There is an important connection between Gaming and the Metaverse. Video games are often derided as a waste of time, but when you take a step back and look at the connection between gaming and NFTs, we have much to thank gamers for.
If not for the millions of people spending their money within digital gaming worlds, from Grand Theft Auto V to Fortnite and everything in between, we would have no frame of reference for purely digital assets holding real-world tradable value.
Similar to the gaming universe, different corners of the metaverse are being built using artistry, graphic design, and 3D rendering to create digital playgrounds that are often just as immersive as real life.
The gaming universe is evolving into the metaverse, with games like Gods Unchained and Upland as examples of true hybrids of the two – allowing players to create real-world wealth through their in-game economies.
“You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” – Maya Angelou
One could view the metaverse as the lovechild of gaming and cryptocurrency, where people can now create and own a customized digital space on the secure foundation of the blockchain. The micro-economies that support new worlds like Decentraland or Cryptovoxelsare only beginning to take hold, but the cost of owning land or custom items is a hurdle for many newcomers. According to Michael Bouhanna, head of sales at Sotheby’s:
“We see spaces like Decentraland as the next frontier for digital art where artists, collectors and viewers alike can engage with one another from anywhere in the world and showcase art that is fundamentally scarce and unique, but accessible to anyone for viewing,”
NFTs are an important aspect of the expansive digital space known as the metaverse – they are the artwork on your digital walls, the shoes on your digital feet or even the keys to your digital vehicle or home.
With Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) taking both video games and digital art to an entirely new level of immersion, the connection to gaming becomes even more apparent.
People engage with the digital world for the escape and security provided by the programmed yet unpredictable spaces that pop up. With artistry and 3D rendering comes important literature necessary to tell a story that ties everything together. According to Anand Venkateswaran, aka Twobadour, who runs the Metapurse fund:
“The current Cambrian explosion of NFTs that you see is all about acquisition – people want to buy up NFTs, gobble as many of them as they can, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real explosion will happen when they’re able to … experience these NFTs as they were intended. If it’s a plot of virtual land, you ought to move around in it, have an immersive experience in it.”
To understand why NFTs in their digital art use-case are exploding, you don’t have to look any further than the gaming industry. And just like a good video game tells a compelling story, a good NFT should create an emotional connection and tell its own story that pulls in the collector.
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The Shitcoin conference was just held in Miami on June 3rd and 4th, just down the road from this year’s largest crypto event, the Bitcoin conference. According to the Shitcoin conference website, “Shitcoin 2021 is dedicated to all the companies that got turned away from participating in one of the largest crypto events.” the event slogan is “because F*ck Maximalism,” and I agree!
The event was masterminded by Kenn Bosak, a Bitcoiner since 2015. Bosak has traveled around the world attending over 200 Blockchain conferences, also happens to be one of the most well known NFT creators and influencers in the Wax blockchain ecosystem. Kenn is great at creating an engaged and loyal community. I have seen first hand his generosity and commitment to his community and in helping others get into the NFT space. He was actually one of the influencers who made me fall in love with what I saw going on in the Wax NFT community.
One of the key takeaways I received from Kenn was that there is a shift taking place right now. Especially within the creative spaces wherein NFT creators and companies need to transition from acquiring customers to creating communities. This is all made more possible via the use of non-fungible tokens. The wild, free and open vibe of the Shitcoin conference was evident as soon as you walked in the door. While I did not attend the Bitcoin conference for several reasons, the main one being that I am not a maximalist and personally believe that attitude to be completely anti-innovation, I did run into some incredible characters that I connected with who did attend the Bitcoin conference. One of them goes by the name @hyperspek who had this to say about the Bitcoin conference: “The Bitcoin maxis really seemed to have blinders to the future of blockchain innovation. Understandable for some who still have PTSD from getting rekt last cycle. As they try to adapt an “old” technology not really designed for these applications, they will get left for dead by what is happening on ETH and other platforms.”
Hyperspek is an investor and NFT collector who also happens to be a virtual gallery builder. He showed me his gallery in Crypto Voxels and it was amazing, he likes to make art with other art and is quite good at doing so! His attention to details and his creativity was impressive. You can check out his awesome collection and gallery here
To me personally, being a Bitcoin maximalist is like saying “I like airplanes and what they allow, but not helicopters, planes without props or jet engines. This kind of thinking is nonsensical and will not pass muster in the grand scheme of technological innovation. There will be many protocols, many will fail, but innovation and experimentation will dictate what survives. The stark contrast of the Shitcoin conference and crowd was much more open to new ideas, fun, and was largely centered around NFTS. The atmosphere was younger, less refined, more tolerant, and brimming with excitement for the future of NFTs and blockchain technology. It seems quite evident that there will be another event next year because the demand from the community is definitely there. Next year’s event will almost certainly be a few blocks away from the next Bitcoin conference as a statement against the very term “Shitcoin.” Meant to encompass everything that is not Bitcoin, to include non-fungible tokens, and create something which the community can embrace and own.
The lineup of speakers at this year’s Shitcoin conference can be seen here, and I am sure next year’s event will improve on this. Some interesting concepts that were discussed while I attended were: the fractionalized ownership of assets by blockcities, regenerative farming, and how blockchain can play a role during the Blockchain for Impact panel. In this particular talk, Irina Litchfield, founder of Blockchain -Cubed, a blockchain technology consulting firm and adviser for Prochain Capital, discussed some innovative solutions.
From Crypto hedge fund managers to NFT artists, defi protocol developers to musicians, comedians to filmmakers. The diversity represented within this year’s Shitcoin conference is more reflective in my opinion of what the future of NFTs and blockchain looks like. In all fairness, I do believe that an overwhelming majority of the crypto community are not in the cult of Bitcoin maximalist and do support innovation and advancement within this space.
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At 1 pm on June 8th, 2021, TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington listed his Kyiv Apartment for sale through Propy, marking what will hopefully be the world’s first NFT Real Estate Sale. Arrington is using Propy’s protocol for the transfer of full ownership rights with each trade of the NFT. Despite taking place in Eastern Europe, This framework is based on US legislation and thus will hopefully lead to promoting real estate NFTs amongst US-based real estate firms at scale. While this headline is still a first, this is not Arrington’s first time processing a real estate transaction on the blockchain. In fact, Arrington purchased his Ukraine apartment back in 2017 with Ethereum, also through Propy. A few years later, Propy will be taking the helm on auctioning the same property, but this time as a real estate-backed NFT. Though it will probably spark a bidding war, the starting price is only 8 ETH or just under $20,000 USD as of today.
One of the many interesting aspects of this potential sale has to do with an analogy that has been made in the space frequently over the past few months. Comparing NFTs or Smart Contracts to the deed of a house. This project takes this a step further by actually finding a way to officially and legally mint this property as an NFT. According to Propy:
“In the current legal environment, title deeds cannot be directly represented by a token, but legal entities can. The apartment is owned by a Delaware Limited Liability Company (LLC). The LLC is ‘tokenized into’ a specific NFT and made available for purchase.”
So now that it’s live, how will this bidding process work? Now that the seller has signed the proprietary legal paperwork for the NFTs, the bidding has officially begun and bidders’ names are being aggregated by Propy. According to their site, once the final bid is accepted, the transaction should be able to be processed and accepted “within a minute.” This extremely quick timeframe alone should be attractive to many used to typical lengthy wait times within the real estate space. This will hopefully act as a new prime example and real-world use case for how NFTs can go so far beyond simply a buzzword, but that smart-contract technology, in the form of NFTs, really can be used to tokenize or certify anything. What other financial process can transact even $20,000 USD within one minute? Unless you are very friendly with a private banker, most traditional institutions would make processing a transaction of this size intentionally difficult in order to dissuade customers from withdrawing sizable portions of funds.
However, Michael Arrington seems to be of the mindset that no matter how large the purchase, doing so through a blockchain, and furthermore an NFT, is a clear evolution of the process. Not only is the transaction completed within a minute, but you have a virtual unfalsifiable certificate that you effectively can’t physically lose. To Arlington, from the outside, this seems extremely logical. And many leading voices within the space agree. According to Investor Tim Draper: “I am excited about how NFTs in the virtual world are going to be applied to real estate in the physical world. I suspect that people will soon be able to buy a building, buy the air rights and buy the virtual rights of any physical space. The future is awesome.” (I absolutely agree).
On top of the home itself, the sale will come along with An NFT Art Piece hanging on a wall as well as a printed cyberpunk picture as unlockable content. Furthermore, of course, the sale will also come along with access to ownership-specific transferred paperwork, the apartment picture, and a unique NFT by a popular Kyiv graffiti artist, Chizz. There is also a physical painting of the digital artwork which is painted on a wall of the apartment.
Interested in seeing this for yourself? Check out the project landing page here, and if you feel the urge to be a part of history, the bidding is still quite low considering!
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On June 2nd, this past Tuesday, a virtual art show took place in parallel with a number of events happening in Miami this week. What set this show apart from most of the physical events happening across Bitcoin Conference Miami, Shitcoin 2021, and a number of NTFS.tips events – this show was presented entirely virtually. Curated by Trish Reda, as per the commission of JenJoy Roybal of Ntfs.tips curation team, this show featured over two dozen diverse photographers and image-makers from around the world. Displayed in a virtual world constructed by the talented Roger Kenny, called “Road Gallery,” the space evoked a midnight drive across a desert. Except, in which, either side of the road was featuring beautiful billboard-sized renderings of photographic NFTs. The experience is truly unique, as one enters the space, you feel the need to speed up and get through the show. However, the user’s character moves slowly with intentionality, lingering on each piece in order to give it the time and appreciation that it deserves. As the viewer moves through a star-lit desert vista, new pieces of art emerge in the distance, each one entirely unique and striking in and of itself.
And the STILL photography show is up and going. There are two of them, linked here and below. I want to thank @RogerWallstreet for all of his hard work. I threw him a few curve balls for sure. Join us at 1pm PST in Clubhouse to meet the photographers. https://t.co/Ww5PakUG2F
The show featured a healthy mix of established voices and exciting new talent. Including staples in the NFT photography space such as Matthew Neubauer, Sean Bonner, and John Knopf (the current highest-selling photographer in the NFT space). At the same time, featuring a number of fresh/up-and-coming voices, handpicked by Reda herself, including Raven “50mm,” Dariush Raad, Amat Toussaint, and many others. This diverse and decentralized blend of talent from all over the world spans a vast array of practices and styles within the confines of photographic work. From analogue to digital, unprocessed to heavily manipulated, traditional images to animated ones. This virtual art show displayed the near full palette of options that have been made available to photographers active in the space today. In fact, the cavalcade of styles and processes exhibited in such a new-age format gave the show quite a futuristic feel. Though this could simply be my personal bias as I, the writer, was one of the artists featured and this was my personal first ever purely digital gallery exhibition.
However, my own involvement aside, there are three key aspects I’d like to take away from this experience as a viewer. 1) The virtual space that this was held in was, and is, constructed beautifully. If you haven’t yet – please make sure to click the first embedded tweet and follow the link directly to the show. It’s a custom gallery created in Mozilla hubs, and while it may not be the most realistic virtual experience I have ever had, it was definitely one of the most visually appealing. 2) The diversity and range in artists from all different styles and backgrounds all within the confines of one specific medium were extremely encouraging. In a time where companies and individuals alike find excuses for lacking diversity on a daily basis – Trish Reda came into this space as a fresh curator and, intentionally or not, truly acted as a champion of diversity and representation. From representing artists all over the world to a healthy mix of race and gender expressions to purposefully highlighting several queer artists (such as my partner and myself) in celebration of Pride Month – Trish truly went above and beyond. 3) Finally, just because I’m so impressed, I need to mention the time frame. Trish reached out to me only 5 days before the exhibit. So, in a matter of about a week, Trish Reda was able to coordinate with over two dozen artists and promote an extremely well-received event and corresponding clubhouse room. While I’m not surprised, as both Trish and the NTFS.tips team are absolute powerhouses, I am nonetheless extremely impressed. Most established galleries would struggle to do the same and Trish, more or less independently, pulled off the impossible in just one week!
A wholehearted BRAVA to Trish and all of the artists involved!
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The gaming retailer that took over the news media during its recent Wall Street bets fiasco, that saw major hedge funds short its stock after being squeezed by retail investors on reddit, is now doing exactly what I had hoped they would.
They have quietly revealed that they are currently working on a new non-fungible token (NFT) platform.
Super excited & honoured to be part this chapter of @GameStop – building our blockchain division.
The ‘reveal page’ is cryptic, but there are a number of details that can already be seen. For instance, we know that they are currently assembling a team “We welcome exceptional engineers (solidity, react, python), designers, gamers, marketers, and community leaders. If you want to join our team, send your profile or something you’ve built to: email@example.com.”
There is also a smart contract address that you can look at on etherscan, that hints at additional details. Most notably, the contract suggests that GameStop NFTs will use Ethereum’s ERC-721 non-fungible token standard with further evidence of a GME token implementation.
Details around this project are in stealth mode, however we are seeing activity on Twitter where some additional insights can already be gleaned.
This project is exciting to me personally, as I remember during the Wallstreet Bets fiasco the level of energy and excitement in GameStop as a company, and what they could potentially do to reinvigorate their brand. With new energy and capital being raised on the backs of Hedge funds, the sky’s the limit. I had only wished I had the opportunity to present to someone at GameStop myself. I would share that they should get into NFTs ASAP, and incorporate non-fungible technology into their mainstream gaming ecosystem.
I thought that being able to resell old games, one of GameStops’ main revenue streams, would benefit greatly from being on the blockchain. Allowing game developers to continue to receive royalties from secondary sales which could create increased longevity for development studios. I immediately saw so many potential applications and possibilities. GameStop with this kind of new capital, being pointed toward the Blockchain and Non-fungible token technology, could be revolutionary for the entire crypto ecosystem. Fast forward to May 2021, and it seems as if GameStop has figured it all out without me. Maybe I should have minted a non-fungible token with my idea at the time to prove I had these ideas about NFTs and GameStop first. The underdog energy that fuels the ‘Wall Street Bets’ movement paired with the incredibly passionate gaming community and the fanatics of crypto culture is a clear recipe for explosive growth in my opinion. I am very interested in seeing how this team begins to form up, and what additional details we can discover in regards to what GameStop has up its sleeves. In the meantime, I would expect a new injection of hype and interest all over the interwebs around a GameStop NFT entry. GameStonks NFTs here we come!
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Maxwell Step is a 27 year old Canadian artist that plays with pixels to create stunning portraits. His work displays inspirational images in detailed, yet pixelated, form and is listed for sale on the blockchain via several high profile NFT art platforms. “I draw with squares that capture the essence of people.” This mantra adorns his many NFT galleries, simple, yet powerful, just like his art. The portraits definitely capture the essence of people in a fun and eye-catching way.
As a child he always had a love for cartoons and manga, drawing them whenever he could. He admits he wasn’t very skilled in the beginning, but a trip to Wal-Mart one December would change that forever. Maxwell’s’ father Moses passed away when he was young, and his mother Burneise Stephenson, had to overcome and find a way to take care of her boys. The budget was tight one Christmas, but she still took them to the store and told them they could pick a gift that was reasonably priced. Maxwell headed straight for the manga section and chose Tsubasa, a story that he had set his sights on long before that day. This marked the beginning of a lifelong passion for art and creation. Manga and animation were a huge source of inspiration and served as entertainment, as well as a creative outlet, for the young designer. As time went on his brother and sister would always see him drawing, and his mother was incredibly supportive of his artistic abilities.
When Maxwell was 15 his mother passed away from cancer, a devastating blow to the budding artist. As tribute to her he began going by the last name Step, an abbreviated version of her last name Stephenson. When asked why, he says, “My mother used to always say ‘Stay Thinking Eternally Positive’ so I wanted to commemorate that.”
Positivity is definitely the air that surrounds the beautiful family that Maxwell has created with his adoring wife Aisha. His family may be the best work of art he’s done yet! Their sweet toddler Indya is already doing art with Daddy, and their newest edition Cairo is sure to be creatively inclined given her genetics. Aisha is an exquisite photographer and fully embraces her artistic husbands’ endeavors. Together the canvas of their story paints a picture of inspiration, love, and creation.
Maxwell credits his mother as a crucial part of his early inspiration, but it wasn’t until her passing that he really became disciplined with his practice. Being 100% self-taught, Maxwell gathered photos and studied them to learn angles and perspectives, practicing over and over until he got it right. He remembers the voice of a camp counselor emphatically pleading with him, “If you have a talent do not hide it! It is your responsibility to cultivate it and share it with the world.” Cultivate he did, as he is now quickly becoming a prominent artist in the NFT space, currently displaying timeless portraits of BIPOC with fun and elegant style. With pieces already sold for almost 3 Ethereum the future is looking bright for the young artist, especially when you consider royalties! It’s clear that if there’s one consistent thing about him it’s his desire to learn and grow, and he doesn’t allow excuses to stand in the way.
From drawing mangas, to tirelessly researching ways of monetizing his art, he has taught himself everything on his own. You can even find his extensive portfolio of merchandise, web content, and album art online, culminated by a life full of creativity. Maxwell proudly displays the rewards of realizing that no matter where you start, hard work and persistence pays off, and if no one else will teach you, teach yourself. “If my mother were here today I think she would be proud of my art and my family, and the man I’ve become,” he assumes with sentiment. Undoubtedly her reasons to be proud are just getting started, as Maxwell plans to keep learning and sharing his creations with us all.
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Over the last couple of months I’ve been interviewing leading NFT innovators past and present on their personal stories, perspectives, hopes and fears for the future of the space. The plan is to weave these together into a single audio documentary to explore the history of NFTs, its key moments, meta narratives and the people that drive them to be included in The WTF Genesis Bundle as NFT audio files. However, many of these stories are so inspirational and thought provoking we thought we would release a handful each week in the build up to the drop as standalone 20min+ podcast episodes on the leading platforms below.
To get you started we’ve uploaded a handful of some of the best ones to give you a taster of the diverse spectrum of topic and guest we’ve captured from OGs to newcomers, founders to artists and collectors.
Matt Hall is the Co-Founder of Larva Labs, a creative technologist working with web, mobile and the blockchain, co-creator of CryptoPunks and AutoGlyphs, Matt has been at the forefront of the NFT boom, while continuing to work to make the space progress further on-chain.
He joins the Genesis NFT podcast to talk to Jamie Burke of NFTs.WTF, on what brought him into the crypto space, creating one of the headline acts of NFTs, and his hopes for where we’ll see the technology go, into the future.
Marguerite deCourcelle, better known as Coin_Artist, is an NFT Wizard, inventor of Cryptopuzzles, a Game Designer, and Artist. She’s also the CEO of Blockade Games & Neon District RPG, a cyberpunk role-playing adventure game leveraging decentralized technology.
She joins the Genesis NFT podcast to talk to Jamie Burke of NFTs.WTF, on being in CryptoArt from 2014, and Bitcoin from 2012 – an early adopter in the space, and a renowned entrepreneur, we look at her belief in the future of NFT technology.
Axies, NFTs & Play-to-Earn 2.0 with Gabby Dizon Gabby Dizon, builds and invests in NFTs, play-to-earn and the Metaverse. He’s the Co-founder of Yield Guild and Altitude Games, Co-owner of the Narra Gallery and invests through the Nifty Fund.
He joins the Genesis NFT podcast to talk to Jamie Burke of NFTs.WTF, on being one of the early adopters, and entrepreneurs, driving NFTs forward.
Angie Taylor is a Cryptoartist focusing on VR & Naïve-art, she is the Women of Crypto Art Co-founder, and an LGBTQ+ activist.
Angie joins the Genesis NFT podcast to talk to Jamie Burke of NFTs.WTF, on being one of the pioneers of CryptoArt and NFTs – using her work, and acclaim, to drive the Open Metaverse forward, both culturally and socially.
ROBNESS is a CryptoArt OG, beginning his journey in 2016. He’s the creator of the #TRASHART movement, and the controversial ’64 Gallon Toter’.
He joins the Genesis NFT podcast to talk to Jamie Burke of NFTs.WTF, on being the $TRSH Lord, and helping start the NFT craze, alongside meme creators, and internet dwellers.
A Metaverse of digital scarcity comes with a cacophony of noise, copycats, spam, and countless celebrity drops. Genesis NFT is a NFTs.WTF series hosted by 100xARt Founder Jamie Burke, platforming the often unheard entrepreneurs, collectors and artists that have brought NFTs to the main stage.
Artwork by Bryan Brinkman
Produced by Roland Spencer
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Sotheby’s, is one of the world’s oldest and most trusted auction houses for art. Established in 1744, the Sotheby brand has a long standing reputation within the physical art world, and are now turning their attention to the rapidly growing digital art scene. For many in the crypto art world of non-fungible tokens, there is a mixed sense that these large legacy art establishments are at odds with the new NFT renaissance. The technology that underpins non-fungible tokens, removes the need for trusted third parties, like auction houses to facilitate the sale of digital art. With Christie’s recent Cryptopunk NFT auction going for over $16.9 million dollars and Beeple’s $69 million auction Sotheby’s is throwing their hat into the digital NFT ring, despite the criticisms that crypto twitter has lobbied at Christies and how they handled the latest NFT auction. Sotheby’s is attempting to bridge the gap between the old world and the new one, in a way that is inclusive of the NFT community.
How NFT artists can participate
From now until May 20th 2021 at 12:00 pm ET they are accepting nominations from the community for inclusion into the Natively Digital Online Auction. This curated NFT sale will take place from June 3-10 2021 as an online auction.
The official twitter post and rules can be seen here below.
From now until May 20 at 12:00pm ET, nominate your favorite artist (or yourself!)
1. Reply to this tweet and tag the artist 2. Link or attach one of your favorite artworks from them 3. Follow Sotheby’s 4. Use the hashtag #NativelyDigital
The collection of artists already being showcased includes some of the earliest NFTs that predate even the Ethereum blockchain, alongside newer works that demonstrate the more advanced technical innovations enabled by NFTs. Robert Alice, a London based artist and trailblazer in the crypto art and NFT space is co-curating this collection along with other partners spanning the art and technology ecosystem.
Some notable partners in this collection include the non profit Sevens Foundation, which is dedicated to elevating artists.
The Mint Foundation, which helps international creators mint their first digital art NFTs and has already had over 33 Ether donated to provide gas fees for artists.
The Regen Network that is working to align economics with ecology, to reverse climate change.
If you are reading this before May 20th 2021, then you too, could possibly be included.
Be sure to check out the official rules posted on Twitter that are embedded at the top of this article.
Looking to the Future
Needless to say there are some very well known names and prolific creators taking part in this Digital Native NFT Sotheby’s collection. It will be exciting to see who else from the community gets nominated to join, as there is already a flurry of interesting names being mentioned all over Twitter. Taking into account the current volatility of the crypto markets, time will tell how well Sotheby’s will execute this online auction in terms of total sales. The real aspect to watch is, how well the old art establishment can build this new digital bridge into the NFT and crypto art world. Soethebys will be sure to draw mainstream media attention and lend additional credibility to digital art and NFTs in general, for the physical art collector community. Sotheby’s CEO, Charles Stewart was asked about the future of the art market and non-fungible token technology stating “This potentially has implications for physical art as well as digital art.” Many in the NFT and blockchain community have been saying this for years now, and it must feel like validation for the pioneers who have been blazing the non-fungible trail.
Sotheby’s NFT auction, will inevitably lead to further mainstream adoption and growth for this rapidly evolving and promising technology.
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The online auction behemoth eBay is getting into the NFT game. The company confirmed via Reuters that they will be allowing the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) beginning Tuesday, May 11th sellers who meet eBays standards will be allowed an “NFT inventory.” eBay has also expressed that they will be allowing NFT sales with traditional payment methods like credit cards and Paypal.
This big news will surely have some ripple effects throughout the NFT space, but what those effects might be is yet to be seen for existing creators, collectors and blockchain entrepreneurs.
I recently asked David Sneider, founder of Lit Protocol, and a forward thinking NFT marketplace called HelloApricot.com, what his thoughts were on eBay entering this space and his response echoed some of my own sentiments around this development. According to Sneider: “With deeper utility for NFTs coming soon, eBay is setting themselves up to become the crypto entry point for millions of new users and extend their offering into the metaverse.”
With the ability to use eBay as a secondary marketplace for certain NFTs, I believe this could be a massive opportunity for the entire NFT community and ecosystem.
Removing the crypto complexity for new users is one major weakness of nearly all NFT marketplaces out there. While I have been a true believer in blockchain and crypto since 2014, I do feel that the “meta maskery” needs to be simplified industry-wide for non-technical users. eBay will be one of those entry points that anyone can interact with seamlessly and that will most certainly drive other marketplaces to also innovate within the user experience arena.
Another major challenge facing a majority of NFT marketplaces is the discoverability of artists. eBay entering this space with over 180 million active buyers can potentially drive other NFT platforms to innovate and improve on the gaps in the current state of NFT marketplaces, to retain and attract more users.
Big companies like eBay were always bound to get involved in this space. As the masses are starting to become more aware of NFTs, a large driver of this hype stems from the celebrities and influencers looking to cash in on this crypto craze, while missing the real point and possibilities of non-fungible token technology.
Big names entering the NFT game
In a refreshing twist, influencer Gary Vee and his NFT project Veefriends has, in my opinion, really entered this space thoughtfully and is setting a new standard for what an influencer / celebrity NFT project could look like, by creating additional utility and experiences for his collectors. Ranging from 3 year of access to his annual conference to being able to have dinner or even play a game of basketball with the famous CEO. These types of influencers with millions of followers bring new non-crypto-native users into this space and that, fundamentally, is a good thing.
Founded in 1995, eBay has a long-standing reputation as one of the first online marketplaces for all types of goods and products. The eBay brand lends an enormous amount of additional credibility to this emerging paradigm-shifting technology that is NFTs. While many in the mainstream are maybe still having trouble wrapping their heads around what a non-fungible token is and why they can be so valuable, it’s seeing big brands like eBay jumping into this space, that will give millions of users the curiosity and confidence that may nudge them into the market for buying NFTs.
The massive amount of traffic and eyeballs on eBay is astounding and this most certainly could be a great source of traffic for creators and collectors alike who are willing and able to become savvier in learning how to market and promote their creations.
What could go wrong?
However, there are some potential pitfalls here to take into account with eBay joining the NFT space. The most pressing one is the lack of a recognized NFT royalty standard, that is acknowledged and adopted across all NFT marketplaces.
As it stands now, when a creator’s NFT is removed from most NFT marketplaces to be listed on another, any royalties set for secondary sales are lost, and this negates one of the primary benefits for creators (the ability to be compensated for secondary sales). This will almost certainly be true for NFTs listed on eBay. Specific details around how eBay will implement NFTs on their platform are still scarce.
There has been an Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) for creating such a royalty standard, proposed by Zach Burks, James Morgan , Blaine Malone, and James Seibel that has yet to be adopted on a massive scale but should be made known to all creators and collectors called the EIP 2981: ERC-721 Royalty Standard. The community should be making it known to all marketplaces that they want a standard adopted for the benefit of the entire NFT economy.
This loss of secondary royalties could create a negative impact on the NFT community and ecosystem. However, this gap is also an opportunity for other marketplaces to step up and adopt a royalty standard in order to retain the best artists, creators and collectors.
Overall, I believe that eBay being in this space will have a net positive effect, and be a major driver of mass adoption that will bring an additional flood of interest and users. Though eventually, these users will want more than what eBay will allow to happen on their platform. These new users will trickle into other parts of this incredible NFT ecosystem. eBay’s move may also spur some additional big brands to pay attention and enter this space, hopefully in a way that also benefits the overall industry and community.
As with anything that involves a big brand like eBay, there will be positive and negative aspects involved. It truly depends on where you find yourself and from what perspective you are viewing this news; as an artist, content creator, collector, curator or just now learning about NFTs.
NFT & Crypto Community Concerns
There are many crucial concepts that I know are important to the blockchain community, such as decentralization and moving away from centralized platforms, middlemen and gatekeepers, and to some, the name “eBay” may sound like the antithesis of the blockchain ethos.
I would like to invite you to consider a different perspective, for those who truly believe in the possibilities and benefits of blockchain and non-fungible tokens. We cannot be maximalists at the expense of mass adoption. In order to alchemize the incredible changes this technology enables, we must align ourselves with how nature operates, which is via the path of least resistance, especially for new users. In all honesty, most people will not care about the technology, but only that it works seamlessly.
There will always be some form of centralized systems because there is a general benefit to having them set up that way. As this technology matures, centralized systems that do not serve us as a society, a human culture, and as a planet will eventually be replaced with more decentralized systems. This will take mass adoption events like the eBays of the world getting involved, paired with a bit of time, development, and patience.
eBay will undoubtedly bring new energy, attention and opportunities to this space and it will be up to each artist, content creator, collector and blockchain entrepreneur to decide how they react to more mass adoption as big brands take note and enter this space with considerable resources, users and capital.