Will NFT’s disrupt the Christies, Sotheby’s, and the physical collectible market?
NFTs are non-fungible tokens that store data on the blockchain. Through NFTs, companies and individuals are able to trade digital items — and track the trading on a digital ledger. NFTs can represent videos, audio, photos, and so forth. They can be used to trade music albums, digital art, and more.
In practice, NFTs are used to store unique, digital goods. In other words, collectibles. People are able to securely trade these collectibles with the knowledge that the item is unique. They can prove that they have the “first” of a digital item. Because of this verification, these items can retain or even increase their value — they can become investments.
NFTs are creating a fast-expanding digital collectible market. But can they disrupt physical collectible markets? Could physical baseball cards and physical stamps someday become digital ones?
Physical vs. Digital: The Advantages and Disadvantages of NFT
The advantages of NFT are clear. As Ben Kopec from OnChain Music says, “NFTs are the new digital merchandise from your favorite artists. NFTs can also be digital collectible items, with the potential to rise in value over time, or the popularity of the artist.”
The truth is that a lot of the world has already gone digital. Look at how people are interfacing with media. People are streaming music. They’re downloading videos. And they have large archives of completely digital games. But part of the issue people have with these digital products is they’re not really “collections.” They can lose their streaming access at any time. They can lose their entire archives if the system goes down.
NFTs make it possible to really track and keep digital products with value. Someone can have the second copy of a digital album, or the only copy of a digital work of art. But there are downsides, too. Because NFTs are just token-based ledgers, they still “point” to these works of art; for instance, an NFT may just be a URL, which can eventually go down. Additionally, there’s nothing stopping someone from selling more copies of a digital product. The value is that the product is unique, verified, and first.
NFT’s Place in the Modern World: Why Now?
Are NFTs a good investment? It’s a complicated question.
Right now, NFTs are in their infancy. That means that there’s a lot of profit potential. But it also closes out the market; only early adopters are willing to purchase NFTs. Luckily, because of the proliferation of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency, people are getting more excited about the blockchain — and technologies like OpenSea and Mintable.
Erik Spivak says, “In my opinion, physical work will always retain its value over digital. There’s something about the energy attached to an object that will inherently put it above something that can’t be held.” Thus, NFTs could be attached to physical works; they could be attacked to mystery boxes, crates, and bags, or integrated into other types of security. But, as Erik further points out, people invest in what they believe in, and they believe in a variety of things.
As long as people are interested in NFTs, NFTs are going to have some value. And because NFTs have such a low barrier to entry, it’s very possible that some of it will yield better ROI than more complex financial instruments. But this also depends on how scaling goes for companies like Mintable.
What’s next for the NFT Market?
The world is waking up to NFTs.
They’re finding NFTs now. There will be a boom; many people who don’t even understand the blockchain or its technology are going to be investing in NFTs because it’s the “next big thing.”
Whether it really has longevity is another question. Crypto currency clearly does. But there have been many experiments with the blockchain; some have succeeded, some have not.
As Andrei Jikh points out, “The fact that they are rare makes it difficult for the creators to mint more of the same token because it’s on the blockchain. Same with Bitcoin which has 21 million maximum coins that will ever exist.” In other words, there’s an upper limit to this type of technology.
It’s likely that NFTs are going to transition at least in part to more physical products. And it’s likely that NFTs are going to have some place in the digital market — people do want access to limited, collectible products. Trading card games like “Magic: The Gathering” are an excellent example of something that could easily transition into a digital arena, allowing people to collect digital items that are unique and inherently valuable.
But NFTs are very unlikely to become all-encompassing or to unseat Christies, Sotheby’s, and other physical collectibles. It’s far more likely that the NFT market will start being used to record such transactions on the blockchain. That will make it easier to verify and track the provenance of collectible items.
Most people aren’t going to need to tie NFTs into their own tech or their mobile apps. But understanding new technologies is our business. Contact Colure’s Mobile App Development Team to either discuss projects or be featured in our next series of “Disrupting Venus.”