NFT Roundup #13: NFTs linked to real world events; decentralized NFT hubs on Polkadot and Cardano; More metaverse plays
This is a curated newsletter, covering news stories about NFTs. The NFT market is moving rapidly, and this is an attempt to provide some means of keeping up with its developments. Your curator is Dave Friedman.
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Here’s an interesting Twitter post about dynamic NFTs:
If you click through the link, you will see this description:
The next evolution in NFTs is moving from static NFTs to dynamic NFTs—perpetual smart contracts that use oracles to communicate with and react to external data and systems. The oracle allows the NFT to use external data/systems as a mechanism for minting/buying NFTs, trading peer-to-peer, and checking state. For example, a smart contract that automates the minting of a limited edition digital soccer card if the oracle informs it that a player scored a hat-trick.
There’s a lot going on here, and it’s really quite interesting. First, oracles, in crypto-speak, are pieces of software which allow on-chain data, like NFTs, to interact with off-chain data or events. Think of an oracle as a bridge between blockchain world and the real world. Coindesk has a handy explainer here.
One of the main criticisms of NFTs as they exist today is that they offer limited to no utility. While the “no utility” argument is fairly clear with art NFTs such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club, even things like NFT ticketing don’t have clear utility beyond the event to which the NFT ticket admits the ticket holder.
But what if NFTs were created, contingent on certain real-world events happening? That’s what’s proposed in the description quoted above: imagine an NFT whose smart contract will instantiate a new NFT, based upon a real world event. In the example given, the real world event is a hat trick scored by a soccer player, but the real world event can be quite literally any event that anyone can conceive.
Current NFT marketplaces like OpenSea are centralized, in much the same way that Coinbase is centralized. And, some crypto advocates don’t like that: they argue that centralization is both a point of vulnerability and a security weakness.
Xeno NFT Hub aims to fix these issues by building a decentralized NFT marketplace. Its white paper is available here. The underlying technology is a parachain within the Polkadot ecosystem. A parachain on Polkadot is similar to a sidechain on Ethereum.
Artion is yet another NFT marketplace, operating on yet another blockchain, this time one called Fantom.
While I am very much a proponent of all of this development activity, I have to wonder how many different NFT marketplaces/platforms/exchange, across different blockchains, there can really be.
In the SaaS (software-as-a-service) world, venture capitalists and other observers routinely remark that markets are much larger than many initially assumed. There are many unicorn SaaS startups, and several hundred billion dollars’ worth of publicly traded SaaS companies. So I don’t want to be so bold as to say that there is only room for one or two NFT marketplaces/exchanges/platforms. Though there might be—I don’t really know, and I don’t think that anyone who claims to know really has any idea.
Cardano is another blockchain on top of which people are trying to build NFT marketplaces: “Emurgo, the commercial and venture arm of Cardano, is investing $100 million to boost decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible token (NFT) products and blockchain education efforts for the world’s fourth-largest blockchain.”
As with Fantom and Polkadot above, it is unclear what the market demand is for NFT marketplaces. Ethereum and Solana look to have a solid lead in the development of NFTs marketplaces—can either Fantom or Polkadot or both supplant or complement Ethereum and/or Solana? Only time will tell.
The notion of the metaverse is getting a lot of play these days, especially as it pertains to NFTs. At a very high level, the idea is this: the metaverse will be an entire virtual economy in which people transact with each other, businesses, and DAOs, all using one or more virtual currencies. And many, if not all, of the assets being bought and sold will be represented as NFTs.
If this doesn’t make sense to you, the trailer for the movie Ready Player One offers a Hollywood interpretation:
Given all of this, here’s another entrepreneur hoping to build the break out product for the metaverse:
Initially, SuperWorld began as a way to integrate Virtual and Augmented Reality into the property game. However, it has since expanded to include an NFT marketplace that aims to promote causes for good.
“About four and a half years ago, five years ago, Pokemon GO came out became this huge world sensation. A lot of people don’t know, but it was the fastest company in history to hit a billion dollars in revenue. Back then, we thought to ourselves, what if we can build the next Pokemon Go. What if we could build a world. What if we could build a place where the next 1,000 Pokemon Go’s gets built on top of it,” he explains.
You can check out Superworld’s web site here.