NFTs are undoubtedly one of the hottest things happening in the world of fintech right now. Technical details aside, the fact that we are now able to have something that is both digital and unique is one of the biggest technological breakthroughs since the creation of the Internet, and as our society moves increasingly online, NFTs give us the ability to meaningfully recreate life online as a reflection of the real world. This reflection, however, is still under construction, as women remain greatly under-represented in blockchain and tech. Now, with the growing popularity of NFTs, we see an incredible opportunity to bridge this gap; include more people in the digital revolution, and bring about the mass adoption of blockchain-backed digital assets.
Into the Crystal Ball
Trends are our best indicators of what the future may hold, and in terms of entertainment, the future looks increasingly digital. The Internet has seriously eroded the earnings potential of artists in recent decades due to the fact that anything can be mass-reproduced and distributed for free by anyone online. Corporations, realizing the futility of fighting copyright disputes online, instead offered a range of easy and relatively low-cost alternatives (Spotify, Netflix, Kindle Unlimited) that were a sort of ‘better than nothing’ choice for artists looking to leverage the sheer volume of traffic on these platforms and earn a small commission. Revolting against these massive for-profit platforms, we are now seeing more and more innovative creatives moving into the NFT space as they understand it to be empowering.
In the future, online entertainment will not just entail consuming multimedia, but also interactive experiences and community-building seem to be following a similar path towards an alternate digital universe. In tech circles, the term ‘metaverse’ is being used to talk about this future Internet world that runs parallel to our own. Like something out of a movie, the metaverse will feature games and social platforms that allow people to essentially live vicariously online. Underpinning all of this will be a massively open and accessible financial system, a complex web of blockchain-supported smart contracts, and of course, the ultimate building blocks, NFTs. Utilizing NFTs will ensure that everything in the metaverse is unique and traceable, meaning that people will be able to unquestionably own their possessions and that these possessions will have genuine intrinsic value.
Room to Grow
Various studies have reached different conclusions about the figures for representation of women in tech and specifically blockchain, with numbers ranging from under 5%, to 20%. Regardless, the consensus is that women currently make up a small minority of participants in these emerging industries. For people watching this space, this disparity is not so much a ‘problem’ as an indicator of room for growth. The strength of the growth trend in digital entertainment and subsequent inevitability of the metaverse will lead to a mass-adoption of NFTs that will penetrate all parts of modern society.
As we have seen with technologies in the past, the vast, vast majority of people don’t understand and don’t actually care how things work; they just want to use them. We don’t care how our Uber gets here; we just want it to get here faster. In the future, normal people won’t be talking about ‘bridging NFTs cross-chain via a ZK rollup layer 2’, they’ll just be talking about what the object actually represents online and how to use it. Also, as more and more people join the space, their creativity will lead to new and innovative products, services, and ideas that will further the development of our cyber world.
What Am I Actually Buying?
Capital can be used for three things: spending, saving, or investing. With a keen eye, the distinctions between these three actions are actually not all that clear. For example, some people consider saving a portion of their salary to be an investment in their future. Others would consider spending money on a new outfit to impress a potential partner as a form of investing. Some people even consider investing in ultra-low risk funds to be a form of saving (or at least hedging). The point being that the transaction itself does not determine the use of the capital, but it is actually the person’s intention that determines it.
With consumable products, we can understand that their price value is limited to what a person will pay for it. After the product is consumed, however, it no longer exists and therefore has no price value. Online, we can see that digital object permanence creates an opportunity for resale, thus rendering many purchases of digital products to be potential investments. This, coupled with the universality of the Internet, means that the marketplace itself is much larger, and by leveraging blockchain technology, a fair and safe place to transact.
Finally, the concept of ‘scarcity’ has a strange place in modern society. On the one hand, profit-maximization corporations that believe ‘enough is never enough’, drive us to consume and also believe that enough is never enough. On the other hand, we want to have unique experiences and possessions that define us as being special and different. We want the feeling of scarcity, but we also want convenience and reasonable prices. It’s a race to the top whilst we’re racing to the bottom. Different from the mass-produced mass-consumed products of our 24/7 convenient lifestyle, NFTs can have inbuilt scarcity properties. There may be 100,000’s of Chanel bags made each year, but there will only ever be 100 EtherRocks, and only one you.