The NFT Rage Continues To Grow. What’s Next?
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A new report published by Cointelegraph Research, “Non-fungible Tokens: A New Frontier,” suggests that NFT sales may cross USD 17 billion in 2021.
Yes, you heard that right!
2021 has been a breakthrough year for NFTs. Even though non-fungible tokens have been around for some time, sales grew from just USD 41 million in 2018 to a staggering USD 2.5 billion during the first half of 2021, amounting to nearly 60x growth in three and a half years.
That said, even compared to 2020, the growth of NFTs in 2021 is overwhelming. In 2020, the total sales volume of NFTs reached USD 340 million. And with still one month to go, NFT sales volume has already crossed USD 9 billion this year.
But what is driving this growth?
One of the most critical factors behind this surge in demand for NFTs is that an increasing number of blockchain companies (and traditional businesses) are integrating these non-fungible tokens within their existing business models. For instance, 2021 stands witness to the explosive growth of blockchain-based games that primarily rely on NFTs. From Axie Infinity, Splinterlands, and Gods Unchained to several new and promising games - all of them have contributed to the growing dominance of NFTs.
Data from DappRadar indicates that while the early sales of NFTs were driven by collectibles such as CryptoKitties, Cryptopunks, and The Bored Ape Yacht Club, among others, NFT games took over the market quickly. By the end of 2019, NFTs of in-game assets gained mainstream popularity as active player bases started expanding on game platforms like Gods Unchained, Decentraland, and dozens of other dApps.
Since then, blockchain gaming has single-handedly contributed to the majority of the NFT transactions, including in-game collectibles and metaverse assets.
Not only do NFTs guarantee 100% ownership of in-game assets, but they also enable players to monetize these assets. Besides, the gaming industry is one of the fastest-growing industries. The merger of blockchain and gaming has opened the doors to a whole new world of opportunities for game developers and players alike. In addition to this nascent development, the metaverse is expanding into new horizons simultaneously. As more and more projects line up for the metaverse, demand for NFTs is forecast only to grow stronger.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the most promising NFT-related projects that will play crucial roles in shaping the future of the NFT market.
Conveying NFT’s Powerful Capabilities To A Global User Base
First up, we would like to discuss a decentralized content-sharing platform. Creaton, built on Polygon, aims to provide the infrastructure enabling creators to easily monetize their content directly without any centralized authority.
Unlike other content sharing platforms, especially those in the Web2 ecosystem, Creaton gives creators full ownership and control over their content, allowing them to accept paid subscriptions from their fans and engage several other monetization avenues. Creaton accomplishes this by tokenizing all content into NFTs before storing the newly minted creations in a decentralized database powered by Arweave and encrypted by the Lit Protocol.
Employing NFTs, smart contracts, and Polygon’s speed, interoperability, and cost-efficiency, Creaton has pioneered the concept of “decentralized and encrypted” membership. The platform recently concluded a successful fundraising round, collecting USD 1.1 million from a consortium of investors.
Infinity is the next project set to express the powerful potential of NFTs to a mass-market audience. As a community-driven decentralized NFT marketplace, Infinity introduces the unique concept of InfinityDAO, a DAO-controlled NFT marketplace, protocol, and treasury that also supports programmable NFTs.
If you aren’t already familiar with the trends, experts claim that programmable NFTs are the future. Ideally, any NFT is programmable, but this function is widely underutilized for now. Programmable NFTs can offer many operational benefits since they can be “programmed” to adapt and change over time.
The platform has emerged as the potential alternative to OpenSea, the recipient of sharp criticism for data leaks and high fees. Infinity offers lower transaction fees of just 1.5% (OpenSea charges 2.5%). Moreover, all transaction fees on Infinity are passed directly to the community-controlled InfinityDAO, unlike OpenSea, where all profits are distributed among the platform’s team.
Beyond the unique monetization avenues that NFTs are opening up for creators, consumers and players are also set to benefit. The first-ever mafia metaverse that brings the legendary syndicate-themed gameplay onto the blockchain, SYN CITY, is another promising NFT gaming project to watch. Developed by Roy Liu, formerly the Head of Business and Marketing of TRON, and Mihai Pohontu, who served as Vice President at Samsung and Disney, the game is also backed by Justin Kan (Twitch co-founder) and Goat Capital (founded by Zynga co-founder Robin Chan).
SYN CITY is a 100% free-to-play, play-to-earn blockchain game that embraces real-world non-fungible token (NFT) utilities and decentralized finance (DeFi) functions. Since each asset within the game is an NFT, it holds real value both within the game and in secondary marketplaces. Players can buy, sell, and trade their NFTs to generate additional revenue. Furthermore, SYN CITY also introduces the first-of-its-kind Mafia-as-a-DAO (MaaD) concept to automate decisions and facilitate transactions. The MaaD system will also ensure fair gameplay, transparency, and near-instant payments.
Gaming alone is not pushing the boundaries of NFTs. After flying under the radar, Space is an emerging metaverse-centric project that aims to establish itself as the next frontier of social commerce experiences in the metaverse. As a result of the team's extensive research, Space addresses social and economic aspects in tandem with the seamless integration of services that will allow commerce to thrive in the metaverse.
Owing to its fully customizable features and immersive experience, the Space team has already attracted a flurry of new users and backing from several Tier-1 funds like Coinfund, Dapper Labs, Digital Currency Group, Animoca, and Hof Capital, among others.
Simply put, Space is a realistic 3D world where anyone can build a life (and a career) as they want to. The platform features hyper-realistic graphics and more accessible builder tools with commerce functionality to ensure everyone can partake in the virtual ecosystem. Since emerging from stealth mode, the platform has already acquired more than a hundred brand partnerships, spanning arts, music, and fashion.
Considering the NFT growth trajectory that has already materialized alongside the growing presence of blockchain games and the metaverse, it is no overstatement to claim that NFTs are the future. 2021 has merely showcased that we are only scratching the surface when it comes to realizing the vast potential of NFTs. The next leg of this trend will undoubtedly unleash new, valuable use cases that can further the innovative potential of this novel architecture.