One of the hottest topics in marketing over the last 18 months has been non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Indeed, investment banking firm Jeffries predicts that the rapidly growing market will reach $80 billion by 2025.
NFTs started out in art and collectibles from collections like Beeple, NBA Top Shots and community project like Bored Apes, but the next phase — as marketers expand their utilization of Web 3 — will see brands begin to use NFTs to engage and reward customers with digital assets that have real-world utility and ownership.
Here are the three most significant changes coming in this space amid that evolution:
It’s worth noting while there has been a lot of talk about the metaverse as if it is a singular entity, there will actually be numerous types of metaverses in the future. Examples already include the virtual world Decentraland, as well as the gaming metaverses Sandbox and Roblox.
While brands are mostly still experimenting in these spaces, they recognize they will be able to attract their customers to metaverse environments — to meet their customers where they are and bring their customers into the experience.
As a result, we predict brands will have their own metaverses in the futurewhere customers can engage digitally with avatars, create interactive experiences and unlock content using NFTs. Over time, these metaverses will start to become interoperable with one another.
Meanwhile, NFTs will play a major role in providing access to content and experiences in metaverse environments. That includes music and movies — distributing content as NFTs, gating content experiences with NFTS, as well as sports teams using NFTs to provide exclusive content to fans. In addition, you’ll see NFTs grant fans access to live events — and reward customers for attending events.
There’s also a trend toward brands selling and distributing NFTs without a middleman like a third-party social platform. Instead, they’ll use sites and their own branded marketplaces or wallets to reach consumers.
For example, customized branded wallets can invite customers to earn or purchase tokens and NFTs directly from the brand they have been following on social media for years. That should give the user utility in the form of discounts or gated access they can’t otherwise get — the audience will then own a piece of the brand through this digital asset. An asset that will have the ability to appreciate over time.
This ownership in the brand’s community becomes incredibly significant for marketers.
Brand involvement will not only help NFTs move beyond early adopters and go mainstream. This direct audience engagement and ownership of digital brand assets are really the two main distinctions between Web 3 and Web 2.
There’s much more to come. If you think of Web 1 as infrastructure, content aggregation and distribution with applications proliferating through browsers, and Web 2 as the era in which social platforms were gatekeepers, in Web 3, the blockchain is the base layer with a consumer-focused layer being built on top. We have seen early and promising use cases with NFTs, and we’re only just scratching the surface now.
Greg Consiglio is the Co-founder of Moonwalk, an NFT and Web3 platform for brands, gaming platforms, creators and communities. He has spent 25 years building and operating digital businesses globally with experience in ecommerce, subscription, media, loyalty and rewards platforms, live events, music and sports. His strategic and operational experience ranges from startups and scale-ups to public companies including businesses with organic growth as well as M&A and public equity transactions. In Web 1.0 Consiglio spent seven years building businesses at AOL. His Web 2.0 experience spanned ecommerce and media business at Ticketmaster along with mobile app and B2B companies such as Viggle and Beatport respectively. Consiglio has been involved with blockchain from the founding of Blockparty in 2017 and Moonwalk as Co-Founder since 2020. He has lived and operated companies in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.