Though it continues to evolve at a seemingly warp speed, the world is beginning to get used to Crypto and Blockchain. What once were fringe technology revolutions a few years ago have now achieved mainstream fame and success. The more cynically inclined among us may have turned their noses up when it was first mentioned at a party somewhere. But now, just about everyone has taken note of its soaring popularity and adoption.
The advancements made in crypto and blockchain technology have not been fads, but rather have been able to solve real problems in the digital world. The latest in the line of crypto-led and blockchain-enabled ideas is NFT’s.
NFT’s, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are digital assets that can be bought and sold digitally. NFT has been ruling the roost in online circles for a while now, but there is some real momentum behind it now, with various brands and influencers leveraging NFT’s for marketing and even revenue.
In this piece, let’s first deconstruct the idea of NFT’s, and then discuss what NFT’s could mean for the future of influencer marketing. There are some great applications that are already making waves in the industry, and we will take a look at them as well.
So, What Exactly Is An NFT?
Remember your collection of baseball cards? Or maybe Pokemon cards? Or any other cards we used to collect and trade all those years ago when we were in school? There was some value we attached to each of these cards, whether it be tangible or sentimental. Some cards were universally considered to be more valuable than others because they were rare or unique.
Now, imagine the same concept, but in digital format. A card that you own, one that has some value attached to it that you can freely buy, sell, and trade. This is the simplest way we can understand NFTs – they are digital assets that you can own which are unique and backed by blockchain technology.
It is important to understand what “non-fungible” means in this instance. Essentially, non-fungible means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. So for instance, if you have a $100 bill, it has a definite value attached to it, but it is not unique and the value does not change. This would be deemed a “fungible” asset. On the flip side, non-fungible implies that the asset is unique and does not have a fixed value. Much like a limited edition baseball card or a painting by a famous artist, the value of the asset is rooted in its uniqueness.
NFTs are facilitated by the Ethereum blockchain, which allows NFT ownership information to be stored in a decentralized ledger. That means no one can copy or forge a digital asset, and it wouldn’t take much time to evaluate the authenticity of the asset.
Why Are NFT’s Exciting?
Physical assets are easy to keep track of, and the uniqueness of each of the items is easy to establish. We have been buying and selling physical assets since the dawn of man. But digital assets are a whole other ballgame. Because they aren’t physical assets, it can be difficult to keep track of copying and misuse of these digital assets unless you protect them and ensure they can’t be downloaded or accessed outside of your platform. NFTs solve this problem using blockchain technology.
Each asset has a unique ID and meta information that can’t be forged or copied. It is a one-of-a-kind asset that belongs to the person who owns it, period. While it may be difficult to completely protect the asset from being forged or copied, the copies do not have the uniqueness or value of the original asset.
NFT opens all kinds of possibilities in the digital space, and digital art is one of the key areas. Similar to the way you would sell paintings and other physical assets, digital art can be sold in the same fashion. If you are an artist in today’s world, you have to rely on partnerships and other means to monetize your work. But NFTs would allow you to create and sell unique and individual pieces of art on a platform less reliant upon partnerships. There are clear applications in the areas of music, books, videos, and more. NFTs can be a gamechanger for digital content creators of all types.
Marketers are also looking at NFTs as an exciting opportunity. They are a great way to engage your customers, give them unique items as giveaways, and more. There is also a growing interest in NFTs from various kinds of businesses that rely on digital assets.
Where Are NFT’s Currently Being Used?
There have been all sorts of interesting things that have happened with NFTs thus far. Here are a couple of noteworthy examples.
NBA Top Shot: NBA is one of the first major sports leagues to delve into NFTs. The NBA allows fans to buy and sell key moments from the past in the form of NFTs. You can browse the highlight-reel moments from your favorite player or team and buy unique clips. The NBA releases these tokens in batches and allows customers to buy and sell these NFTs on the marketplace.
NFTacoBells: Taco Bell released 25 NFT GIFs that they created, and within minutes, these GIFs were sold out for thousands of dollars.
Logan Paul: The YouTube star-turned-boxer created 3000 Pokemon-inspired NFTs that sold for over $3.5 million on the first day they were released.
Grimes: the Canadian musician sold 10 NFTs of her digital avatar ‘WarNymph’ for $6 million.
These are just a few of the instances where NFTs have already created a ripple, but they are just the start of many things to come.
So What Does This Mean For Influencers?
Influencers are one of the key groups that would be cheering NFTs on because of the kind of potential it possesses. NFTs offer them a way to monetize their following in more ways than one. There are also other angles here to explore.
New Opportunities For Monetization
NFTs are great monetization tools for online creators. As it stands today, influencers generally have limited ways of monetizing their following and engagement. They rely primarily on collaborations and brand partnerships to make money. But NFT’s give them a new avenue to generate revenue.
There’s already a lot of influencers who are already working on NFT’s. David Hoffmann, a travel blogger, is using NFT’s to sell moments from his tour to India, where followers would be able to bid for and purchase NFT’s of his exclusive videos. This is just one of many examples of campaigns that influencers are planning around NFT’s.
Additionally, NFT’s also give influencers a way to earn not just from a single sale – but also any future sales. It is possible to design the NFT’s in such a way that online creators get a share of the future sales when someone who owns their NFT is selling in a marketplace.
For art, fashion, and lifestyle influencers, NFT’s are an attractive way to sell exclusive works. The security offered by NFT’s make it a very unique sales model for protecting their work, and also perhaps enhancing its value. Gaming influencers are also interested, as they can create and sell assets to their massive followings. It is not hard to imagine multiplayer game environments where NFT weapons or artifacts are traded between gamers and it’s already happening to some extent. NFT’s can also provide more material benefits like event tickets, subscriptions, and more. These are also avenues that influencers can explore to engage with the followers
Engagement is another angle to explore with NFTs. If one is not looking at monetization alone, NFTs offer great value for giveaways if you are trying to run a campaign or building your following. Influencers can create NFTs that the followers would value and be in high demand. They can be given away as rewards for a contest or as an add-on reward for engaging with collaboration posts.
NFTs also have a role to play in sustainability and philanthropy. They can be great fund-raising tools, the income from which could be used to pay for carbon emission offsets or to any charity of their choice. There are seemingly endless possibilities in how NFT’s can be utilized.
It should be made clear that NFT’s are not just shiny new objects that people are obsessed with. In fact, they aren’t technically objects at all. Digital asset management is not an easy task, and in a pandemic-ridden world where we are increasingly digital, NFT offers a way to make digital assets unique and valuable. Beyond the concerns surrounding intellectual property, it is mostly about the rarity that is attached to an asset.
We are used to handling physical assets. But as the digital world continues to become more prominent, digital assets are legitimately the next big thing. From work that originates from flights of fancy to valuable and unique art, NFT’s give a clear and unique identity to all digital assets. We are excitedly looking forward to how they change the way we work with digital assets.