I tried, I really, really tried to keep out of NFTs. I told myself that it’s just a temporary trend that would fade in a couple of months, I told myself that it’s basically gampling, but nothing helped. I reached the inevitable conclusion that NFTs are inescapable. And as an adventure seeking investor, I couldn’t stay out of it. So I read, and digged, and researched and here I am today, sharing some thoughts I have on NFTs and the ones that made it (or will make it) into my portfolio. Forgive me father for I have sinned.
So what are NFTs? If you happen to have been living under a rock over the past year, here’s a quick recap. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs, duh), are blockchain-based digital assets that are designed to be unique, traceable, and irreplicable. NFTs basically store data on blockchains, and this data can be anything from artsy images, videos, audio, or even physical objects. You can buy or sell NFTs on specialized marketplaces, and owning an NFT means that you own this specific piece of data (you get a unique digital signature that no one else has, which makes it difficult to exchange NFTs).
Ok, so we’ve got the basics cover, and still the question remains - what’s with all the hype? Honestly, I’m not too sure, but one thing I do know is that the NFT business is growing, and fast. According to the trading site NonFungible.com, over the month of June, $59.2m worth of NFTs were sold. Last month, monthly NFT sales reached $2.6bn. Analysts are already predicting that the NFT market will experience an even more tremendous surge in volume over the next year, as more major investors jump on the bandwagon. So yeah, NFT is growing, and for all I care, I want to be a part of it. It looks like it is still too early to find precise growth projections and CAGR, but with the NFT market growing 20 times larger in just 2021, a massive market increase in the next few years seems to be a consensus amongst analysts.
So far, soaring interest in NFTs was growing with major investors like Visa and others looking to get into the market. Not only that, but huge global companies are now branching out in pursuit of having their own share of NFT action and launching some cool new platforms. GameStop (NYSE:GME) for example, soared 20% after its NFT strategy was reported. All we know for now is that as part of GME’s attempts to reinvent itself as a digital-first retailer, the company is creating its own NFT market and already talks with crypto and blockchain operators about what tokens would be accepted on it. GME is also working on setting up potential funds to invest in NFT content creators and game studios. Another major company entering the NFT world is Ebay. In May, Ebay announced it will allow selling NFTs on its platform and started building up digital collectibles galleries to be sold on its platform.
But IMO, GME and EBAY are already overbought, overpriced and nothing new for investors. More interestingly, there are a few companies that already announced an upcoming IPO that I think will have a much better value and will be able to appeal to Millennial, NFT savvy investors, and if we’ve learnt anything in the past year is that these guys can grow the stocks they like in np time.
One of the hottest upcoming IPOs is OpenSea. If you haven’t heard about it yet, OpeanSea is the one you need to have on your radar. It’s the world’s first and largest NFT marketplace launched in 2017, and it currently offers over 80M NFTs to more than 600K users around the world. OpenSea enables users to exchange assets on the Ethereum blockchain without the need to rely on third parties or trust each other. Last month, OpenSea’s CFO started spreading the rumor about the company’s IPO and that it will allow it to expand into new industries, by acquiring companies, striking partnerships and creating joint ventures. However, OpenSea’s community didn’t take the news too well and following user’s backlash, the company denied the IPO plans.
Another exciting upcoming IPO, and a more reliable one, is digital agency Looking Glass Labs (LGL, reserved ticker is NEO: $NFTX). LGL seeks to position itself as a sectoral leader specializing in NFT architecture, immersive XR metaverse design blockchain due diligence consultancy, and virtual asset royalty stream management. It’s kinda hard to summarize LGL’s reach, but essentially, it partners with and supports world-leading NFT studios like House of Kibaa (a fully owned subsidiary) and collabs with others like the Gutter Cat Gang and Bored Apes Yacht Club.
The company offers NFT marketing campaigns to clients, helps NFT platforms to connect and collaborate with artists and partners, provides clients with technical services, community building opportunities and design and to integrate their NFTs into metaverses. In terms of LGL’s IPO, it is expected to happen pretty soon (Q1 ‘22) on Canada’s NEO exchange (Maple Leaf-themed Nasdaq, basically). Full details aren’t out yet, but LGL already has a well established NFT savvy fan-base that is starting to catch tech investors’ attention (including mine).
So yeah, NFTs are an unavoidable fact now, and even if you’re not an 18 year-old, you can still jump on the bandwagon and make some profit off of it. If you’re like me and still pretty new to this world, take a sec to sniff around before putting your money in theore, because like every market trend, there are some traps and over-hypes you don’t want to fall into. But, as I hope I managed to portray, there are some cool old and new players with huge growth potential out there that are worth keeping an eye out for.