After growing by over 26,000% from 2020 to 2021, the net sales volume of the NFT marketplace is expected to reach $35 billion by the end of 2022 and $80 billion by 2025.
This prediction is leading investors, artists, and giant corporations like Mcdonald’s, Panera, and Nike to use NFTs and take advantage of a rapidly-expanding digital marketplace.
As NFTs continue to evolve and expand the possibilities of digital ownership, the opportunities to create, invest, and profit are only increasing.
In this article, we will explain what an NFT is and the difference between fungible and non-fungible goods, as well as provide examples of the best NFTs and their impact on digital assets.
Also, be sure to check out our quick and easy "best NFTs" summary at the end.
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What is an NFT?
To understand NFTs, it's important to know the difference between fungible and non-fungible goods.
Fungible vs. Non-fungible
Fungible means interchangeable; a fungible item can be replaced by something of equal worth. Paper money, for example, is fungible because we can change one $20 bill into two $10 bills without losing any value.
Non-fungible items, however, contain unique features that prevent them from being traded interchangeably. Paintings, such as the Mona Lisa, are non-fungible because they exist in their singularity. There is only one Mona Lisa, so it cannot be traded for anything of equal value.
Instead, demand determines the price of non-fungible items. In the case of the Mona Lisa, its uniqueness, combined with its artistic and historic value, derives its $850 million worth.
NFTs (Non-fungible Tokens) are the digital evolution of non-interchangeable goods. Unlike conventional digital media, which can be copied and reused infinitely, NFTs use blockchain technology to ensure each item’s authenticity by embedding virtual content with unique, identifiable signatures.
The blockchain stores the NFT’s content and signature and links the item to the owner’s digital wallet. Non-owners may still view the NFT, but, unless they purchase it and transfer it to their wallets, they do not own the item itself. NFTs, thus, advance ownership in the digital world. Before, we could only possess digital currencies; Now, we can be the proprietary owners of digital items in the form of NFTs.
NFT technology also allows creators to limit the supply of their digital content. If an artist publishes a piece as an NFT, there will only be as many copies as the artist releases. If an NFT creation has high demand, its limited supply, or even uniqueness, can increase its value dramatically. One NFT, for instance, Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days sold for nearly $70 million, making it the most expensive NFT ever sold.
Although commonly used for art, NFTs allow us to own a variety of digital goods. Currently, OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, hosts over 4 million assets, including art, music, metaverse land, video game items, and more.
Best NFT Examples
Below, we will list 20 of the most notable examples of NFTs so you can better understand what they are and how they are changing the way we think about digital assets.
Originally released in 2017, CryptoPunks are profile picture art collectibles that became one of the highest-valued NFT collections after gaining mainstream recognition. Several prominent pop culture figures, such as our client Snoop Dogg, joined the world of NFTs, buying their own CryptoPunk and using them for their social media profiles.
Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)
The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) launched in April 2021 with a collection of 10,000 digital apes. Each ape has a unique look, generated from over 170 possible traits. Several traits occur very rarely, and rare apes sell for much higher prices. Some apes are currently valued at over $2 million.
Unlike CryptoPunks, the BAYC offers buyers more than just images. The apes also serve as Yacht Club membership cards and provide member-only benefits, including access to a virtual, collaborative graffiti board. Several famous people now have their own Bored Apes such as Brazilian soccer superstar, Neymar Jr., who bought his ape for $481.6K.
RFTKT (pronounced “artifact”) is an NFT fashion studio that designs and sells digital 3D sneakers and other digital artifacts in the form of NFTs. RFTKT studios gained enough fame to attract the attention of the multinational footwear giant, Nike, which bought the start-up and began selling their own virtual shoes.
One of the first metaverses, Decentraland is a virtual world where users can own land, houses, art, or even clothes. By buying land and products as NFTs, users can assert real ownership over virtual possessions. Some people have even purchased Decentraland items for as much as $500,000.
SandBox is another metaverse in which people can buy land, clothes, and other digital collectibles. The virtual world recently gained notoriety for a few large transactions, including the sale of “The Metaflower Super Mega Yacht” NFT for around $650,000.
Looking to capitalize on Sandbox’s expanding digital marketplace, several large companies, like Adidas, Binance, Etoro, and Atari, have begun buying land in the metaverse.
NBA Top Shot
NBA Top Shot offers video NFTs of the most memorable moments of NBA history for users to buy, trade, and collect. Just like trading cards, certain items in this collection are incredibly rare, and their owners have traded them for over $200,000.
Vault by CNN
CNN launched its marketplace to sell digital records in the form of NFTs. Now, users can buy video clips and art of historical moments like the fall of the Berlin Wall or the 2020 presidential election.
Currently the most disruptive NFT marketplace, RMRK Singular offers NFTs built with the new RMRK 2.0 framework. The new dynamic, interoperable NFTs can own and equip other NFTs, contain different content formats, link to other assets, and change with interaction. RMRK aims to continue evolving NFTs to increase their usefulness in the digital world.
Sorare is an NFT-based fantasy soccer game. You can buy, sell and collect different NFT player cards to create a team. Depending on your selected players’ real-world performance, you can win points and ascend to a better league.
Axie Infinity is a game where players buy, sell, and trade digital NFT creatures called Axies. The creators advertise the game as “play to earn,” offering cryptocurrency rewards for gameplay. Players form teams of Axies and battle others. The winner of the battle earns an SLP token, worth about 20 cents. Players can also earn money by breeding Axies and selling the offspring for more tokens.
Highly influenced by the BAYC, the Hape Prime collection consists of 4K, 3D-modelled ape avatars that model digital fashion. Originally sold for $600 each, the value of the HAPEs has increased considerably, with some now costing $200,000. Due to their emphasis on fashion and their rapid success, several major fashion brands have even begun approaching Hape Prime to work on collaborations.
Seattle NFT Museum
Although existing virtually on the blockchain, NFTs are more than pieces of data. Recently, NFTs have become a popular medium for digital artists and graphic designers. To exhibit these NFT art collections, the Seattle NFT Museum has become the first brick-and-mortar location to offer a physical experience with virtual art, displaying the NFTs with large, high-quality displays.
Metaverse Property is the first real estate agency operating in the metaverse. They allow users to buy, rent, sell and develop virtual plots of land in the form of NFTs. They currently offer properties in the most popular metaverses: Decentraland, Sandbox, Somnium, Upland, and Cryptovoexels.
Verisart Digital Certifications
Verisart’s digital certifications serve as permanent, non-static digital records that allow creators and collectors to certify their artworks and collectibles. With a Verisart certificate, creators can prove their identity and increase buyers’ confidence. Also with certificates, creators and collectors can view a record of the NFT, including information about the work from the artist and its purchase history.
Centrifuge offers small- to mid-sized enterprises the ability to liquidate real-world assets on the blockchain. With the Centrifuge protocol, you can convert assets such as invoices, mortgages, and real estate into NFTs, bringing them into the realm of DeFi (Decentralized Finance) and unlocking their value. Once on the blockchain, investors and borrowers can fund their assets without intermediaries.
As previously mentioned, Graphic designer and digital artist, Michael Winklemann, known as Beeple, sold his piece “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for $69.3 million at Christie’s auction house. It is the first purely NFT sale by the auction house, and it is the biggest, single NFT sale ever made.
Andrés Reisinger Furniture NFTs
In 2021, Argentinian Designer André Reisinger sold “The Shipping” collection of 10 virtual furniture NFTs for $450,000. The owners of the surreal 3D furniture models can place them in popular virtual worlds such as Decentraland and Somnium Space or view the models in virtual or augmented reality.
Taco Bell GIFs
Noticing the popularity of NFTs, the fast-food chain released 25 NFT GIFs, each originally priced the same as an actual Taco Bell taco, around $1. After 30 minutes, the NFTs sold out. Now, with every resale, Taco Bell receives royalties and donates all the profits to the Taco Bell Foundation.
Producing 10 digital art pieces in collaboration with her brother, musical artist Grimes sold her WarNymph NFT collection for around $6 million. The collection features short video clips with original music and other digital images, all related to her album Miss Anthropocene.
15 years after publishing the first tweet, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold a digitally autographed version of the first-ever post on the platform in an auction for around $2.9 million. Jack Dorsey donated the profits to the Give Directly Africa Fund to help those struggling with poverty.
Summary of Best NFTs
The following is a breakdown of the 20 best NFTs in 2022:
NFTReleasedAsset TypeAverage CostCryptoPunks2017Art token$350k - $500kBored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)2021Profile Picture$280k-$2 MillionRFTKT2020Fashion Collectibles$16kDecentraland2020Metaverse Item$3-$1 MillionSandbox2021Metaverse Item$10kNBA Top Shot2020Player Card$50-$200kVault by CNN2021Media token$20-$500RMRK Singular2021Interoperable Collectibles$1-$150 MillionSorare2018Player Card$2-$800kAxie Infinity2018Game Character$20-$800kHape Prime20223D fashion model$600-$200kSeattle NFT Museum2021Digital ArtN/AMetaverse Property2020Real EstateN/AVerisart Certificates2015Digital Certification$10/mo-$50/moCentrifuge2017DeFi AssetN/ABeeple’s Everydays2021Art token$69 MillionFurniture NFTs2021Virtual Furniture$20kTaco Bell GIFs2021Art token$20kGrimes WarNypmph2021Art Token$12kFirst-ever Tweet2021Tweet$2.9 Million
In the last few years alone, NFTs have opened a multi-billion dollar market that continues to grow every day. Yet, NFT technology is still very young. With the development of NFTs, such as the innovations made by RMRK’s new NFT framework, their uses and potential will surely only increase.
NFTs are changing the way we think about digital goods by allowing us to claim ownership and generate value by limiting supply. They have advanced the digital art market, as well as laid the foundations for the metaverse economy.
As experts predict the inevitable increase in NFT sales, the potential investments opportunities for NFT technology only appear to be getting more rewarding. Do yo think NFTs are here to stay? Let us know below.