Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have skyrocketed in popularity within the past year, eclipsing $23 billion in total volumes over the course of 2021.
According to the latest DappRadar report, NFTs have continued with a similar trend this year, with the number of unique traders and sales increasing by 8% and 2%, respectively.
These metrics come as no surprise given the interest by various stakeholders to join the burgeoning NFT ecosystem.
Some of the recent highlights include Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement to integrate NFTs with Instagram. This comes barely six months since Facebook rebranded to Meta in a quest to debut a metaverse for its clients.
Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg; looking back, one can get the gist of the NFT trend based on key moments such as Beeple’s $69 million sales at the Christie’s auction.
This sale was perhaps one of the pivotal moments in the NFT ecosystem. Not only did it pave the way for other digital artists, but set the stage for pixel-generated collectibles such as BAYC.
Today, the price floor of one BAYC is 106 ETH ($296,000 as per the prevailing market prices), a figure that stakeholders believe will go higher as more people join the club.
Notably, a number of celebrities own BAYC apes, including Justin Bieber, Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, and Snoop Dogg. Even better, innovators are still launching more unique NFT projects for the masses.
Cutting Edge NFT Innovations & Trends
While the likes of BAYC and Cryptopunks made headlines in 2021, NFT play-to-earn (p2e) games dominated close to 50% of the active user wallets.
The Axie Infinity game took home the lion’s share, capturing the attention of players in developing countries such as the Philippines. It has also recently surpassed $4 billion in all-time sales as per the latest on-chain metrics.
Following the Axie Infinity momentum, there are other emerging NFT-oriented games that propose a unique value to the larger gaming ecosystem.
One of the unique projects that is gradually gaining traction is Battle Drones, an action-focused game built on the Solana blockchain.
This p2e combat-style game allows players to race or fly drones within a decentralized gaming environment.
The Battle Drones gaming platform leverages a native token dubbed ‘BATTLE’ to incentivize players. In addition, one can purchase and sell in-game items to enhance their performance or convert the digital collectibles into a different crypto asset.
Though still in its early stages, Battle Drones is currently compatible with PCs. The platform also features other functionalities, including staking and token incentives for Battle Drone NFT holders.
Besides the NFT gaming market, the metaverse has also become popular within and outside the crypto community.
This relatively new concept is still fascinating to most people, given that one can now exist in a virtual world. Some of the popular metaverse worlds include Decentraland and the Sandbox.
Paris Hilton is among the Hollywood celebrities that have partnered with the Sandbox to create a replica of her Beverly Hills mansion. A trend that is fast catching up with other prominent figures across various sectors.
NFTs are the Future of Art and Gaming
For a long time, artists have had to rely on centralized market auctions to monetize their creative work. NFTs are now saving the day by facilitating global marketplaces where anyone can showcase and sell their art.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is one of the billionaires who believe in the potential of this futuristic marketplace.
Cuban, who also owns an NFT collection, recently told CNBC that NFTs are just proof of the underlying value in decentralization and smart contracts,
“NFTs, while they’re hot right now and everybody is talking about them, they’re really more just a proof of concept for what you can do with smart contracts and decentralization,”
As for the gaming ecosystem, NFTs have introduced more value for in-game items. Ideally, NFT-focused games eliminate the barrier in traditional gaming systems where one can only use an item within a particular game.
Looking into the future, it is likely that the $178 billion gaming industry will integrate NFTs, enabling a decentralized gaming economy.
This is already in play with large publishers such as Ubisoft launching NFT projects while Nintendo has also expressed an interest in digital collectibles.