- The OpenSea marketplace recorded an absolute monthly trading volume high of $2.43 billion.
- NFTs target investor demographics from the crypto space as well as the art/collectibles space.
- Fractional NFTs demonstrate investor intent to create secondary markets for the transaction of NFT parts.
Bitcoin’s store of value narrative was developed after users identified possibilities for financial gains. As digital gold, Bitcoin is bought and transacted on the market, but is rarely spent as currency, affirming and reinforcing its status as a store of value.
Conversely, the purpose of NFTs is to confer ownership of a deemed asset and showcase status, offering investors the possibility to acquire a unique token for its intrinsic market value. But how can NFTs legitimize their reputation?
How NFTs Gain Value
Crypto Twitter avatars use popular NFTs to showcase their community ranking and affiliation, as the NFT market shows no signs of a bubble. According to data from Non-Fungible.com, OpenSea recorded sales amounting to $2.3 billion. Additionally, during an interview with The Street, Gary Vaynerchuk highlighted that NFT traders purchase tokens deemed as “Disney, or Lucas,” inferring large volumes entering the NFT market.
The popularity of Beeple’s artwork showcased that money flows due to the “what if,” factor and scarcity of the NFT, similarly to how physical artwork is priced. However, the decentralization of digital collectibles and NFTs generates a gold rush as price floors are established by supply and demand. In a Cameron Economics paper, the author argues that the creative sector is reminiscent of a “gala dinner,” as the prices of artwork are driven by intrinsic market value, which helps to create “the demand for art.”
From Crypto to Institutions
In the NFT space, industry trends ignite user interest in blockchain by-products and NFT collectibles, with CryptoPunks and BAYC transforming into the 2020 equivalent of Uniswap. In a private message to DailyCoin, NFT collector eXile wrote:
"NFTs are becoming more interesting to invest in as they do attract both traditional crypto investors and collectibles investors."
To that end, NFTs gain from the interplays of supply and demand and the new means for investors, and crypto Twitter, to showcase their affiliations and implications in the new digital art revolution.
Blockchain’s rapid evolution shines a spotlight on one blockchain product at a time. Tesla & Microstrategy bought Bitcoin in early 2021, reinforcing its use as a store of value. As the industry entered the so-called NFT summer, it was announced that Visa purchased a CryptoPunk for $150,000, denoting a “new chapter in commerce.” Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto, said on the matter:
"The purchase is less about any individual Punk, and more about the CryptoPunk collection as a whole and what it represents."
As eXile underlined, prominent figures in the entertainment and venture capital industry are investing in NFTs. Their actions, coupled with those of enterprises, reflect on society as a whole, as they intrinsically apply financial value to the whole NFT spectrum.
Noelle Acheson told Insider that NFTs are more about experiences than quick profits. However, as crypto history has exhibited, most retail mania is driven by a desire to increase profit margins.
On The Flipside
- NFT collectors have a limited understanding of security, price, and technological risks as novice DeFi investors.
- Ethereum will challenge NFTs and Bitcoin as a store of value as its total supply continues to decrease.
- While Bitcoin was criticized for its high energy usage, NFTs use similar amounts of energy to mint.
As the price floor of NFTs grows, their non-fungibility properties can be leveraged for investment. In 2018, Marc Howard discussed F-NFTs, or fractional NFTs, arguing that fractionalization could incentivize NFT fraction trading, while not hurting fractional co-owners.
It is well known that NFT prices are arbitrary, however investor motives for purchase vary depending on the type of transaction and whether it is for speculative purposes, or rather for its cultural value. Yet, networks like NFTX create liquid secondary markets, increasing an NFT’s status as a store of value.
Money and technology historian Franklin Noll believes the expansion of F-NFTs into secondary markets would incentivize investors to append the NFT market. Regardless, Bitcoin will continue to be a store of value asset, although investors will increasingly consider NFTs as an alternative cryptocurrency store of value.
Why You Should Care?
NFTs bear similar risks when it comes to investing as any other cryptocurrency due to the fact that most authors and developers are still unknown. Therefore, NFT investors need to account for technological and financial risks when investing. However, it can certainly be seen that NFTs have a role to play in developing the new metaverse and the future of Web 3.0’s infrastructure.