For one, they are overpriced JPG images. For others, a shift in power, heralding a golden age for creatives. NFTs are the talk of town and are now embraced by countless major brands. Unfortunately, the news about NFTs is mainly about the large amounts that are sometimes paid for them. Or about the people who earn a lot of money from trading (so-called flipping). While so much more is possible and will be in the coming months. In this article I share 4 trends.

It’s not just brands like McDonald’s and Warner Bros. that are entering the ecosystem in a big way. Facebook recently announced that it wants to allow users to create and sell NFTs on the platform, in addition to the YouTube CEO announcing that he wants to integrate them into the platform, where Twitter already did this recently. As a result, it suddenly becomes possible for everyone to easily create, sell, store and use NFTs. Analysts expect the market to more than double in size in the next 2 years. And for the launch of the NFT Marketplace of one of the largest cryptocurrency trading platforms, Coinbase, 2.5 million people are on the waiting list.

1. Buying is the new liking
It is very cool to see how fast not only interest in NFTs is growing, but also how quickly the technology is being further developed. Where for many people NFTs are just flat digital pictures, countless new innovations have been launched in the ecosystem in recent months, all opening up new possibilities for brands, makers and consumers.

The internet has great opportunities to exchange things like information, news, music, tweets, porn and memes easily and for free. But the internet lacked the possibility to determine things such as identity, authenticity and ownership, which are necessary for makers, for example, to get paid (fairly) for their work. That is why I see NFTs really worrying ‘buying is the new liking’.

2. POABs
At home I have large antlers with hundreds of event badges, from all the events I have been allowed to attend. Beautiful memories, especially in a time when much was not allowed. Most people throw away badges. Just like that after scanning a ticket (if it is not already on the phone), it also disappears in the container when you enter a festival.

Soon I will be using POABs for the first time at a major event that I am organizing about NFTs. These Proof of Attendance Protocol are NFTs that are issued to participants of an event, physical or virtual. They are a kind of virtual badges that are immortalized on the blockchain. So you can prove that you have attended an event, physical or virtual.

With the POABs already released, you can see that some people like to keep as a digital collectible. But most visitors to the event find it especially interesting to show that they have been to the event. On the one hand, this is to demonstrate their activity within a community. On the other hand, to get priority over ticket sales for a next event or certain benefits.

For example, with previously issued POABs, visitors received a nice NFT from Adidas after an event through a so-called ‘airdrop’ (distribution tokens, such as cryptocurrencies or NFTs). With the issuance of NFTs of Kings of Leon, the buyers received ‘lifetime front row golden seat tickets’. The Dutch GUTS already offers concrete options for issuing these kinds of tickets, but you can also get started with the open source project that is online.

3. PFPs
Cats, frogs and King Kong. You have probably already seen them on the various social media channels: the PFPs. They are a type of NFTs that have quickly grown in popularity. That started in 2017 with Larva Labs, which gave away 10,000 automatically generated avatars for free. The so-called CryptoPunks. They have since become cult objects and the most expensive CryptoPunk, Alien #7804, recently went under the hammer for $7.5 million. Auction house Christies has even set up a separate department for PFPs.

For some a funny picture, for others one of the first recognizable elements for the metaverse. A PFP is your face to the digital world and can also be or become the key for certain online communities. Microsoft will be adding metaverse components such as 3D avatars in Teams next year. Do you want a standard pawn doll or a cool cartoon?

PFPs are therefore really seen as a means of propagating one’s own digital identity. General and within certain communities. The example here is the Bored Ape Yaght Club: an online community that you can only access if you have an NFT from the Bored Ape collection. The trading volume of these lazy monkeys has not only been $1 billion in the past six months, brands like Adidas are now also connecting with this community and handing out free NFTs to the participants.

4. Wearables
It’s not just the avatars. With the entry of all kinds of major clothing brands, all possible clothing items and asset scores are issued as NFT. Earlier I wrote about Gucci’s NFT bags that sold for more money than the physical ones. Adidas and Nike already sell NFT shoes and Amsterdam based The Manufacturer makes entire NFT clothing lines for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas and Puma.

This is still something new for many people, but several of my gaming friends have been using digital wearables for years. If you are in a shooting game with a team, then a special vest or unique weapon is of course much cooler than the standard variant. This in-game market could grow to $65 billion in the coming years.

Looking at the $2.7 trillion global fashion industry, digital wearables could become very large. I saw the first examples in the Amnesia: one of the most famous clubs in the world, in Ibiza. Not the physical variant, but the virtual one built in the metaverse. Tens of thousands of people came virtually. Dressed in the most beautiful digital outfits.

Developments around NFTs are progressing like a spear
Every week I am amazed at the new possibilities that enthusiastic developers have built around NFTs. From the ‘play to earn’ games, which I wrote about earlier and in which the most famous game Axie Infinity now spends $10 billion. But also complete music labels, which are built entirely on blockchain and with NFTs and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs, which I wrote about earlier), let artists come into direct contact with fans and can involve them in the creation of music in all kinds of ways. Even films are already financed with NFTs.

In the meantime I also see several NFT 2.0 movements emerging. These are, for example, NFTs that can be updated in the future, but can also perform actions on their own, for example. Such as day and night variants, based on the time of day. There are also NFTs with multiple underlying files, such as a book NFT, which contains the front cover, the PDF, and the audiobook.

NFTs are also increasingly being used for certain purposes. For example, in the United States you can already take out loans and mortgages with an NFT as collateral. And Twitter wants to prevent fake accounts by using NFTs as profile photos.

Developments in the field of NFT continue to go so fast that with the publication of this blog all kinds of new possibilities have probably already arisen. I will continue to follow them with enthusiasm!

Jan Scheele is active in the web3 (blockchain, crypto, NFTs, DeFi) industry since 2013. Besides (former) CEO of a web3 scaleup and founder of an advisory boutique (working for governments, family offices and several multinationals), he is Digital Leader at the World Economic Forum and Board Member at the Blockchain Netherlands Foundation (BCNL). He is writing, consulting, speaking and training regularly about everything web3, all over the world. Furthermore, he is currently finalizing his book about the rise and global impact of blockchain technology.