If you’ve been around crypto long enough, you’ll know to hold on for the ride when there’s a crash. The NFT space, though, is a new vertical, so there’s less certainty about what to anticipate during a bear market, and also about what NFT trends to expect in general, regardless of whether we’re in a bull or a bear.
The macro environment suggests a more conservative period for NFTs. ETH should remain in blue chips, with prices settling at lower levels. It will be more difficult to mint out new collections, and there’ll be fewer pre-reveal hype-based pumps. On the whole, we’re looking at a less speculative, casino-like time.
This should change when the wider economic situation improves, but the economic situation is difficult to predict, so it’s a constantly changing picture.
On the positive side, if you have funds to deploy, then we’re in a discount market and now is the time to buy. The long-term arguments for NFTs remain unchanged, and when the cycle shifts, the psychology will too, so position yourself to be ahead of that.
One caveat to all this is that the NFT world can behave differently to other markets, and even to the rest of crypto. It should become more conservative, but there is a strong degen core, and a heavy focus on art, risky plays, and overall counter-culture weirdness, so it’s reasonable to expect the unexpected
Here are some of the top NFT trends to keep an eye out for.
If the market is more conservative, buyers will be less willing to speculate on unknown creators, so having fully doxxed teams will be important. This was the trend anyway, as scams and rugpulls were getting out of hand and buyers wanted reassurance, but now it might be accelerated by market conditions.
Established names entering this trend could have two branches:
- Large corporate entities who include NFTs as part of their business strategies.
- Other, well-established artists entering the NFT space, whose work doesn’t come across as corporate, but who have a very professional, well-packaged approach.
What will be true of both is that they can create slick products, bring their own audiences, and meet the highest standards of quality. Big names can afford to enter, regardless of the macro economic environment, and will have an eye on longer-term trends, which favor NFTs.
As an antidote to the sanitized nature of corporate names coming in, there will still be bizarre, sometimes incomprehensible meme projects that can potentially melt up (and down again) at a dizzying rate, and which can seem very random and unpredictable in their behavior.
Frankfrank is a recent (pre-crash) example of this, and seemingly illogical meme-value is in the DNA of NFTs. The OGs themselves, CryptoPunks, are deeply imbued with this characteristic, and CryptoPunks in many ways set the tone for everything that has subsequently followed.
CC0 (no rights reserved)
Also going conspicuously in the alternative, non-corporate direction, will be projects using a CC0 (no rights reserved) approach, meaning that the artwork they create is in the public domain and can be utilized by anyone.
These collections will keep the degen flame burning, and some could become valuable, with the give-it-away, maximum-creativity CC0 model carrying authenticity and a sense of breaking away from traditional standards. MFers is a famous example of this approach working out.
Membership Passes & Web3 Startups
There are NFTs–such as 0xOG Pass and Capsule House–that get you into communities and ecosystems, giving you access to mints, airdrops, and Discord servers. This model fits well with what NFTs can do, with tokens functioning as both keys and collectibles, and it looks likely to be further utilized.
Related to that, but taking it a step further, is the idea of NFTs as a means of selling exposure to or participation in projects akin to web3 startups, with Moonbirds going in this direction. The boundaries and definitions of these kinds of NFTs are not at all clear, and such experimental unknowns have huge potential, but are risky.
If every project that promised a metaverse, delivered a metaverse, we’d have a lot of metaverses, but that won’t happen, because building a metaverse is hard work and takes a lot of resources.
Then there’s the issue of pointless, ghost metaverses. Who wants to walk around an empty virtual space where there’s nothing to do? As for artificial scarcity, metaverse land is limited and expensive, but why, when it can be created endlessly?
What’s actually of value is attention, so whichever team makes its metaverse the most game-like and fun could pull away from the competition, and a project that doesn’t place emphasis on scarcity may also do well.
The Social Media Marketplace
Coinbase has taken cues from social media, incorporating social media elements (such as a YouTube-style comments section) in its NFT marketplace. Kraken is in the process of creating an NFT platform, and could perhaps go in the same direction.
NFT marketplaces with elements of social media might appear more accessible to NFT newcomers, and could go some way to mainstreaming NFT collecting and trading.
At the same time, Instagram is experimenting with incorporating NFTs (as Twitter already has), and if other social media platforms follow, NFTs would become more visible and easily understood.
This can all be seen as part of the transition from web2 to web3, with crypto and NFTs integral to the process.
Streamlining the Space
There are some observers rubbing their hands together at the prospect of NFTs imploding and disappearing forever. While the crypto market has been taking a hit right now, the total obliteration of NFTs is simply not going to happen.
There may be a streamlining of the space, but the underlying tech is here to stay, and in the long-term, clear-outs are a good thing, as we get to see who and what are sticking around for the duration.