This Is The NFT Prologue. We Are So, So Early.
The more I look at the macro potential of the metaverse, the more I realize how early we are. Most of the people I interact with are still trying to understand what Web3 is, let alone how to practically apply its principles and use it.
According to the numbers, we have a vast market that we haven't begun to explore.
We're currently only moving towards 400k active users on OpenSea. Every day on OpenSea, about 2-3% of users are doing an NFT transaction.
In the last week, Polygon's co-founder Mihailo Bjelic has claimed that the number of daily active unique addresses on layer-two aggregator Polygon has surpassed those on Ethereum. According to his data, we reached 351,000 daily active addresses for Polygon, whereas Ethereum had 326,000. That's not nothing - but it’s nothing special.
Solanart - the leading SOL NFT marketplace - is only doing a quarter of the daily volume of OpenSea.
Consider that Twitter has 206m active users. In that massive universe, our numbers are small. And they're still growing. The first celebrities to arrive are bringing the retail market, and significant institutional investors are following the trends of VC and angel adoption. This will be the deciding factor. We need to move faster, and we're on our way.
The current era of NFTs is just the beginning of what's to come. When the big players get involved, we'll see an actual explosion in creativity and entrepreneurship within this space.
The media environment has dramatically altered. Art auctions have been hugely popular in mainstream coverage of the blockchain world, with NFTs featured on almost every news story. The relationship between art and cryptocurrencies has benefited from this connection. However, mainstream onboarding, adoption, and even comprehension of how to enter the field are yet to click. Likely, even most crypto-folks have not begun to wrap their heads around the implications of blockchain for art.
There's still skepticism about metaverse potential. As a content developer myself, I see this as both an opportunity and a challenge.
New opportunities are being created to facilitate the dissemination of Web3 tech. Outside of the traditional financial route, art galleries are slowly adopting cryptocurrencies as a payment solution. The first Art & Tech funds have been launched, allowing fans of interactive art to invest in works. Museums are exploring the possibilities of blockchain for metadata archives.
Any market needs capital if it's ever going to grow into its potential. Historically, that has come from support networks and venture capitalists who finance developers and creators through initial rounds. This time around, it's coming from the community itself.
Likewise, cryptocurrency creators are designing mechanisms to encourage artists and designers to create more innovative works of art that recognize their investment in the digital asset creation process.
We are on the left-most end of the left-most group. There is still so much to learn about the metaverse, what it means to be part of a virtual world, and how to best communicate that.
I have connections with a wide range of deep capital folks interested in art and many others who have both a tech background and are connected to tradmarket finance. Most are just waiting for the right time to dive in. I can see the influx of real-life money starting to enter the metaverse. It's happening in dribs and drabs. But it will be a rapid step up when it picks up momentum.
The next wave of innovation is not just about tinkering with new types of NFTs or users' content. I believe that we really need to focus on building Venn diagrams between different communities. We need to bring together the tribes interested in various types of blockchain art to start understanding how they overlap and what problems each other's communities are trying to solve.
How do NFTs enable people who love open-source hardware to collaborate with those who work on 3D printing? What can game developers learn from artists using blockchain to create functioning digital assets? What does a decentralized online art gallery mean for traditional galleries?
What do we need to build to make it easier for more people to start exploring the metaverse and discover their own path inside it? How can we strengthen communities by connecting them more effectively while still giving each context enough space?
We're early enough that every single one of these questions is still up for debate. We aren't standing on solid ground because all of us are working to build the foundations of Web3.
It's like watching a new generation learning how to walk. Those companies are learning how to make virtual worlds, which will be critical for the rest of us. Web3 enabled and tokenized worlds will take over from social media in the next five years - because they bring us closer to communicating our personal reality than sharing pictures of what we had for lunch on predatory websites that monetize social anguish and inequality.
We have yet to read the first chapter of the decentralized economy. This is the prologue. As platforms are created to facilitate people's creativity, they will contribute to this new culture emerging in the blockchain space.
We'll see the infrastructure for digital artwork evolve, setting the tone for all future creative works, both within and outside virtual spaces.
The possibilities are boundless.