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Interview With an NFT Collector - What You Learn by Buying 4,000 NFTsby@justin-roberti
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Interview With an NFT Collector - What You Learn by Buying 4,000 NFTs

by Justin RobertiJanuary 27th, 2023
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Interview with NFT collector and commentator Benjamin Leff. Leff discusses how blockchain has changed since 2015, the bear market and NFTs, and the strengths of building up a really large NFT collection.

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The NFT market has taken on a life of its own, separate from crypto. Though both markets have suffered through this crypto winter, new projects continue to launch with a barely perceptible hitch in enthusiasm. Though “degens' ' exist in both NFT and DeFi circles, NFTs have become online communities – in many cases the community really is the brand, more than the product. And the communities have remained strong.

Awareness of the colorful digital assets has grown by leaps and bounds over just a year, according to the “NFT Awareness and Adoption Report” published by Security.org. The report is based on a May 2022 survey of 600 U.S. adults ages 18 and older – 4% of participants had any experience buying, selling, or creating NFTs.

To get a sense of the NFT market today, we thought of Benjamin Leff, a commentator and Web3 expert who interviewed Rarible co-founder Alex Salnikov at Benzinga’s 2022 Future of Crypto summit in December 2022 in NYC. In the interview, there was a funny moment where Leff said he had over 4,000 NFTs in his portfolio while Salinkov had just 200.

Benjamin Leff (left) interviewing Alex Salnikov (right) at Benzinga’s 2022 Future of Crypto Summit. Photo credit: @Sensible

HN: How many NFTs have you actually purchased?

Leff: “I stopped counting after I sold a part of my collection. That part was 4,387 pieces to a private NFT investment fund.”

HN: Does it give you a different POV to have participated in so many projects?

Leff: “Absolutely, each project typically has a distinguisher that I look for, something to set it apart from other projects. It also has taught me the value of liquidity and that selling thousands of NFTs at once is not going to be normal operating procedure for most NFT collectors.”

HN: Have you seen a change in the way NFTs are hyped with the market shift?

Leff: “Yes, NFTs took the place of "airdrops" to a degree, especially in the US as airdrops of free tokens from projects are being heavily scrutinized by the Securities & Exchange Commision (SEC). NFTs have gone from giveaways to items of utility for projects that want to have longevity.”

HN: What do you see as the future of NFTs — less projects, more projects, cheaper, etc.?

Leff: “I see a lot more NFTs coming out, especially now that AI has caught the attention of the mainstream media. There will, and already are, discussions about AI generated NFTs and IP rights. But what I expect to see more of are projects that use NFTs with real-world purpose/value, such as admittance to a concert or being a member of an organization.”

HN: How much will art & collectibles matter in 5 years compared to other NFT use cases?

Leff: “Art will always matter, in fact there are more ways to access creative people around the world now more than ever. The bigger question is how will the contemporary art world view NFTs in five years. As a use-case, I believe art will be one of the weaker ones with five years of industry development.”

HN: What is your advice to NFT stans in 2023?

Leff: “If you are interested in NFTs and do not yet have experience with them, please do your own research on what they are and how they operate differently than cryptocurrencies. Know how to properly store and protect your NFTs and be on the lookout for projects that bring real-world utility by incorporating NFTs, and likely a metaverse into their ecosystem.

HN: Will the NFT market ever get as hype as 2022?

Leff: “That's like predicting the price of Bitcoin but personally yes, I believe NFTs will get more positive hype than in the 2020-2022 time frame because they are easier to understand from a mass adoption perspective. And again, more and more NFTs will provide utility in one's everyday life.”

HN: What projects are you excited about?

Leff: “I'm excited about what new projects will end up dropping that help drive mass adoption. I'm looking at everything from sports teams/players to gaming to social interaction using NFTs as a gateway for entry as well as loyalty programs adopting NFTs for their customers. In summary, I'm excited to see which of the big players in each industry are going to put their money where their mouths are and properly Incorporate NFTs into their business model.”

HN: What are your plans for NFTs in 2023?

Leff: “My plans for NFTs might be a bit different than most others. I intend to continue to educate people and take on as many speaking and writing opportunities to highlight mass adoption of blockchain technology through the use of NFTs. I've done my collecting and of course there are always new artists and projects to follow but I am making it my mission to help educate those entering the NFT world on all the different use-cases, marketplaces and blockchains that NFTs can be traded/minted on.”

HN: What was it like to interview Alex Salnikov, co-founder of Rarible, at the Future of Crypto show?

Leff: “It was a fantastic experience getting to ask questions I've always wanted to know the answer to with a company as well known as Rarible, especially when discussing the subject of practical use cases for NFTs.

I found it amusing when Alex was taken aback by the number of NFTs I've collected! Alex and I have formed a wonderful working relationship since that discussion, and I very much look forward to seeing how Rarible will help shape the NFT ecosystem in the coming years.”

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Leff is a journalist at nft-today.xyz and consults for the fintech industry as President of Leff Ventures. He’s worked in blockchain since 2015, with projects such as Kraken, Sheesha Finance, and a number of ICOs. he’s currently an NFT collector and does business development for Atomic Hub, a WAX-based NFT marketplace.

*Cover image by Gustavo Pires Bertaco