I almost bought Bitcoin in 2013. I was a few minutes away from depositing funds into a digital wallet and buying several Bitcoin, but then I decided:
"Nah, I don't want to waste a hundred bucks."
That cost me.
Like many, I fell back down the crypto rabbit hole in 2016, but I stuck with it throughout the subsequent crash.
Five years later, I'm surprised by the discrepancy between the crypto community and the wider community. The former acts like digital currencies are mainstream; while the latter regards them with a hefty dose of skepticism (unless you're running El Salvador)
Today, a subset exists in the crypto community that many regard with the same sense of skepticism: non-fungible tokens or NFTS.
Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are changing how forward-thinking artists and content creators are publishing and monetizing work online. And they're at the same stage Bitcoin was in 2012-2013.
It'll pay off if you take the time to understand this new content format and study the most successful examples of NFTS.
Why Buy An NFT?
Successful NFT projects have built-in scarcity. The most successful projects only offer a set amount users can either mint or trade. Usually, that figure sits at around 10,000. That means prices rise if a community gets behind it.
As a holder, you get early access to mint future projects, many of which sell for multiples of their minting price. It's also fun to collect NFT art that will become a rarity in the coming years, like Art Blocks. Plus, you can claim bragging rights over later-state adopters.
Many NFT projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club airdrop free tokens to holders. That could translate into a form of passive income.
You can mint an NFT directly from a developer's site at launch. Unfortunately, that's hard to do unless you spend hours in random Discords and are comfortable evaluating projects.
Alternatively, Opensea represents the primary marketplace for buying and selling existing NFTs. Other options include Rarible and Mintable.
We're only getting started. Opensea reported a transaction volume in August 2021, 25 times its entire transaction volume for 2020
Even if you're not ready to buy an NFT yet, dive into NFT marketplaces and Discord communities to see what people are trading and excited about. Better to figure out this emerging format today rather than playing catchup tomorrow.
Now, here are popular NFT examples content creators should know about:
1. Beeple's Everydays: The First 5000 Days
Beeple, aka Mike Winkelmann, is one of the most inspiring figures in the NFT world for creators. Back in 2006, he launched the Everydays project, whereby he tasked himself with creating and publishing a new piece of digital artwork every day, even if it's "crap."
That was over 5,000 days ago, and his work has dramatically improved since the early days. Beeple said about the importance of creating every day.
"Just start an everyday. It's become more popular on Instagram, but there are always more people who would benefit from doing it. Any time you're putting in the work, it pays off. And if you're worried about commitment, I miss breakfast all the time."
His advice is similar to these rules for creatives.
In August 2021, Beeple sold an NFT montage of his work known as Everdays: The First 5000 Days for $69 million via Christie's. That sale places Beeple among the top three most valuable alive artists.
CryptoPunks, developed by Larvalabs, are perhaps the best-known and widely misunderstood NFTS. These NFTS are the crazy pixelated avatars that look you keep coming across all over Twitter and social media.
Only 10,000 exist, and they represent one of the earliest examples of NFTS built on the Ethereum blockchain. For context, "early" in the NFT space means 2018. CryptoPunks are digital avatars that have become a prestige symbol in the NFT and broader crypto community.
The cheapest CryptoPpunks NFTs regularly change hands on Opensea and other marketplaces for multiple six-figure amounts. Rarer CryptoPunks are worth close to eight million dollars as of October 2021.
3. Art Blocks
Generative art, also known as algorithmic art, describes when an artist creates natural language rules, a computer program, or another digital process that results in a distinct creation. It predominately applies to music, coding, and visual arts.
Even though NFTs are cutting edge, the concept of generative art emerged in the late 1960s, with pieces like Pintura Generativa.
These days, Art Blocks curates generate crypto art on the Ethereum blockchain. It also features works by up-and-coming generative artists via the Art Blocks Playground.
You can either gain early access and mint one of these pieces of art using a small bit of Ethereum and by paying gas fees. Or you can buy a piece on the secondary market.
In September 2021, the generative art piece Chrome Squiggle #7583 sold for 922 ETH. At the time of writing, the value of that cryptocurrency converted into approximately $2.8 million. Wow!
4. NBA Top Shots
Created by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shots represent a forward-thinking use-case for NFTs. Basketball fans can collect and trade officially licensed NBA and WBNA collectibles that show clips of their favorite players' best moments.
Currently, 600,000 fans are part of this project, a small amount considering the sport's popularity. Some NFT Top Shot NFts retail for over $200,000.
The NBA is far ahead of other types of sports with its NFT project. In addition, the project is unlike other NFTs offerings in that it's aimed at the sports community rather than the crypto community, digital artists, and collectors.
Roham Gharegozlou, co-founder and CEO of Dapper Labs, told Fast Company:
“This is the first time these leagues can actually engage with their fans in a way that sort of gives the fans direct control. It gives the league continued secondary sales revenue. It changed the game in terms of how they think about monetizing their content in a digital world.”
Gary Vaynerchuk is rapidly becoming one of the NFT space's most well-known thought leaders. He's built a new business around the VeeFriends NFT project.
VeeFriends curates and sells meaningful intellectual property. Its growing Discord community also has thousands of members, including creators, collectors, investors, and fans of Gary's work. As a GaryVee NFT holder, you also get early access to future projects, airdrops, and an NFT conference in the US, in 2022.
Christie's is auctioning original digital art pieces from the VeeFriends collection. Gary said about this news:
“My parents grew up loving auctions and auction houses. I’m sure I got my collecting DNA from them. To see my art in a Christie’s auction, 98% of my energy is just thinking about my parents and what that might feel like for them, and that brings me incredible joy.”
The 888 Project is another NFT community similar to VeeFriends that includes lots of free airdrops. Beeple is a member of that community.
6. Bored Ape Yacht Club
The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a unique collection of 10,000 apes on the Ethereum blockchain.
This NFT token also doubles as exclusive access to a membership community. Members get access to future projects and token drops.
Price and artwork aside, Bored Ape Yacht Club is an excellent example of how future NFT creators can visually represent their communities and give owners a sense of belonging.
Initially, you could mint a Bored Ape for approximately .08 ETH. However, at the time of writing, the floor price (the lowest price they'll sell for) sits at 37 ETH.
In August 2021, the project also dropped a 20,000 collection known as The Mutant Ape Yacht Club. You could get one by introducing a Bored Ape to Mutant Serum for free. Alternatively, you could mint a new one. Some of these have since traded hands for six figures. If all this sounds fantastical, it's kind of like buying an upgrade for your player in a video game.
CryptoKitties is a popular form of breedable collectibles. The team released 50,000 "gen O" or "clock cats," all stored on smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. They're unique in appearance, and if you hold two CryptoKitties, they'll breed into a new cat. Moreover, they can breed multiple times, albeit with an increasing delay.
Owning one or more CryptoKitties unlocks bragging rights within the NFT community. But these NFTs are a good example of how a project can visually represent owning a digital asset that generates a passive return over time.
Cyberkongz and The Doge Pound are more popular, more affordable alternatives to CryptoKitties and the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
As a nerdy kid, I had a great time playing imaginary role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. Now, the concept has made its way to the blockchain. However, loot is unlike other projects in that it's not about the artwork.
Instead, Loot NFTs or bags are a series of white plaintext text overlaid on black cards. This text represents traits or adventurer gear your playable character possesses in the metaverse.
Each of the eight items in your Loot bag has a smart contract with specific rarities within the wider Loot universe. These cards represent the foundation for future digital games; in the same way, you can play Poker or Blackjack with a packet of cards.
Dom Hoffman, co-founder of Vine, released the project in August 2021. Again, early adopters could claim these for free after paying gas (the cost of minting). Now they trade hands for five figures or several dozen ETH.
Examples Of NFTs: The Final Word
These are only a few high-profile examples of the most successful NFT projects available today.
If Bitcoin and Ethereum are the currencies of the creator economy, NFTs represent a new format for content creators. More than a digital file like a JPEG or GIF, they offer long-term holders a sense of belonging, status, and monetary rewards.
Even if you're not prepared to invest or pick up a piece today, consider how your business could use NFTs either by creating one or investing in a project.
Not financial advice, do your research, secure your tokens ;)