NFT: the unexpected comeback

Sent Nov 3, 2022, 7:05 pm

The golden age of NFTs is long gone and more and more platforms are once again vying for interest in non-fungible tokens. The size is amazing. Previously limited to two main platforms, OpenSea and Rarible, unplayable images are spreading to various applications such as Instagram, Telegram messaging, fintech Revolut or Reddit.

Some will say that these exogenous players at “Web3” (thus not using the blockchain) come after the battle as the NFT market dropped 30% in value in 2022, according to the Nansen 500 index, and 90% in volume, according to to KPMG. Others will see it, on the contrary, as a resilient technological tool that can extend beyond a sphere of insiders.

Not Cool Not Crypto Winter

Twitter had designed the first, in January, allowing fans of CryptoPunks and other Azuki or Bored Ape Yacht Clubs to show them as a profile picture, as long as they subscribe to Twitter’s Blue paid offer. Now, Elon Musk’s social network is persevering and adds the ability to buy from the platform.

Expected since spring, Instagram has not been dampened by the crypto winter, nor by the buzz around the metaverse of its parent company. The platform announces this Thursday the arrival of the NFTs, as expected, on its application. Based on the Polygon blockchain, these tokens can be created and sold within the application itself. Enough to wish a new income line for creators. And a boost for NFT volumes?

Four letters to 1.2 million

It’s not all. At the end of October, secure messaging service Telegram also announced the launch of its market. Above, rare user IDs are sold in NFT. Built on the TON blockchain, four-letter addresses have already been snapped up, evoking the Ethereum Name Service phenomenon. One of these even went to more than $ 1.2 million, enough to remind us of the heyday of speculation 3.0.

For Andrew Rogozov, one of the founders of the TON foundation, Telegram users can now prove the authenticity of their identity online. This may also have inflamed Reddit forum followers, who spent $ 1.5 million on NFT avatars in one day.

Reddit surpasses OpenSea

Registered on the Polygon blockchain, 44,000 of these avatars were created by about thirty artists. Sold for 10 to 100 euros, they are then displayed as a profile picture like on Twitter. According to the site “Cryptoast”, Reddit has managed to carefully avoid mentioning the word NFT to sell its images, preferring to speak of collectible avatars. According to Dune Analytics, most don’t even know they’ve acquired an NFT; it has therefore been a long time since the three magic letters were sufficient on their own.

The volumes traded here are far from the billions of dollars that went through OpenSea in 2021. However, Reddit has registered 3 million account creations on its Vault digital wallet (which is used to store its NFTs). A figure to weigh against the 2.3 million registered on OpenSea, yet number one in the sector.

From Revolut to Microsoft

There is more surprising. British fintech Revolut, which created instant messaging with the aim of becoming a “super app”, also plans NFT profile pictures, according to specialist media “The Block”. These tokens follow the launch of Revcoin, a cryptocurrency tailored for financial applications.

American Gamestop will also launch its NFT market in early November. Its peculiarity: it focuses on tokens linked to so-called “play-to-earn” games (playing to earn money), in order to create bridges with its activity as a video game distributor. At the same time, internet users have revealed that Microsoft – which has banned NFTs on its Minecraft game anyway – will also prepare its market. Who else ?

Stepn, a “Web3” application that rewards physical activity in cryptocurrencies, announced its NFT market the same week. With a novelty: it offers a subscription.

Less addicted to advertising

In total, almost ten very similar ads in ten days … Listen, listen, who doesn’t have their market yet?

“It is unprecedented to see these companies building projects with Web3 bricks while the market is at half-boom,” notes Stanislas Barthélémi, consultant to KPMG’s Blockchain Partner. For him, the driving force behind this renewed interest is that “cryptocurrency adoption continues to grow and NFTs are better understood.”

Perhaps the most surprising thing is yet to come. According to the expert, this new youth of NFT “reflects a reversal of the economic model of Web 2.0 players”. Very (too?) Dependent on online advertising, whose prospects in 2023 seem bad due to the international situation, social networks “would find in tokens a new way to monetize and retain their audience”.

In this game, a new catalyst could speed up the process: Elon Musk. The new Twitter owner has never hidden his appetite for cryptocurrencies. By announcing that verified accounts could cost $ 8 a month, he has effectively created a bridge to a future where profiles can be paid and, perhaps, NFT.

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