Earlier this summer, CNN and The New York Times each warned that a non-cooking token bubble (NFT) fueled by noise about digital art reviews and interest from collectors may have exploded.
As the sixth employee at a social media startup called Wildfire – which was acquired by Google in 2012 – I know skeptics and cautionary stories about new technologies all too well. Based on my experience in entertainment, licensing and blockchain technology, I think that bursting the so-called NFT bubble could be positive for the future of the industry. The industry is so nascent that we’re the first to beat it now.
Related:Beyond the hype: the real value of the NFT has yet to be determined
NFTs: Industry to Explore
Public attention is always shifting from one trend to the next, so the popularity of the otherworldly NFTs we see will eventually wane. This gives us in the industry an incredible opportunity to explore the many doors that NFT will open for creators, intellectual property owners, and consumers alike.
For brands looking to grow and reach new audiences, NFT is becoming an effective marketing channel. As NFT gains more mainstream recognition than it originally did, creators will have the opportunity to reach more and more users. Platforms like Telegram, Twitch, and Discord have shown many ways to create and maintain fan bases. Imagine how a strong NFT market would complement this growing movement.
As a digital certificate of authenticity, the NFT can act as the guardian of intellectual property rights. The NFT space will eventually resemble a music publishing model in which music publishers and songwriters amass a portfolio of copyrights to provide a constant, ongoing source of royalties that add value. The creation of a management platform that will allow IP owners to manage NFT transactions (think business intelligence, analytics and CRM functions) is in the works.
Related: Unusable Tokens: New Paradigm for Intellectual Property?
The NFT also acts as a digital pass, completely revolutionizing the fan experience and reinventing the idea of a fan club for artists, brands and IP owners. As the world opens fully in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans will be using their NFT catalog to unlock behind-the-scenes offers, VIP experiences, and special get-togethers. Since digital assets, like physical goods, are based on economic principles of supply and demand, scarcity will add value and increase the number of consumers and digital natives who want to participate at the grassroots level. Additionally, the environment-based NFT will drive the experience both offline and online.
NFTs: Let’s go on
The future of NFT is getting stronger as we in the industry continue to think of our fans and consumers first. We need to divert media and consumer attention away from six and seven digit primary sales to focus on creating real value by bringing real value to the NFT. We need to focus on creating smart, strategic NFT collections (rather than one-time reductions) to add more value over time as the benefits of purchased NFTs become more apparent.
The industry is developing rapidly from what I consider NFT 1.0 – NFT as digital collectibles – to NFT 2.0 – NFT as a storytelling medium. Projects like Stoner Cats are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using NFT as an access token for viewing exclusive video content. What’s even more exciting is that NFTs are storytelling vehicles in which NFTs are supported by in-depth gamified strategies and community levels and become key components of a cross-platform and cross-platform storytelling experience.
At Wildfire, we always knew that high tide would lift all boats. We have made significant efforts to support not just our company but the entire social media marketing portfolio. I think the same about the emerging NFT industry. Most importantly, NFT companies need to focus consistently on fans and consumers so that we don’t become an industry steeped in false and short-sighted monetization perceptions.
Related: Navigating the NFT Minefield: It should be easy for first-time buyers
NFT becomes a fan’s permanent passport and gateway to unique experiences – both online and offline. This will happen as NFT collections become smarter, more strategic and diverse, and offer meaningful benefits that support ongoing fan engagement.
As the industry matures, people will become more sophisticated in their way of thinking about NFTs and the ultimate value NFTs bring to fans and intellectual property owners. This utility is becoming increasingly important as fans and consumers alike try to better understand the “what to do” factor behind the NFT. So what do I own this NFT. . . What can it do for me What are the benefits to my life? What value will I get from owning this NFT and how long will that value last?
The industry will continue to make great strides as key innovators in this space shift our focus to community, game mechanics, and narrative storytelling to get real value and benefit from the NFTs we market.
Ben Arnon is Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Curio, an NFT platform for the entertainment industry. Ben’s career began in the entertainment business with starring roles at Jersey Films, Universal Pictures, Universal Music Group, and Yahoo! Music. In 2010, he joined tech startup Wildfire and helped scale the company for its takeover by Google. Ben held a sales leadership position at Google for four years before moving back into entertainment.