NFTs could revolutionize the business models of major social media giants and lend a whole new stream of revenue to retailers and music artists. Total sales volumes have surged this year, already surpassing 2021’s total, in spite of a broader downturn in cryptocurrency assets.
While we are still at an early stage of digital asset adoption, the rise of branding and marketing opportunities within the metaverse offers a sneak peak into how valuable a corporate presence in virtual worlds could become in the years ahead. Companies from American Express to Chevron are now taking part in a wave of trademark applications for NFTs and other metaverse-related content.
Related ETF & Assets: Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF (METV), Ethereum (ETH-USD), WAX (ETH-USD)
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have played one of the largest roles in revolutionizing digital asset ownership and corporations are now diving into the boom head first.
Recapping NFT Market Structure, Volumes, and Blockchains
NFT sales last year totaled $25.51 billion, up from $95.11 million in 2020, according to DappRadar, a blockchain analytics firm. This year, despite a broad downturn in cryptocurrency valuations throughout Q1, NFT sales through March 10 have already surpassed last year’s total, at more than $27 billion.
As MRP wrote in our April 2021 roadmap for understanding NFTs, an NFT is a digital token representing ownership of a digital asset on the blockchain – similar to a certificate of authenticity for a piece of artwork or deed for a home. An NFT cannot be duplicated or copied (hence “non-fungible”) and will track the entire ownership history/selling price of the underlying files(s) autonomously, making it publicly available for audit by future buyers or anyone else. An NFT can be anything from digital art to digital real estate.
Virtually any online content can now be tokenized, the process of turning data into a token that can be exchanged securely between entities for a certain price – usually denominated in cryptocurrency.
The vast majority of NFT sales volumes (in USD) occur on the Ethereum blockchain, though others including Solana, Avalanche, and WAX also support NFTs. Over the last 7 days, CryptoSlam.io data indicates 144,257 transactions have occurred, worth $526,312,417. Denominated in Ethereum’s native token, that’s about 175,000 ETH.
Some blockchains like WAX, which MRP has highlighted several over the past year, actually have much higher transaction volumes than Ethereum. Over the last 7 Days, WAX has facilitated 317,938 transactions, though that generated just $2,699,827 (9.3 milllion WAXP). Part of that is due to a zero-fee structure as, unlike Ethereum, WAX was designed specifically for exchanging cheaper NFTs at very low costs.
For instance, if you want to buy a $5.00 NFT on an Ethereum-based marketplace, you may end up paying a gas fee (a fee that goes back to miners on the network for confirming your transaction) that is much steeper than the cost of the asset itself. Whereas Ethereum is the preferred blockchain for more exclusive, expensive offerings, others may specialize in NFTs that can sell for as little as a few pennies.
Spotify, Facebook, and Corporate Trademarks
Music is an increasingly popular candidate for tokenization and NFTs could be a heavily disruptive technology for record labels and streaming services.
One of the greatest ways that NFTs can benefit artists is via an embedded royalty structure that automatically delivers a portion of the sales price back to the original creator every time an NFT is transacted. For music, individual streams could eventually direct a fee through the blockchain and back to the original artist. That presents an existential issue to platforms like Spotify, who reportedly pay artists just…
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