is a possibility, and there have been numerous signals of awareness and adoption, which we shall explain.
Celebrities have played an important role in the growth of NFTs. Initially, the NFT space was populated by artists, creators, and traders, all of whom laid the groundwork for what is now the NFT space. Since then, a number of important figures have entered the sector, either through their own efforts or simply through collecting. The current surge of celebrities has been incredibly beneficial in terms of broadening the reach of NFTs, but in the NFT market, everyone starts from scratch, and value does not come from influence. Many celebrities who created NFT collections without thinking about the long term have had their NFTs lose value, supporting this thesis.
There is a distinction to be made between those who have added value to the space and those who have sought to profit from it. Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Brady, Paris Hilton, Post Malone, The Weeknd, Stephen Curry, Lil Baby, Timbaland, and DJ Khaled are just a few examples. They’re all celebrities who have purchased items from the collections and used them as profile pictures.
These celebrities have undoubtedly aided in the growth of the NFT sector, and as the number of celebrities in the space grows, there is no doubt that their influence will aid in the mainstreaming of crypto culture. But, most crucially, they are joining us, not altering the dynamics or establishing the rules. The NFT area is a communal effort, and we’re all working together to create value.
The Adidas collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gmoney, and PUNKS Comics is maybe the most significant mainstream bridge to date. Adidas introduced a new Twitter account, Adidas Originals, alongside these new partners to announce their goals, which shocked the NFT world with excitement.
They disclosed a number of major things in this space, including their plans to enter the Metaverse, a digital realm where users would be able to engage virtually in the future. To demonstrate their point, they published a trailer that shows Adidas’ Bored Ape and representations of its new partners moving through the skies and into the Metaverse in a seamless manner.
The newly purchased Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT #8774, a very specific blue ape they named Indigo Herz, with heart glasses and a fisherman’s cap, would be the face of its brand in the Metaverse, was also changed to the Adidas Originals account’s profile image.
What makes this so revolutionary?
Individuals have dominated the NFT space thus far. Individuals have pushed the sector forward, whether they be normal traders, inventors, or even celebrities. Now enter Adidas, a well-known and well-liked company with four million Twitter followers and 26 million Instagram followers. The presence of this one brand has the potential to attract more attention to the space than all of the individuals combined, resulting in a large increase in the number of NFTs.
Adidas also teamed with Coinbase, the biggest cryptocurrency trading platform, to pursue this objective. It also collaborated with The Sandbox, one of the most well-known metaverse games. Adidas presented their very own Sandbox plot in a tweet, a piece of digital land that formally establishes its position within this metaverse.
With the announcement this week that Ubisoft Quartz will be available on the Tezos blockchain, Ubisoft became the next big corporation to go the Web3 path. The platform’s idea is that players will be able to use cryptocurrencies to buy and sell in-game items known as “digits.” This is significant because it will give players ownership of their in-game items, which in traditional games would only be available within and be dependent on those games’ own specific ecosystems, whereas the blockchain allows for ownership that is fully independent of a game world.
What is the significance of this?
Ubisoft is one of the top 25 largest gaming firms in the world, with a market capitalization of $5.8 billion. If this is only the initial step towards NFTs, it will undoubtedly be capable of much more in the future. Similar to Adidas and other major brands who have entered the market, they are all succeeding in bringing more attention to the potential of NFTs as a serious technology.
Despite the fact that Ubisoft’s entry marked a significant step forward in the mainstreaming of NFTs, their announcement was not without criticism. In fact, their YouTube video had over 20,000 dislikes in the first hour, prompting the firm to delist the video due to widespread backlash on social media.
When reading the comments, it’s clear that the hate comes from a variety of places, including:
- Dislike the company irrespective of NFTs.
- Dislike the payments; the cost may be out of reach for many.
- Dislike the energy consumption that NFTs require.
- Dislike NFTs in general.
This perspective confirms the reality that NFTs require a great deal of work before being accepted and adopted by the general public. But it’s not just individuals; several of the most popular gaming sites, such as Steam, have completely removed blockchain games from their shop. It’s unclear whether Ubisoft will stick to its original goals. However, its first conviction has underlined the reality that NFTs are rapidly gaining traction, particularly if a billion-dollar corporation is considering adopting them!
But why are NFTs so divisive, and how is this stopping them from becoming more mainstream?
What is keeping NFTs from becoming widespread, and what can be done to improve them?
Two of the most fundamental reasons why NFTs have been unable to join the mainstream are stigma and a lack of trust. When it comes to persons who have been the victims of rug pulls, some of the stereotypes are true to some level. Furthermore, many people have become subject to the growing threat of scams and hacking. You’ve undoubtedly also heard that “NFTs are a pyramid scheme,” “NFTs are a fraud,” and “NFTs are for money laundering.” However, this does not represent the complete picture.
There are negative actors in the arena who engage in this conduct, just as there are scammers in the real world. However, this does not cover the full area. Furthermore, a hardware wallet, also known as a cold wallet, can completely protect your NFTs. It’s stored on the blockchain, and only you have access to it since you hold the private key.
To further minimize frauds, improved channels of communication for NFT users must surely be established, as well as safer platforms that protect the safety of people who utilize them. Rug pulls are a problem, but they don’t happen all over the place. There are still trustworthy NFT projects that are genuine and reputable. Rather than lumping NFTs into a broader category like “scam,” a better knowledge of the teams behind them is required, as is more investigation before making investments.
Another roadblock to general adoption is the fact that, if you’re new to the area, setting up a Coinbase account and MetaMask wallet may be quite complex if you don’t know where to begin. Every step of the journey involves fees, transfers, and hassles, making this a significant barrier to entrance. This will dissuade the average person from even considering entering the space. So, if NFTs are to appeal to the general public, the process of getting started must be simplified.
There is a need for assistance. Unless you are highly dedicated, you will not be able to setup a wallet, start trading, and make transfers on your own. It is a magnificent effort for anyone to undertake, and as a result, we require mentors, assisting hands, and methods of assisting people throughout the process. The complexities of getting started are a significant barrier to entrance, and while manuals are important, something more comprehensive is required to make everyone’s lives easier. It’s tough to predict when NFTs will become mainstream till then.
NFTs still have a long way to go before becoming ubiquitous. However, as this essay explains, there are already a lot of strong signs that they will in the future. More eyes will come to the sector, whether they are celebrities, huge brands, or businesses, and if the timing coincides and people recognize this, a shift in thought may occur. But, first and foremost, much work in the areas of education and accessibility must be completed.
Both regulation and decentralization have apparent advantages and disadvantages. Frameworks and safety are possible with centralized platforms. Decentralization, on the other hand, allows for more creativity and freedom. Regulators, on the other hand, restrict ownership and free reign, while decentralization allows scammers and bad actors to flourish.
What we do know is that the NFT is a new technology that is still in its early stages of development. However, mainstream firms and brands are already showing interest. Whether gradual or rapid, the adoption of NFTs is unavoidable.
‘It’s Time’: NBA Top Shot Maker Dapper Labs to Launch NFT Platform for UFC
Following the UFC 270 pay-per-view event, NFTs from the Ultimate Fighting Championship will debut on Flow this weekend.
Dapper Labs announced today that it would launch an NFT platform for the popular mixed martial arts organization Ultimate Fighting Championship later this week, following its success with NBA Top Shot and subsequent arrangements with the NFL and LaLiga.
UFC Strike will premiere on Sunday, January 23, immediately following the UFC 270 live pay-per-view event on Saturday. UFC Strike’s digital collectibles, like Top Shot’s, will be based on video footage from previous events and will be minted on Dapper’s Flow blockchain. However, unlike Top Shot, the UFC collectible moments will include the original soundtrack to match the video clip.
Furthermore, rather than having different tier levels, all packs—which contain a random selection of moments—will be sold at the same price (as with NBA Top Shot). NFT moments from fighters like Francis Ngannou, Amanda Nunes, Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas, Derrick Lewis, and Justin Gaethje will be featured in the first pack.
Dapper’s contract with the UFC was signed before NBA Top Shot was out, which is interesting. According to statistics from DappRadar, the partnership was announced in February 2020, when the NFT sector was still small and niche—well before it grew to $23 billion in trading volume in 2021.
Dapper Labs’ head of partnerships, Caty Tedman, said that the company wanted to debut NBA Top Shot first and learn from the experience—which includes serious scaling issues early last year—before launching the UFC memorabilia.
She stated, “We’ve come to the stage where we feel ready to [launch].” “We’re ecstatic to provide UFC fans with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as well as the utility that comes with this type of product. We’re finally ready to launch this as the industry, and we grow together.”
Tedman stated that the UFC Strike platform would be heavily promoted during this weekend’s pay-per-view event, including appearances by UFC President Dana White and fighters.
Because the UFC’s timetable is mainly based on pay-per-view fights every few weeks, UFC Strike will plan its releases to coincide with those significant events. As a result, the portal will first focus on fights from the previous year but ultimately include highlights from older UFC fights. The first fight in the promotion took place in 1993.
Despite the roughly two-year gap between the original announcement and this week’s launch, Tedman said the UFC—which already has a crypto fan token through the Socios.com platform—was keen to make a big statement in the NFT industry.
“Every company has its personality, and the UFC’s approach is to test with us and try new things with us,” she explained. “It’s fantastic to have a partner that doesn’t say, ‘Well, let’s try it little and see how it goes,’ when you’re talking about how to launch a product. It’s like, ‘Let’s make it as huge as we can.’ ‘Let’s do it in a UFC-style fight.'”
Unlike Top Shot and the impending NFL All Day platform, UFC Strike will be released without a closed beta period to the general public. According to Tedman, Dapper is investigating live activations at future UFC events, as it has done with the NBA, and added value for UFC NFTs, such as potential community or gaming features.
Top Shot in 2022
The UFC announcement comes on the heels of NBA Top Shot’s first major commercial campaign, including Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets player and two-time NBA champion debuting yesterday.
In October, Durant and his Boardroom media group signed a deal with Dapper Labs to give him “a starring position across NBA Top Shot,” according to the company. According to Tedman, Durant, an early investor in Coinbase who has invested in other crypto firms, is familiar with the Top Shot concept.
“He’s a world-class athlete. He’s a top-tier human. He’s a tech entrepreneur,” she explained. “It’s been a long time since he’s been with us. He’s been interested in the crypto world for quite some time. Therefore, he ticks all the boxes. But isn’t he also swaggering? There’s nothing about him that wouldn’t make him a fantastic candidate for this type of campaign.”
ACCORDING TO TEDMAN, the NBA Top Shot team is “very focused on raising participation in the product and increasing accessibility” for 2022. Following the early 2021 boom in demand and Dapper’s time spent improving platform reliability and customer service, the business feels Top Shot still has substantial growth potential ahead of it.
“This sector is still in its infancy,” she explained. “There’s no such thing as ‘tried and true,'” says the author. “We’re going to attempt a lot of things, but we’re going to do a lot of things to make sure that current collectors feel valued—so they don’t feel like we’re creating an experience where they don’t feel valued.”
And NFL All Day, which Dapper promised would debut by the end of the current NFL season, is still on track to do so—for reference, Super Bowl LVI is on February 13. The NFT platform is now in closed beta testing, and given the recent nature of Dapper’s NFL partnership, Tedman said they’re concentrating on polishing it before going public.
“We’re much newer to the NFL,” she added, “in the same way that every organization has a different personality and every partnership has a different pace. So as a result, we’re taking our time with it.”
Meta’s Instagram Experimentation With NFT Marketplace
Meta, formerly Facebook, is said to be working on a feature that will allow users to display their NFT collections on Instagram.
According to the Financial Times, Meta, formerly Facebook, has new intentions to enter the fast-growing non-fungible token (NFT) market.
The Financial Times stated, citing unnamed sources, that the social media company is working on a tool that will allow users to mint and trade NFTs and display their collections on their Meta and Instagram profiles. In April 2012, Meta, formerly Facebook, paid $1 billion for Instagram.
The blockchain network on which these capabilities would be developed is still unknown. However, NFTs are currently available on several blockchains, including Solana, Tezos, Ethereum, Flow, and WAX.
According to two sources, an NFT marketplace similar to OpenSea is also in the works.
OpenSea has been a cornerstone of the burgeoning NFT industry. Despite a more significant market decline, the platform set a new monthly volume high of $3.5 billion two weeks before the end of January. According to a report by analytics firm Chainalysis, the total market for digital collectibles will reach $41 billion in 2021.
The $69 million auctions by digital artist Beeple at Christie’s, monthly million-dollar sales of CryptoPunks, and a slew of celebrities endorsing the craze in one way or another capped off a spectacular year.
This publicity has piqued the curiosity of non-crypto companies as well.
Instagram, Meta and NFTs
In December, Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, said that the company is “actively studying NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience.”
The company organized a session for NFT makers earlier this year to raise awareness about how to use the technology. However, artists said they “need more information on how to [use NFTs], not just from us, but from other creators,” according to Instagram’s VP of global partnerships, Charles Porch.
NFTs are also expected to play a significant role in the metaverse, a persistent digital world where individuals interact through virtual avatars. Therefore, establish non-fungible ownership of objects inside a wholly digital environment.
With its latest push into NFTs, the tech industry is getting a glimpse into how Meta could implement NFTs on its platform. Facebook’s recent rebranding as Meta signaled CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s intent to move “from being Facebook first as a company to being metaverse first.” With its latest push into NFTs, the tech industry is getting a glimpse into how Meta could implement NFTs on its platform.
Tom Brady’s Autograph NFC Platform Raises $170 Million in Funding
Autograph raises significant cash and extends its advisory board with the help of celebrities like Brady, The Weeknd, and Simone Biles.
Autograph, the NFT platform co-founded by NFL quarterback Tom Brady in 2021, has made a significant splash by enlisting the help of sportsmen and entertainers like Tiger Woods, The Weeknd, and Simone Biles. Now, the firm has also raised a substantial sum of money.
Today, Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z fund and Kleiner Perkins led a $170 million Series B fundraising round for Autograph. Lightspeed Venture Partners, 01A, and Katie Haun’s new venture capital business are among the investors in the round.
Together with a16z General Partners Chris Dixon and Arianna Simpson, and Kleiner Perkins’ Ilya Fushman, Haun will join Autograph’s board of advisors as part of the fundraising.
Along with the funding announcement, Autograph did not provide a valuation. However, in July 2021, 01A and Velvet Sea Ventures co-led a Series A fundraising round.
The platform was revealed in April 2021, during the first NFT boom, and launched in August in collaboration with DraftKings Marketplace. Autograph has also released NFTs from Tony Hawk, Naomi Osaka, Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Usain Bolt, Rob Gronkowski, and the aforementioned names.
According to the firm, the cash came from “many recently finalized” collaborations that will be publicized soon. Autograph began with sports but has since broadened its focus, first with Lionsgate’s “Saw” film franchise and later with the addition of musician Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye as the platform’s music vertical’s head.
Autograph is “pumped to add some incredibly skilled experts in the Web3 sector to our team,” Brady tweeted today about the financing round. Autograph is “beginning with celebrities, but wants to encourage innovators at every step of growth,” according to a16z’s Dixon.
Images, video files, and interactive video game items can all be represented by an NFT, which works as a blockchain-backed deed of ownership for digital property. According to DappRadar, the market grew to $23 billion in transaction volume in 2021. Autograph issues NFTs using Polygon, a sidechain scaling solution for Ethereum, the primary NFT platform.
With Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot bringing NFTs to widespread audiences early last year, sports memorabilia have become a vital component of the NFT industry. Dapper has also formed partnerships with the NFL, UFC, and LaLiga. In addition, in October, Fanatics raised $100 million at a $1.5 billion value for its Candy Digital platform, which holds the official Major League Baseball license.
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Meta’s Instagram Experimentation With NFT Marketplace
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Tom Brady’s Autograph NFC Platform Raises $170 Million in Funding
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