What’s funny about NFTs is that they’re a joke to everyone except the die-hards, the visionaries, and the risk takers; until someday soon they’re not. Mainstream acceptance is coming, and these are just the forerunners. Everyone laughed at an “online bookseller”: who would buy a book online when they could just go down to their corner store? Fast forward and Amazon has become one of the most powerful powerhouse companies in the world. What we’re seeing now is some mainstream companies waking up to the way the world is progressing and starting to make moves in that direction. We’re still early and corporations move slowly, so the whispers and rumors indicate that further widespread acceptance of NFT technology and communities is on the horizon, but it’s hard to tell how close. Here are a few ideas on why these companies are making forays into NFTs.
Barbie and Balmain’s moves seem the most straightforward: toys have been viewed as collectibles for decades and NFTs serve as a digital counterpart to physical collectibles. It’s a natural transition and an opportunity for a symbiosis in traditional business due to Barbie’s collaboration with fashion company Balmain. Barbie and Balmain go together like peanut butter and jelly. Dolls and fashion are a ready-made combination and by doing an NFT collaboration, they’re creating a low risk-high reward situation for both companies: neither one fronts the cost of the NFTs alone and they can both generate some headlines. The perfect way to dip their toes in the volatile NFT waters, without being in over their heads.
Youtube finds itself in an interesting predicament. It enjoys a centralized control of its creators and the decentralized nature of blockchain and NFT technology could be perceived as a threat. There are rumors of Youtube exploring an integration of NFT tech into their existing platform/business model, but they’re hazy at best. In any case, Youtube cannot afford to sit on the sidelines.
As the space develops more fully, it’ll be interesting to see how these giants like Youtube play out their adoption of NFTs. Should they blow it off, a creator-driven platform like Youtube risks letting a competitor get ahead with the technology, which could let them steal top creators and cause Youtube to lose market share. Should the video company fully adopt it, they could lose revenue (Web 3 has a tendency to cut out intermediaries and middle men). The key for Youtube is finding a healthy balance in order to retain creators, who bring in users, who bring in money from advertisers.
Twitter has been a hub of NFT culture, creation, and shilling for a while now and their foray into the NFT space with a new profile picture surround is a very clever move. It requires a Twitter Blue subscription (around $2.99 a month) and allows NFT holders to connect their wallet and verify ownership of their NFT. They’re then able to use that NFT as a profile picture and prove their ownership in a very visible, very public way: the border of their picture becomes a soft hexagonal shape rather than a perfect circle.
This actually solves a common problem in the NFT community: where it used to take a little digging to see if someone was the actual owner of the token they were fronting on social media, it’s now instantly apparent if they’re the real real. It’s also smart on Twitter’s part because it generates extra revenue for their base business model: Twitter Blue offers other perks that interest non-NFT owners, but also has its fair share of subscribers solely for the NFT clout.
NFT technology started as a fun little experiment. That fun little experiment has grown into a fun BIG experiment, with even bigger implications. Larger, mainstream companies have taken notice and are starting to flow towards acceptance and integration. How will this integration end up? What will it look like? Grab a cold beverage, kick back, and enjoy the show with us.