In 2021, few things hit our economy or culture as hard as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Undoubtedly, these units of data are changing the way we assign value to and hold ownership of digital assets. The implications are endless, and many experts speculate that NFTs will be one of the building blocks of the metaverse.
Even in the industry’s infancy, there are already millions of NFTs representing thousands of projects. Where do you begin if you want to break into the NFT space? What makes a good NFT project in the first place?
As an advisor to an NFT gaming company and an investor in several NFT projects, including Jungle Freaks, here are a few things I have seen as contributing to a successful NFT project.
Most projects begin with artwork that is purchased for its own sake, relying on scarcity and novelty, just like purchasing art in the traditional sense. However, many founders are striving to tack on added value for those who make an NFT purchase. Perks including special access, discounts or freebies are typically offered as a reward to early adopters.
With the rise in NFTs with added perks, dubbed utility NFTs, the gap between the digital and physical world seems to be getting smaller. Making use of this new frontier is a great way to entice buyers and possibly incorporate a project you already lead.
Brands, in particular, are riding on the wave of NFTs by exploring partnerships with rising artists as a new form of marketing. I’ve seen the likes of luxury establishments like Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Balenciaga all offer limited edition items only available with the purchase of an NFT.
In its collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club, PUNKS Comic and GMoney, Adidas Originals kicked off their Into the Metaverse campaign with a tracksuit, hoodie and orange beanie. For Indonesia-based Superlative, the seamless integration of virtual and real-life experiences takes shape in the form of a trip to Bali for all NFT holders.
Using a different avenue for adding value, Jungle Freaks made a commitment to give back to vetted charities and social causes. Through their use of decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), the community decides which organization receives a portion of the NFT sales, and in December, the company made a $100,000 donation on behalf of the project to the Florida Memorial University.
If you think about it, both the DAO concept and utility NFTs have a common thread — community. If the trajectory of an NFT project is largely directed by the people the project is supported by, nurturing that community is exactly how you get ahead in the NFT space.
Fostering inclusivity and authenticity then becomes paramount when venturing into any Web3 project. In the NFT world, project leaders are keeping a pulse on things through applications like Discord and Twitter. The rules coded into their DAO and the salient features of the NFTs' utility are increasingly co-created with members on those platforms.
Founders, like George Trosley III of Jungle Freaks, recommend the cautious route as our society designs the mechanisms of the metaverse. He cautions to take it slow and steady rather than rushing the next drop. It’s relatively easy and fast to mint a new NFT, but when designing foundational rules on identity, governance and ownership, doing it right is more important than doing it fast.
After all, we’re redesigning what society can look like through these small communities. There is a massive opportunity to make the changes we want to see in the world.
Like-minded individuals will naturally band together, but the trick to the longevity of a vibrant community is consistency. Some NFT projects can be hyped up at the beginning but tend to fizzle out after a few months.
To keep from being one of the failed NFTs, creating a strong community is key. Uninterested Unicorns' founder, TerT, is an example of someone with constant communication who people invest in because he has gained their trust. The consistency of the organization's updates allows the community to follow its progress. Over time, that transparency cements into lasting confidence.
Regardless of the scale of the community, founders who show up, respond to messages (NFT-related or not) and connect with individuals on a very human level make all the difference. When you need your community’s support to ride the ups and downs that are inevitable in such a volatile space, the time and effort spent are not a waste but rather an investment.
Just as nurturing an NFT community is the cornerstone of a project’s success, your internal team must be equally strong. You’ll want a core team that is laser-focused on the vision. Surround yourself with people who can help you crush your doubts quickly.
Without that support system, the speedbumps can derail any project. In the same breath, it’s important to be surrounded by people who are unafraid to give you feedback — even if it isn’t the answer you want to hear. The best solutions typically come out of opposing ideas coming together.
In the NFT space where timing is everything and speed is paramount, introducing varied perspectives seems counterintuitive, but that’s how you avoid missing opportunities and keep things from going stale.
With the massive interest in this new frontier of Web3, it’s interesting to see where we’ll all be at in the next year. NFTs are bringing people together from different generations, different expertise and different backgrounds. That, in itself, is a joy. The trick to leading in the NFT space is obviously community. It’s all about: bringing authentic value to members, creating relationships through consistency and effort, and bringing in people with opposing perspectives who can balance your views.
It’s so early in the game when it comes to NFTs, so it’s not too late for anyone with the drive and innovation to jump in.