6 min read

Are We Still Early for NFTs?

Discover why we’re still early for NFTs and what you can expect next.
Are We Still Early for NFTs?

The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon owns one. Eminem picked one up for his Twitter avatar. Paris Hilton is an NFT influencer. And, reportedly, so is musician Snoop Dogg under the moniker Cozomo de'Medici.

Reese Witherspoon says we'll need one in the future. Serena Williams, Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Barker all use NFTs for their profile pictures. Even YouTube influencers are launching their NFT projects.

Beeple, aka Mike Winkelmann, also made headlines in 2021 when he sold Everdays: The First 5000 Days via Christie's Auction House for an astonishing $69 million.

So have you missed out on non-fungible tokens or NFTs? Is it too late to include acquiring NFTs as part of your preferred wealth creation strategy?

I'm not a financial advisor, and NFTs are incredibly risky. Most will go to zero. I published this content for informational purposes only. Always do your own research.

Most Blue-chip NFTs Are Brand New

Don't let the news or recency bias fool you. The concept of digital non-fungible tokens or NFTs is relatively new.

The CrypoKitties and CryptoPunks were some of the first NFTs, and they minted in late 2017. That may seem like a while ago, but the space's most media-friendly bluechip NFT, Bored Ape Yacht Club, only minted in late 2021. Other examples of new blue-chip NFTs include Doodles, World of Women and Cool Cats, all of which minted in 2021.

For context, Bitcoin minted back in 2009 and Ethereum in 2015. NFTs are a new asset class that those in Web 3.0 are still figuring out, let alone casual buyers.

The NFT space is packed with CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club derivatives and knockoffs, but many of tomorrow's original blue chips are still being dreamed up, let alone minted. These NFTs may relate to music or film rather than cartoon JPEGS and memes.

OpenSea Faces Stiff Competition

The most popular NFT marketplace OpenSea only launched in December 2017. In July 2021, it was valued at approximately $1.5 billion. In January 2022, it raised $300 million in funding and was valued at an eye-watering $13.3 billion.

However, OpenSea is experiencing growing pains typical of many high-growth start-ups. The platform regularly goes off-line during popular mints and when the Ethereum blockchain is congested. Gas fees are insane too, something it has little control over.

Anyone can launch an NFT on OpenSea, which is great for projects…and scammers. Unless you know what you're doing, it's hard to figure out what's legit and a cash-grab, scam or knockoff.

The platform is facing competition from players like LooksRare. That NFT marketplace launched in December 2021 and generated publicity by airdropping $LooksRare tokens into the digital wallets of NFT buyers everywhere. These translated into several thousand dollars for many.

Coinbase NFT Marketplace Will Simplify Onboarding

OpenSea claims approximately 1 million users, whereas Coinbase has over 72 million customers worldwide. Over one million of these joined the Coinbase NFT marketplace waitlist. A sizeable portion of this list will buy their first NFT simply because it's easier and faster than using Web 3.0 marketplaces.

Buying an NFT for the first time on marketplaces like OpenSea, LooksRare or Rarible isn't easy or fast unless you're technically savvy and confident about managing crypto.

Buyers must set up software wallets like Metamask, transfer Ethereum from a crypto exchange and connect their digital wallet to an NFT marketplace. They're responsible for protecting a seed phase and ensuring purchases aren't scams or cash grabs.

To take a profit, sellers must complete these steps in reverse. Buying NFTs becomes easier with practice, but digital collectors forget that these steps are off-putting for those watching on the sidelines.

Contrastingly, it's easy to buy a small amount of Bitcoin or Ethereum on Coinbase. Open an account and connect a credit or debit card. Then, smash the buy button on the mobile app.

I don't recommend this option for aspiring crypto investors due to Coinbase fees, but it's the fastest and easiest way to buy Eth or BTC today. You can follow a similar process with other exchanges like Kraken or Binance.

Search Volume for NFTs Is Rising

Google Trends data about NFTs reveal interest is rising exponentially month-on-month. I dug into search analytics for the term "NFT". You can easily see how interest in the topic has grown exponentially over the past 12+ months.

There is a significant increase in searches for NFT between Nov and Feb. 

I was surprised to see Singapore and China topping the list over the US, especially considering China's 2021 crypto ban. So, I dug deeper and found a similar data set for the term "NFTs" with an S.

New Zealanders are fascinated by the likes of BAYC and CryptoPunks, while interest from the US rank at number 2.

What a difference a letter makes!

Celebrities Are Buying NFTs

Over the past year, celebrities like Eminem and Jimmy Fallon paid six figures to acquire digital assets like Board Ape Yacht Club NFTs. Some celebs now use these as their picture-for-profiles on social media.

In August 2021, Jimmy Fallon even invited NFT influencer Paris Hilton onto The Tonight Show. The two of them compared Board Ape Yacht Club NFTs and explained what these are to their audience.

Most people can't afford to pick up Board Ape Yacht Club NFT (they cost six figures), but primetime interviews raise awareness about NFTs. They're also dragging the space towards the mainstream.

Big Brands Are Betting On The Metaverse

The Metaverse is a loose concept describing how we'll potentially interact with each other in 3-d online environments. There, users can buy goods and services with cryptocurrency, and NFTs represent a type of digital property or real estate. In theory, you can go and visit a friend's NFT collection virtually.

Read my guide how to view NFTs.

Facebook, now known as Meta, has invested over 10 billion into its plans for the Metaverse. Microsoft's January 2022 purchase of gaming company Activision for $68.7 billion reflects how bullish it is about gaming, blockchain technology and wider Metaverse. In a first-quarter 2022 conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

"Right now, we have over 14,000 AR augmented reality kit apps in the App Store, which provide incredible AR experiences for millions of people today. And so we see a lot of potential in this space and are investing accordingly."

Today, mockups of the Metaverse look like a bad designed 1990s video game, but do you want to bet against these tech companies?

Future blue-chip NFTs could come from tech companies or other brands. 2021 saw traditional brands like Pepsi and Adidas dipping their toes into the NFT space.

Adidas partnered up with NFT influencers like money and projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club+ for its Into The Metaverse drop. Owners of this NFT receive exclusive clothing and trainers.

How to Get Into NFTs Early

If you haven't bought an NFT yet, don't worry. You haven't missed out. Start by following a few credible NFT influencers on Twitter, like Gary Vaynerchuk, Cozomo de'Medici and Zeneca.

When they share information about an NFT project, don't ape in. Instead, follow the project on Twitter and join its Discord group. Read the roadmap and interact with other members. You can also use websites like WGMI and Nextdrop.is to track what the market is buying and launching next.

Read my guide to the best NFT websites.

Either mint a credible NFT or buy a project on the secondary market, near floor price. The premier marketplaces are OpenSea, LooksRare, Rarible and NiftyGateway.

All of this assumes it's money you're comfortable losing and can afford the cost of gas, i.e. do your research. If the Ethereum-based NFTs are too expensive, pick up a more affordable one on Solanaart.

Even if an NFT purchase doesn't take off, use the experience of buying one as an educational tool for navigating the NFT market and Web 3.0.

If you catch yourself looking at the price of blue-chip NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club or CryptoPunks and thinking I missed out! Remember, tomorrow's blue chips probably aren't here yet. Digital assets are more encompassing than simple JPEGS, memes and GIFs.

You don't need to spend money getting into NFTs either. You could get involved in creating the next big project by contributing artwork, project lore or code. Or you could join a community and contribute your time. Some creators are also using NFTs to find new ways of connecting with their ideal audience.

In 2021, Brittany Pierre earned over $109,000 by selling non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, of her photography. She also flipped some NFTs she bought at a profit.

In short, the NFT space is young, developing and risky. But it's also still incredibly early.

Watch the video accompanying this article below.