Throughout 2022, the bear market has affected the blockchain industry in ways many would never have anticipated. From entire crypto exchanges imploding, to free-to-mint projects dominating the charts, and some of the biggest NFT brands defying the odds and becoming still bigger, all things NFTs have radically shifted over the last year.
But while overt market switch-ups like Reddit’s overnight NFT empire and Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter have caused palpable ripples throughout Web3, there are less noticeable evolutions happening at the forefront of the NFT ecosystem. As entities like Gamestop, Reddit, and now Instagram continue to join the NFT marketplace race in full force, established platforms like Rarible, SuperRare, and the like have been innovating behind the scenes, changing bit by bit.
The State Of NFT Marketplaces
NFT marketplaces aren’t what they used to be, but it isn’t for a lack of trying that even the most prominent points of sale have been losing out. If we consider that the overall sales volume on OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, is down nearly 90 percent in December 2022 as opposed to December 2021, it’s clear to see that the entire NFT market is in decline.
Perhaps this is why numerous marketplaces have slowly been leveling up. Whether in an attempt to maintain their market share or to simply help push the NFT space forward, many of the NFT space’s leading platforms have been undergoing changes. From adding new features to upgrading user interfaces, it may at first have seemed that each NFT marketplace update was an isolated event, but now it’s become difficult to discount the palpable trend among market movers.
Potentially one of the most palpable reconfigurations was that of Rarible. In the fall of 2022, the marketplace rolled out a feature-packed update called Rarible 2. The update saw the platform become an aggregated NFT marketplace (akin to OpenSea and LooksRare) and introduced the RARI Foundation, bringing Rarible another step toward full decentralization.
Not to be overshadowed by an opponent in any way, Rarible’s new iteration came as the exclusive platform SuperRare was also making waves by announcing something called the RarePass — an offering that gives collectors the chance to purchase artwork from up to 24 exceedingly important crypto-artists through a single transaction. Even others, like OpenSea, have entered their names into the ring as well, going through their own metamorphoses and emerging with newly robust curatorial offers, analytics, and security features for users.
Yet, while these more notable occurrences are surely indicative of that aforementioned trend, the debate surrounding NFT creator royalties has also caused platforms like Magic Eden to make significant changes to their infrastructures. As zero/optional royalties marketplaces like Blur, X2Y2, and others surge, stagnancy is undoubtedly wearing thin in the NFT space. But whether or not this current marketplace evolutionary fad and/or changing of the guard will be beneficial or disadvantageous for Web3 remains to be seen.
The Future Of NFTs
Not only do some industry professionals feel that the NFT market will continue to exist, but they also anticipate that it will continue to expand and play an increasingly crucial role in the digital economy. According to a report covered by Cointelegraph, the NFT market could be worth $231 billion by 2030. This is due to continued adoption within the video game, music, art, and digital collectible industries.
Experts also believe that our lives will become more virtual in the coming years. It’s possible that in the near future, people will be able to carry out their daily activities within a virtual space, using virtual assets. Essentially, this will represent the creation of a metaverse in which everything is transformed into an NFT token. Although it is unknown how this will coexist with our physical life in the “real world,” the revolution is already well on its way to being realized.
Some experts believe that NFTs will soon reach mainstream status. Jack Vinijtrongjit, CEO of AAG — a Web3 development firm — told Cointelegraph, “NFTs are evolving from just being a collectible and speculative tool to real-world use cases, such as identity and customer relationship management. We can already see companies like Starbucks using it as a replacement for their membership card and universities issuing NFTs for a diploma. I believe we are about to see NFTs moving from niche to mainstream as the result.”
The reaction of the video game industry to the introduction of NFTs has been the subject of much conjecture. Although some businesses are currently delivering digital assets as a part of blockchain games like Ember Sword, the widespread adoption of this technology has not yet occurred in the gaming community, leading many specialists to wonder how or even whether they will take off in the mainstream gaming industry.