🦁 NFTs : the psychology of new collectibles

Explaining the possibilities around NFTs

If you were to go 10 years back, you would find teenagers going on and on about the trading cards in their collection, the Beyblades they owned, and video game cassettes they hunted-gathered from local electronic stores. If you see it from the surface, it may seem that this trend seemingly was just derived from entertainment. But on a deeper level, a lot of different factors and influences were at play. 

Fast forward to 2021 and the youth are raging about a new version of their trading cards, NFTs! The hype is so real that NFT or “Non-Fungible Token” is the word of the year for 2021!

But what exactly are NFTs? Simply, they are unique digital tokens that can’t be interchanged with one another. Anything digital you think can be an NFT, videos, images, music albums, you name it. Even tweets can be NFTs; The first-ever tweet by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder, received a bid of $3 million. What makes these tokens so special is their uniqueness and sense of ownership.

What’s the hype about NFTs?

The first-ever sale of an NFT that made people lose their minds was when Beeple, a digital artist, sold a collage of artworks he did each day for the past 5000 days for $69 million. CryptoPunks, a collection of pixelated avatars, has seen the highest sale of $7.68 million for one of its artworks. A collection of monkey avatars called the Bored Ape Yacht Club, has been compared to Rolex in the 1990s. 

But the conversation doesn’t stop at the sheer monetary value of these projects, they have created humongous communities around their buyers, sellers, and anyone interested in them. So, even though you can argue that their value is highly overstretched, their impact on communities is comparable to what pop culture art and artifacts have. 

As the internet continues to connect more people, these digital assets grow in popularity and simultaneously in value. 

Why collect NFTs though?

Reading this far, you must have started wondering already, “who’s paying millions for images?”, “What’s the point in collecting something that can be saved with a right click of the mouse?” and so on. Your doubts are pretty fair, after all, NFTs of images, videos, and anything digital can be copied limitlessly. So, where is the uniqueness in that?

You see, the collection of items goes along with two very prominent emotions of the human mind; pride and hope. The feeling of owning a rare item or a special one is directly tied to your pride. Think of it, you’re in a class of 60 students and none of them have that special edition Avengers-themed backpack except for you. How do you feel? Prideful, no? Similarly, the feeling of owning an NFT and having full ownership of it, no matter how many times it is saved, screenshotted, or reproduced, gives a sense of pride to you.

Then comes hope. How you may ask? Hope that maybe in the coming future or the distant one, the value of that NFT will rise, and reselling it will give a significant profit on your investment. It’s a common practice among people who collect antiques and artworks, and the NFT space is no stranger to it. Some NFTs that were bought for thousands go on to sell for millions.

Apart from pride and hope, NFTs also bring with them possibilities. As we move toward a more digital future, with communities in the virtual space, personalized avatars for the metaverse and the rising popularity of AR/VR, the possibilities with NFTs keep expanding. Just like you have paintings on your home’s walls, you might have your NFTs hung up on them and see them through AR glasses!

What can be done with NFTs?

As of now, the use cases of NFTs are still in discovery. If you’re fairly active in the online space, especially Twitter or Discord, you might already know many hot new trends that are being formed around NFTs. 

Take an example, American rapper, Tory Lanez has sold copies of his album as NFTs for a total of $1M. Doja Cat, another American artist, sold a single edition token for $188K that included special perks like a fully paid concert experience with a personal dinner with Doja herself. When you think about it, it’s an altogether new domain of interacting with your audience. To think that something that entirely exists digitally is closing the gap between artist-fan interaction in real life is mindblowing! Even for lesser-known artists, NFTs might pave the way to rightly monetizing their work and growing their audience. 

NFT gaming is also shaping up to be a thing, where you can integrate your NFT avatars into the game’s digital universe and exist as a unique entity. 

When mentioning the uses and scope of NFTs, it’ll be a shame to leave out digital art and artists. Selling and buying digital art has been the most prominent use of NFTs as of late. Except for some big names, if you’ll look around, the art NFT space is filled with college-going kids and freshers trying to get their arts in front of the whole world! An 18-year-old artist, going by the name of Fewocious, raked in $2M for their art collection! 

Even the fashion space is nurturing new forms of NFT use cases. Recently Nike announced the launch of their metaverse or digital universe, called “Nikeland”, where user avatars would be able to dawn cool NFT clothes and sneakers.

If you wanna go to the more mind-boggling use cases, then you better go and deep dive into metaverse real estate. Turns out, people are buying digital spaces inside the metaverse in the form of NFTs. How crazy is that! 

Where will NFTs go from here?

Just like every innovation, NFTs face their fair share of criticism from anybody and everybody. While some of the arguments are pretty legitimate and convincing, the impact and the possibilities surrounding NFTs easily overshadow them. For that matter, even cameras were considered useless when they first arrived in the market.

The youth, as usual, is the first to experiment, explore and experience innovations, which in this case are NFTs. While NFTs still have a lot to give and a lot to prove, the way they have disrupted the online space is already a milestone. 

With big names jumping into the NFT space like the NBL, Adidas, Nike, etc, the future looks bright for the technology. Even Facebook has its plan with the metaverse, which will probably include the involvement of NFTs as well. New startups focused on the metaverse will redefine their usability and you’ll be there to witness it all. 

As the possibilities keep growing, so will the popularity and along with it, the value. And as NFTs gain mainstream attention and adoption, it’ll become clearer that they are not going anywhere.

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