It wasn’t long ago that every digital company and artist under the sun wanted a piece of the NFT market. Through 2020 and 2021, the value of the market surged, eclipsing $250 million in 2020 to spur on as much in spending in the first half of the following year.
Perhaps it was a realisation of a lack of real value in most NFTs, but NFTs seemed to leave the cultural consciousness as quickly as they arrived. Still, there is a more moderate bubbling of a potential return with headlines like Corite offering NFTs for British rapper Central Cee’s tracks.
Exploding into the mainstream
One of the biggest names that made NFTs a sudden hit and must-have commodity among the masses was the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Once celebrities started snapping up these digital art passes, and openly advertised as such, everyone wanted an NFT.
As a result, entertainment mediums that draw from popularity trends got in on the game, which is most evidently shown among the fun online slot machine games. NFT Megaways encapsulates the sensation of the volatile market in its gameplay. Not only is it a high volatility slot, but it’s also got over 200,000 paylines and crypto symbols on the reels.
Satirists were also chomping at the bit to get in on the seeming absurdity of paying so much money for digital art. In the long-running adult comedy show South Park, a large part of the two-part special of late 2021 was dedicated to skewering the NFT cult. The butt of the joke was Butters, who gets locked away to stop him from spreading the sales of NFTs.
Fully a part of a kind of cultural zeitgeist, it can’t be understated how much the Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton discussion on The Tonight Show about the BAYC helped to propel NFTs to that position. For many, though, it was more about having a digital item that could become very valuable in the market.
BAYC was different because it offered real-world perks as a pass to a club rather than just a piece of digital art. This was a point missed by many mainstream investors, and it’s those who’d lose out the most chasing burgeoning trends and potential hits when the crypto markets collapsed last year.
A necessary levelling off for NFTs
NFTs can be very useful applications, which is why so many digital artists took to the tech. They offer real ownership in the increasingly digitised space. It’s just that, right now, most NFT art pieces are merely akin to having a JPEG on your smartphone. You may have the only real one, but does that really matter?
The market levelled off through 2022, and now, you can find NFT art pieces and other similar uses at much more grounded prices that, in turn, increase the accessibility and utility of the tech. This will likely lead to more innovative creations in the NFT space, and is helping to stage its comeback as more people can get involved.
While they’re not as headline-grabbing anymore, NFTs are still knocking about and providing utility to many people. There continue to be very strong rumours that Amazon will soon launch its own NFT marketplace, which would only bring the spotlight back but in a more mainstream way. It likely won’t spike NFT prices when it launches.
NFTs have faded from being the big topic of conversation, but now that costs are becoming more sensible, there’s a chance that the tech will become much more relevant in the coming years.