These days it’s practically impossible to escape the new non-fungible code. From the biggest brands on the planet to a plethora of independent online creators, everyone is in on the action. Perhaps one of the reasons for the continued popularity of these digital collectibles is the fact that you can do so much with them. You want a token portal Get to the music festival? Issuing limited-edition collectibles to the masses? Selling never-before-seen artwork? NFTs can do it all.
However, a quick look at some of the collections launched in the past year reveals an interesting pattern. Take the social media platform reddit Which has seen huge success with NFTs, dropped for free and offered for sale to users. These tokens, featuring the platform’s beloved mascot, Snoo, are not referred to as “NFTs,” but rather as “collectible avatars.”
Then there’s the iconic band, The rolling stones, who join the likes of Madonna and the late Biggie Smalls with the launch of their new NFT collection this month. These will showcase never-before-seen photos of the band spanning from the ’60s to the ’90s. These digital assets are created in collaboration with Stones and one of, a web3 company that has been at the helm of NFT projects in the past. But, oddly enough, the official announcement doesn’t use the words “NFT” but rather the “Digital Certificate of Authenticity”.
These are just two notable cases of digital assets being issued that are, for all intents and purposes, NFTs. It is based on blockchain technology, is not fungible in and of itself, and in the case of Reddit incarnations, has racked up millions on NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea. However, while it is clear that many of these projects are doing their best to avoid the NFT label.
Why might this be
On paper, it seems contradictory. If NFTs are clearly a money maker, wouldn’t it make more sense to lean more on the industry and embrace the title?
However, one thing to remember in all of this is that while it is profitable to launch NFTs these days, the asset class remains controversial. A quick look online and you’ll see endless videos, articles, and social media posts denouncing NFTs as a scam, a fad, and everything in between. Some news stories have viewed the companies and celebrities who dabbled in NFTs as cash-scrunchers looking to make a quick buck for the public, hence the attitude in some creative circles that NFT-based art is not ‘real’ or valid.
These may be the reasons companies and public figures choose to move away from NFTs to some extent.
What are the implications of choosing “digital collectibles” over NFTs?
At the end of the day, all of these efforts to bypass the term “NFT” in branding descend into disgrace (it’s certainly not about financial viability, otherwise these kits wouldn’t have been released at all). Unfortunately, these acts of self-preservation only increase the stigma around NFTs.
Since many already casual observers see mainstream companies adopting NFTs as “selling” in some way, distancing them from the term “NFT” just means that they are something to be wary of. It also portrays NFTs as not “legitimate” projects that “respectable” companies want to be associated with.
While it has only been a few so far, we could see more major companies, public figures, and projects launching NFTs and refusing to call themselves that. If the euphemism for NFTs (eg digital collectibles) becomes the safer way to refer to them becomes mainstream, more entrepreneurs may embrace the technology to secure funding and gain the trust of the public who are not yet on the NFT train. Overall, this practice will push NFT vision to the sidelines if it continues and dampen morale.
What can he do?
There are many options that the NFT sector has in response to this naming debacle. First, projects can and will continue to boldly carry the NFT tag. This could be as a means of backtracking or as an organic measure (after all, the projects that are so quick to distance themselves from the term “NFT” are non-NFT-focused organizations that are mostly dipping their toes in the water).
Companies with a more in-game appearance likely won’t back down and distance themselves from the word NFT for fear of alienating their core customer base. However, some may see this name debacle as an opportunity to “rebrand” the industry. They may see the controversy that followed NFTs as a great deal of trouble to deal with and may even support an industry-wide re-branding (after all, while there is a great deal of content condemning ‘NFTs’, there isn’t much such content that condemns “collectible digital assets”).
But who will win in the end depends on several factors that have not yet been resolved. These include a recovery from an ongoing bear market, less backlash against NFTs, and if the trend of naming NFTs but not NFTs continues.
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*All investment/financial opinions expressed by NFT Plazas are derived from the personal research and experience of our site managers and are intended as educational materials only. Individuals are required to fully research any product before making any type of investment.
Tokoni Uti has written extensively on blockchain and cryptocurrency for years. Her work has been featured on sites like BTCmanager and Blockchain Reporter. She has a certificate in corporate communication.