With NFT sales having topped $2 billion during the first quarter of 2021, a raft of new platforms have come online seeking to capitalize on crypto’s latest gold rush.
The appeal of a blockchain-based token that confers proof of ownership can be debated all day long, but to date the public’s appetite has been insatiable. NFTs representing digital merchandise, in-game collectibles, trading cards, artworks, audiovisual content and even albums have been minted, bought and sold at a frankly dizzying rate, and though talk of a “bubble” has been more or less ceaseless since the train left the station, investors continue to dream up ways of both exploiting the current mania and advancing the industry as a whole.
Here are five new platforms hoping to become mainstays of the burgeoning NFT landscape.
An online marketplace built for both creators and fans, the web app is refreshingly simple to use: all influencers need to do is take a photo with their smartphone, mint it as an NFT, post it on Nafter, then share and sell to the highest bidder. Keen fans can also “stake” on a creator’s profile in order to qualify for access to exclusive content by that creator; stakers also get to earn additional NAFT tokens into the bargain. This governance token enables 0% on Nafter transactions and also allows holders to vote on platform upgrades.
Interestingly, Nafter content creators – models, fashion bloggers, photographers, fitness gurus – can customize who can see their NFTs, choosing between making posts public or for collectors/stakers only. Essentially, the platform lies at the intersection of Instagram, Defi, and NFTs, representing a new monetization strategy for influencers the world over.
Opulous is another newly-launched NFT platform that leans on defi – decentralized loans, specifically. Designed to alter the way musicians access the funding they need, Opulous also represents a launchpad for the release of copyright-backed music NFTs.
With the likes of Kings of Leon and Aphex Twin having already proven the music-as-NFT use case, Opulous has partnered with Binance for a series of exclusive drops featuring work from artists including Lil Yachty and Kyle. Products in the pipeline include defi loans backed by future royalties, which will allow musicians to forward-plan production without relying on record labels.
Within the Opulous ecosystem, artists earn royalty revenue directly from copyright shares, giving them a passive income and providing something the music industry sorely lacks – transparency. And lest you think Opulous is a shameless music-NFT cash-in, it was actually founded by Lee Parsons, the boss of music distribution platform Ditto Music.
NFTs aren’t, on the face of it, the most environmentally-friendly commodities. After all, the vast majority are built on Ethereum – an energy-intensive Proof-of-Work blockchain with a considerable output. On a more positive note, Ethereum plans to transition to greener Proof-of-Stake in the near future – and there are dedicated NFT platforms tackling the problem in the here and now. Step forward, Voice.
Voice is an environmentally-conscious NFT platform built on EOSIO, one that specializes in the creation of carbon-neutral NFTs which are free to mint for all creators. Currently in private testing – but scheduled for a public beta launch later this summer – Voice is on a mission to empower creatives in multiple creatives. To that end, it has teamed up with leaders in arts and culture to launch an NFT Residency through which creative minds can connect with true fans.
“Our residency brings emerging artists into the fold by partnering them with internal technologists to leverage our shared experience and create digital collectables, deep in thought and practice,” says William Anderson, VP of Engineering at Voice.
Curators of the Residency in question, incidentally, include cultural commentator Misan Harriman, data protection expert Brittany Kaiser, 3D Instagram artist Chad Knight, and Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes. We expect we’ll be hearing lots about Voice in the coming months.
NFT marketplaces might seem kind of ubiquitous, but Bitski has some serious muscle behind it: Jay-Z, Serena Williams and the Winklevoss brothers contributed to its latest funding round led by Andreesen Horowitz, which raised $19 million.
Described as “Shopify for NFTs,” the San Francisco startup does what you’d expect a marketplace to do: it enables users to create, sell and own unique digital content. That content can include everything from custom AR skins for use in various gaming apps, art drops with built-in royalty schemes, golden tickets that grant holders early access to exclusive content, and even NFTs representing a real-world item.
Bitski is free until the moment you create an NFT, whereafter you can choose between three subscription tiers, easily mint and sell NFTs from your own online storefront, and access round-the-clock customer support. Users, meanwhile, can bid on and sell items at their leisure, interacting with emerging and established artists and accessing a range of nifty tokenized goods.
Users tend to be able to interact with NFTs via their digital wallets, but as time goes on, such tokens will, and indeed already are acquiring more functionality. Anima, for example, combines the worlds of non-fungible tokens and Augmented Reality (AR), with tokens on its platform usable in what it calls the “camera metaverse.”
Having recently raised $500,000 from investors including Coinbase, Anima is preparing to launch its Consensys Palm-based marketplace later this month and has already dropped a few NFTs on Nifty Gateway. Augmented Reality NFTs theoretically enable users to interact with them as they would in the real world – thus, you could mount an AR NFT of a painting on your very own (virtual) living room wall.
The potential for bringing unique digital art objects into an immersive AR environment is enormous, and it’s easy to imagine the domino effect when VR and AR really starts motoring in the years ahead: Apple is rumored to have hundreds of employees working on VR/AR projects, and an AR product could be only a year away.
With so many platforms busy building, it’s easy to forget that NFTs are a new and emerging technology. The mind boggles at how the landscape might look in a year or two. In any case, don’t expect the NFT hype to die down anytime soon.
Disclaimer: This material is not sponsored by any organization mentioned in the article.