The blockchain and cryptocurrency world is ever-growing. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have recorded a steady growth throughout the past three quarters since the beginning of the year. Businesses and individuals have closed mega NFT deals in the recent past. Consequently, the booming digital asset market has attracted many businesses, which see it as a potential area of making fortunes. In March, Christie’s, a British auction house accepted Ether for payment of the record-breaking NFTs deal. Christie’s auction “Everyday’s: the first 500 Days” digital artwork by Mike Winkelmann professionally known as Beeple for $69 million.

Beeple is a digital artist who is creating and selling digital arts as NFTs. The partnership of Christie’s with Beeple is just one example of many businesses that are finding their way into the NFT world. Warner Music Group (WMG), Nike (NKE), Yum Brands (YUM), Coca-Cola, Asics, and NBA, have all experimented with NFTs.

What are NFTs?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital tokens that are a type of digital currency such as Bitcoin. However, unlike standard cryptocurrency coins, NFTs are unique and cannot be exchanged like-for-like (non-fungible). NFTs, as collectible digital assets, holds value as a form of cryptocurrency and as a form of art or culture. Therefore, NFTs are seen as value-holding investments. Types of NFTs widely vary. They can take the form of digital art, a music file, in-game assets, collectible, or any other unique item that can be stored digitally and holds value. NFTs are like any other collector’s item. However, you may get a JPEG file instead of receiving a physical item such as an oil painting on canvas.

A Brief History of NFTs

The history of NFTs traces back to 2012 with the colored coins. These coins are a small denomination of bitcoins that can represent a variety of assets. Colored coins have many use cases such as Coupons, Property, Collectibles, and Access tokens. In 2014, three co-founders launched Counterparty, a peer-to-peer financial platform and distributed internet protocol on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. The protocol supported many applications such as meme trading and card game trading.

In 2014, Spells of Genesis game creators introduced in-game assets onto the blockchain. In 2016, Counterparty collaborated with Force Will and launched gaming cards on the platform. People also began introducing “rare pepes,” memes featuring frog characters, on Counterparty platforms. In the following year, people started trading memes on Ethereum.In 2017, Ethereum released the ERC21 cryptocurrency standard for NFTs, which would make NFTs easier to implement. NFTs hit mainstream shortly after the release of ER21. Axiom Zen, a Vancouver-based company launched CryptoKitties virtual game. The blockchain-based virtual game that enables users to collect, raise, and trade virtual catsCurrently, the NFT ecosystem encompasses a wide scope such as art, fashion, license and certification, collectibles, and sports. The industry is constantly growing.

What Brands Need to Know About NFTs

Brands are joining the NFTs space amidst the rising popularity of the digital asset. NBA Top Shot is already tapping into fans’ nostalgia by collecting basketball cards. The potential of basketball cards was revealed in March 2021 when an “ultra-rare” LeBron James trading card was sold for a record $5.2 million. The digital cards are live moments captured from games. Mark Cuban, the owner of NBA Mavericks, foresees a success for digital goods in the NBA. However, he acknowledges the difficulty in creating the market. NBA Top Shot enables the fans to own the best moments from NBA history.In another story, William Shatner, a famous actor, minted his personal life and film career photographs and released them for trading on an NFT platform.

Virtual real estate blossoms

Decentraland first launched in 2017 with the developers selling their land parcels for about $20 a piece. In 2018, the NFT niche made the news as virtual landowners started making huge profits selling the assets. In the following years, the community recorded massive growth. However, it remained relatively obscure from the majority of internet users until the NFT boom hit. Currently, parcels in the digital world are selling as high as over $1 million. In February 2021, a community member bought a parcel of land with nine plots in Axie Infinity for 888.25 ether worth $1.5 million at the time of sale. Other companies such as sandbox are already registering huge growth selling virtual land.

Fashion, art, and entertainment NFTs niche still soaring

NFT market has a high demand for celebrity art, trading cards, and digital lands. Individuals and businesses are buying these items as an investment for the future. They view the digital assets as a store of value. Fashion and entertainment, especially, are slowly growing into NFTs Holy Grail. Fashion companies such as Nike, RTFKT Studios, and Nike have already set their foot on the NFTs market.

Celebrities are finding new use cases for NFTs

Celebrities have found new ways of interacting with fans through NFTs. For example, Post Malone, an American rapper collaborated with NFT artist Fvckrender and social money platform, Fyooz, to airdrop new tokens. King of Leon, an American rock band, also sold their album as an NFT. Other celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and YouTuber Logan Paul have also jumped into NFTs.

The Blockchain Companies are looking for Sustainable Approaches

A high Carbon footprint is still a hot topic of debate in the blockchain world. The technology is accused of a high carbon footprint. Blockchain-powered activities are energy-intensive. Companies are seeking sustainable ways of running their blockchain activities. Most companies blockchain and cryptocurrency companies are trying to limit their energy consumption to reduce their carbon footprints. Some of the techniques they are using include shifting to the Layer 2 mechanism to reduce gas consumption.However, WSUM is using a new approach to dealing with the problem. The blockchain protocol is aiming at removing carbon gasses from the environment, besides limiting its energy consumption. This approach makes it possible to achieve a negative carbon footprint.WSUM has a project for planting trees across the globe to increase carbon sequentially. The project enables NFT sellers on the WSUM platform to contribute a percentage of their income towards the program of planting trees. WSUM has collaborated with companies such as Ecomatcher to realize the goal. Working with WSUM on this project also means impacting the lives of the society members since trees have many uses besides environmental sustainability.

What does the future look like for NFTs?

Companies and individual investors are already using NFTs as a means of investing. The use case for these digital assets is growing, increasing the avenues for companies to explore the blockchain niche. Environmental concerns continue to prove the main challenge for this growth. However, companies such as WSUM are already spearheading the move to make the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry sustainable.

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