Michael ‘Torte de Lini’ Cohen is co-founder of Creaticle, the first NFT platform for custom requirements (TBD 2021). Prior to entering cryptocurrency, Michael Cohen had an 11 year history of startups with multiple exits and advising in emerging industries such as esports, digital entertainment and gaming. Michael Cohen holds a degree in sociology and is doing his Executive MBA. Twitter: @TorteDeLini
In the 1980s, your desk had around 20 different objects to organize your life. Now everything is on your phone, a mini computer in your pocket. Similar to photography and film, scrapbooks were kept, collected, and deeply valued as we cataloged our lives, moments, and experiences. We have moved from digitizing our pictures and videos to tapes and CDs to keep everything on a cloud platform that is ready when needed, but never physically for you.
The physicality of objects that we rely on to organize, remember and entertain our lives is minimized every day. Last year this minimization was accelerated and highlighted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With COVID, the importance of digitization, its accessibility and convenience for everyone became even more necessary. I no longer have to go to the theater to see newly released films or go to the office to meet. With so much of the world going digital and companies focusing more on the opportunities available to them, the concept of NFT makes sense in terms of its appeal to the consumer market and as a business opportunity in a historical context.
NFTs are simply a product of our world that will eventually be digitized. Before NFTs, the gaming industry had already taken on the digitization of their popular physical card games (see Magic: The Assembly Arenafor example) for nearly a decade to reach new audiences, improve their accessibility, and monetize their fans’ love for collecting and playing strategic card games. Attaching real prices to digital cosmetics for a character like in Fortnite or World of Warcraft has been the norm in gaming for years. Most digital game product purchases are actually not ownership of the product itself, but a license to access and enjoy that game. If ownership of a digital item or product without physical form is limited to a platform or video game program, purchasing NFTs in the form of digital art, collectibles, animation, or other shouldn’t be that far away. accessed for the average consumer to understand.
However, the perspective of NFTs as rare or limited edition souvenirs that are preselected, created and offered to a customer base is one-dimensional business thinking and already oversaturated as platforms and marketplaces emerge to offer a new range of readily available souvenirs digital works. The current NFT industry is almost like a flea market, rare finds hidden in a sea of pristine doodads.
If anything can be an NFT, it doesn’t mean that everything can be sold as an NFT, but that artists creating unique NFTs for you and your friends, family, or business can come from anyone and for any occasion. The starving artist who doesn’t know how to market his unique NFTs should be purely metaphorical. It should not be an indication that creators have trouble reaching interested buyers at this bazaar of online works. Companies that offer what is already out there are missing out on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a service to provide the interested buyer, who knows what they want and how they want it, what kind of NFT can be out there .
The NFT sector doesn’t need another digital Sotheby’s, but rather a more service-oriented storefront to accommodate buyers and hire talented developers. A calendar or address book is not appreciated until you put your details and contacts in it. Your camera is like any other camera until you fill the SD card with digital, unique photos. Personalization and customization are key in this digital space, yet the least explored idea in this new business landscape. Instead, we’re getting another flea market platform for NFTs that buyers aren’t sure where or what to look for.
In other words, any auction house or marketplace where creators climb over each other to reach out to potential buyers must have print shops, graphic design agencies, and other expert services in place to meet the demand. Whether digitally created or physically available, media in the form of NFTs, logos, commissioned art or other are always in demand and in search of the right creator, not the creation. Bringing a range of buyers and a selection of creators to one place has yet to be determined.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.