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Connecting NFTs to the Broader Population image

Connecting NFTs to the Broader Population

There’s no doubt that the marketplace for NFTs is booming.

Any attempt to rationalize all the estimates of market size and growth projections will only leave your head spinning, but here are a couple:  one recent report estimates global trading in NFTs hit $22B this year (up from $100M in 2020), while a JP Morgan report values the current business at $7B. The sports category alone, says Deloitte, is expected to hit $2 billion in 2022 as 4-5 million fans either purchase these digital collectibles or receive them as a gift.

While the revenue can be eye-popping, companies and institutions have a wide variety of reasons for entering the NFT business including the sheen of being in a hot tech-forward category, and as a way to put themselves in front of a new audience. One of the reasons the British Museum (see below) was interested in developing an NFT program around one of its exhibitions was to attract a younger, non-endemic audience that might never have given art another thought.

A wider audience?
There’s little doubt that it’s big, and growth is in the offing as the business spreads beyond the current audience. The universe of NFT purchasers is beginning to broaden somewhat, but price points and the need to be somewhat tech savvy are still limitations. Will Traweek, Chief Technology Officer at NFT developer Zelus, defines it as “very collector-centric… Right now, it’s mostly men in their 30s, almost synonymous with the tech crowd that invented these cryptocurrencies.  But as on-ramps to crypto are getting easier, you’re seeing it more reflect the world-at-large.”

Increasingly, these digital collectibles are being connected to real-world goods and services. For example, Lee Jenkins, Product Manager at the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX) blockchain, points to “WAX NFT drops for Funko, Hasbro and Mattel [as] the best examples anywhere of NFTs tied to physical goods.  Collectors bought those collections to get not only NFTs but also exclusive physical collectibles tied to those NFTs.  In the case of physical, Topps Garbage Pail Kids Food Fight cards released in Walmart and Target earlier this year, many people bought the physical goods specifically to get the included QR code that got you free NFTs on WAX.  Similarly, many bought AMC tickets to Spider-Man: Far from Home specifically to get Spiderman NFTs on WAX.”

Among recent developments:

  • White Castle licensed Doodle Labs for a collection of 5,001 NFTs designed to mark the fast-food chain’s 100th Under a deal brokered by White Castle’s agency, Brandgenuity, “Sliderverse” pieces —  a nod to the brand’s signature serving —  were designed by digital artist Che-Yu-Wu and went on sale on Friday (Dec. 17).
  • William Mark Corp. is the most recent toy company to take the NFT plunge. It licensed digital marketplace developer Chronicle for Feisty Pets The agreement is the most recent digital venture for Feisty Pets, which have 1.3 million followers on TikTok and 500,000 subscribers on YouTube in addition to the toy line.
  • Adidas on Friday (Dec. 17) launched NFTs for access to virtual wearables that are part of an “Into the Metaverse” collection through the gaming network The Sandbox. The exclusive merchandise drops include a hoodie featuring a blockchain address, a tracksuit and Instagram star Gmoney’s iconic orange beanie. The NFTs sell for about $800 through Adidas’ web site. Adidas also paired the streetwear brand Bored Ape Yacht Club’s NFT for a custom Adidas tracksuit.
  • The late Stan Lee and his Pow! Entertainment company licensed NFT developer Orange Comet for NFTs with his likeness as well as that of Marvel’s first superhero of Indian descent, Chakra the Invincible, a character that premiered on Cartoon Network in 2013. The NFT will be available on Dec. 28, marking what would have been Lee’s 99th
  • It’s not always easy. To tease the availability of the first new release in 2022 of its S.T.A.L.K.E.R franchise in 13 years, GCS Game World announced plans on Thursday (Dec. 16) to release NFTs connected to it. But later that day, after facing social media backlash from fans angered that NFTs would be released before the game, GCS quickly scrapped the plans.
  • French NFT developer La Collection is bringing the British Museum’s collection into the digital world. An NFT collection initially was developed in connection with an exhibition by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai that started at the museum in September and runs through January. NFT’s of 200 works are being developed; the museum will get a 10% royalty on each resale, while La Collection gets 3%.

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