2021: The NFT year


Just before Christmas, the world’s first text message went under the hammer in France. The message with the text ‘Merry Christmas!’, Which was sent to the then director of Vodafone in 1992, has been sold as a non-fungible token (NFT). 2021 was the year when NFT finally broke through. The number of worldwide searches on Google for the term NFT has for the first time surpassed the term crypto, according to Google Trends.

An NFT is a non-exchangeable document of authenticity that proves the ownership of digital objects. This document is recorded in blockchain, the ledger that cryptocurrencies also use.

Trade in NFTs is rising sharply. OpenSea, currently the most popular decentralized platform for NFT auctions, facilitated $ 3.4 billion in transactions in August alone. The platform for founders Devin Finzer (31) and Alex Atallah (29) is already carefully considering a stock exchange listing.

In fact, the still-emerging market for non-fungible tokens has had its best year ever, generating more than $ 23 billion in trading, according to figures from DappRadar. For comparison: last year it was less than 100 million.

The amounts offered are also increasing further and further. Earlier this year, for example, the first Wikipedia page went under the hammer for $ 750,000. Also, NFTs have been traded from emoticons, the first tweet from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and the source code for the world wide web.

NFT therefore opens up a whole new world for illustrators, photographers and artists who can sell their digital creations such as physical paintings, photo drawings or sketches. Sotheby’s, the largest auction house in the world, has already earned $ 100 million this year at the auction of NFTs. For example, a rare CryptoPunk, Covid Alien, was auctioned off for $ 11.8 million in June.

In December, 100 digital artworks from three leading Mind The Gap artists – Aiiroh, Noble $$ and Sinao – were auctioned off for the first time on Catawiki.

The fashion world is also interested. In November, Dutch Kanessa claimed to be the first clothing line in the world to launch NFT tokens of various art prints from their sports and loungewear collection. Mutani, Belgium’s first digital fashion network, launched its first virtual fashion collection last year in collaboration with designer Stefan Kartchev.

Keune Haircosmetics recently launched NFT’s as the first Dutch hair brand. The non-fungible tokens are inspired by four iconic products from Keune’s history. The brand is now translating its hair icons into a future-proof version, like digital artwork.

Historical audio interviews with The Beatles have also been auctioned off as NFTs.

Meanwhile, the gaming industry has also thrown itself into the phenomenon. Players can purchase exclusive digital items with their own serial number. For each object, it can be shown who owned it. Peter Molyneux, the creator of the Fable games, is working on such games, among other things. A similar application is conceivable for virtual environments like the much talked about metavers that Facebook imagines.

Already in November, the digital agency Dept launched the first open source, white-label solution for the establishment of a so-called NFT marketplace. The new AlgoMart Marketplace makes it easy for brands to create and launch their own NFTs in days.

Where the market for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a kind of stock market listing with cryptocurrencies as a stock, is virtually dead due to strict regulation, NFT seems to have come to stay.

Photo Shutterstock

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