It is not secret that nonfungible tokens (NFTs), are still a niche topic. Despite their rapid surge in popularity during 2021, there is still a significant percentage of people who do not know what an NFT is. The graph below shows that NFTs still need to be mainstreamed.
It is evident that NFTs have the potential to become mainstream. There have been many signs of adoption and awareness in recent months, which I will discuss later.
Celebrities have been a key proponent in the rise of NFTs. The NFT space was initially created by artists, traders, and creators. Notable figures have entered the space since then, whether they are creating their own projects or just collecting. Although the celebrity influx has helped to expand the reach of NFTs, it is not enough. In the NFT space, value doesn’t come from influence. Celebrities who created NFT collections without thinking about the long-term have seen their NFTs fall apart, reinforcing this point.
There’s a big difference between celebrities who provide value and those who seek to make a profit. Think of Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg as well as Tom Brady, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Brady and Paris Hilton. These are all famous people who have purchased collections and used them as profile photos.
These celebrities have been a significant catalyst for the growth and acceptance of NFT. As the space grows, it is clear that their influence will be a key factor in bringing crypto culture to the mainstream. They are simply joining us, and not altering the dynamics or creating new rules. We are creating value together in the NFT space. It is a collaborative effort.
Perhaps the most significant mainstream bridge to date has been the Adidas partnership with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gmoney, and PUNKS Comics. Adidas Originals launched a Twitter account with the new partners, shaking up the NFT community.
In this space they announced several important things. First, their plans to enter the Metaverse, which is a digital world that allows users to interact virtually in the future. They released a trailer showing Adidas’ Bored Ape, along with representations of its new partners, seamlessly moving through the sky into the Metaverse.
— adidas Originals (@adidasoriginals) December 2, 2021
The Adidas Originals account also changed its profile picture to the newly purchased Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT #8774, a very specific blue ape they named Indigo Herz, with heart glasses and a fisherman’s cap, would be the face of its brand in the Metaverse.
Why is this so groundbreaking?
Thus far, the NFT space has been comprised of individuals. The space has always been driven forward by individuals, whether they are regular traders, creators, or celebrities. Now enter Adidas, a traditional and mainstream brand that has four million Twitter followers and 26 million followers on Instagram. This brand’s presence has the ability to draw more people to the space than any individual, thereby accelerating the growth of NFTs.
To further this vision, Adidas also partnered with Coinbase, the leading cryptocurrency exchange platform. It also partnered with The Sandbox to promote its popular metaverse game. Adidas shared a tweet showing its Sandbox plot. This digital land officially cements its place in this metaverse.
Hey @adidasoriginals, impossible is nothing in the Metaverse. How about inviting all the original thinkers and doers to collaborate on our future design? https://t.co/xQrfAWHBky pic.twitter.com/fTCaqf6fho
— The Sandbox (@TheSandboxGame) November 22, 2021
Ubisoft was the next big company to follow the Web3 route this week when it announced that Ubisoft Quartz will be available on the Tezos blockchain. Users will be able buy and sell in-game items called “digits” via cryptocurrency. This is important because it will allow players to own their in-game items. Items within regular games are only available within those game’s ecosystems and would not be accessible outside of them. The blockchain allows ownership that is completely independent of the game world.
Why is this so significant?
Ubisoft is ranked among the top 25 largest gaming companies with over $5.8 billion in capital. Although this is only the beginning of NFTs, it will be able to do more in the future. Similar to Adidas and other large brands who have explored the space, each of them are bringing more attention NFTs as a technology that deserves to be taken seriously.
Introducing Ubisoft Quartz
We’re bringing the first energy efficient NFTs playable in a AAA game to Ghost Recon: Breakpoint!
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) December 7, 2021
Despite Ubisoft’s entry marking a significant step towards NFTs becoming mainstream, it was met with criticism. In fact, their YouTube video received over 20,000 dislikes in the first hour, and the company received resounding backlash across their social media, forcing it to delist the video.
When scoping the comments, it is evident that the hate stems from a number of sources where users:
- Dislike the company irrespective of NFTs.
- Dislike the payments; the cost may be out of reach for many.
- Dislike the energy consumption that NFTs require.
- Dislike NFTs in general.
This reflection certainly reaffirms the fact that NFTs require a lot of work before being accepted and adopted by a wider mainstream audience. It is not just individuals who have banned blockchain games from Steam’s store. It is unclear if Ubisoft will follow through with its plans. Its initial conviction highlighted that NFTs are rapidly growing, especially if they are adopted by a billion-dollar company.
Why are NFTs so controversial? And how can they be more mainstream adopted?
What is preventing NFTs from entering the mainstream and what improvements can be made?
Stigma and a lack of trust are two of the most fundamental reasons why NFTs have been prevented from entering the mainstream. Some stigmas can be valid for those who have been victims to rug pullings. Furthermore, many have been left vulnerable to the threat of scams and hacks that have grown increasingly. Many people have heard the words “NFTs” and “NFTs for money laundering” but this is only one side of the story.
Indeed. There are many bad actors in the space who engage in such behavior. This is similar to how scammers are also present in real life. However, this is not the whole space. A hardware wallet, also known by a cold wallet, can protect your NFTs completely. You only have the private key to access the blockchain where it is stored.
To prevent further scams, there must be safer platforms and better communication for NFT users. Rug pulls can be a problem, but they are not common in the whole space. Trustworthy NFT projects still exist. It is not necessary to force NFTs into being labeled “scam” but to gain a better understanding of their teams and do more research before investing.
Another barrier to mainstream adoption is that, if you are new to the space, setting up a Coinbase account and MetaMask wallet can be extremely confusing if you do not know where to start. This is a major barrier to entry. There are fees, transfers, and difficulties at every step. This will discourage the average person from considering the space. If NFTs are to be popularized, it must be easier to get started. Support is required. If you’re not extremely dedicated, it is impossible to set up a wallet, trade, and transfer funds on your own. This is an enormous task that can be done by anyone. We need to provide help, guidance, and support throughout the process. The intricacies of getting started are a serious barrier for entry and, although guides are helpful, something more comprehensive is needed that will make life easier for everyone involved. It is not yet clear when NFTs will be mainstream adopted.
NFTs have a long way to go before they’re adopted by the mainstream. This article shows that there are already some indications that NFTs will be adopted by the mainstream in the future. It doesn’t matter if it is celebrities, corporations or big brands, there will be more attention to the space. As the timing coincides and consumers recognize this, there could be a shift in thinking. However, there is still much to do in terms of accessibility and education.
There are clearly pros and cons to both regulation and decentralization. Centralized platforms provide safety and frameworks. Decentralization, on the other hand, allows for innovation and freedom of reign. However, decentralization can lead to scammers and bad actors.
We know that NFT is still in the experimental stage. We are already seeing the attraction of mainstream brands and companies to NFTs. NFT adoption is inevitable, regardless of how slow or rapid.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Each investment and trade involves risk. Readers should do their own research before making any decisions.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Insight is an NFT writer and community manager for a project named The Boring Ape Chronicles. He is also a passionate football fan.