2020 was quite the year, and not only in the social, political, or healthcare levels. Blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and other tokens positioned themselves over that time and seem now closer than ever to breaking into the mainstream.
Just one look at the price of Bitcoin, blockchain’s sweetheart, tells us enough about it: The six-months (and ongoing) bull market has surpassed Bitcoin’s previous highs, and the strong interest in it from economy giants hints we might be seeing a new status quo.
However, there’s more to blockchain than Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, so while Bitcoin keeps going up and up it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at other uses of Blockchain that could well revolutionize our society. In this case, specifically, let’s look at Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) and how they fared in 2020.
Coming from the Austrian Post, Crypto Stamp is an attempt to turn stamps into digital assets in the blockchain, allowing them to be used, traded, and collected as many people do with physical stamps.
While this might seem a silly endeavor, it follows closely on the CryptoKitties craze, where digital collectibles can indeed become sought after and greatly increase in value just by existing.
Thanks to the Blockchain, Crypto Stamp allows stamp collectors to safely trade for them knowing they’re legit (since there’s no way to create “fake” ones,) and giving them the ability to know how many owners any given stamp has had, and how it has been traded or used before.
The Sandbox / Decentraland
A gaming-based NFT (and there are a lot of these,) The Sandbox aims to create a virtual world where the players themselves can own and trade virtual properties and items. Each of these is coined into a non-fungible token to allow for easy trading, creating an in-game economy where every item is truly unique.
More importantly, The Sandbox also allows users to create LAND tokens, which are self-contained gaming experiences. This turns the blockchain into an entertainment center where every LAND token you buy is a wholly new experience, and where content creators can craft unique, one-off experiences tailored for different users.
Another collectible-based blockchain platform, Terra Virtua has quickly attracted lots of attention thanks not only to its goals, but also the experience of its creators and the large amount of media companies that seem to be onboard with the project.
Terra Virtua offers its users the chance to trade and own digital collectibles, in much the same way Crypto Stamp above does – although, in Terra Virtua’s case, the collectibles are much more varied than just stamps.
Terra Virtua’s aims is to create a virtual playground where people can own not only decorative digital items, but also entertainment products such as films or music that can be freely used while inside the virtual world.
Moreover, the project aims to include AR and Virtual Reality-based components, allowing for an immersive experience where users, and their friends, can explore each other’s galleries and collections, creating a complex digital environment for entertainment and socialization.
As mentioned above, several media companies are onboard with the project. Among the larger ones are Paramount and Legendary Pictures, whose properties and products are expected to arrive at the platform.
Yet another gaming-based NFT (There are tons of these, as gaming and media seem to be the most common uses for NFTs for now,) Aavegotchi is a complex, Tamagotchi-like experience in the sandbox.
In Aavegotchi, each creature is summoned from a portal and is unique. However, unlike other NFTs, Aavegotchis have an intrinsic value themselves, since in order to summon them certain amounts of cryptocurrency must be paid.
On top of each creature being generated as a unique item, users can further personalize them by equipping them with items that will change their stats and looks, allowing every owner of an aavegotchi to have a unique creature (or many) to fit their tastes.
Another somewhat revolutionary component of Aavegotchi is the rarity aspect of their NFTs. Each aavegotchi is created with a rarity, as is common in videogames, which can be common, uncommon, rare, epic, and so on. However, unlike in current videogames, in the Aavegotchi world rarity is permanently changing and getting readjusted based on the market and current existence.
In a unique way, a rare or ultra-rare Aavegotchi could become less rare over time, based on both the creatures the RNG creates and how other users choose to develop and equip their own.
A DeFi-based project, Warp Finance is one of the non-entertainment related uses of NFTs that could well take flight soon.
Most of Warp Finance’s inner workings aren’t related to non-fungible tokens, so it’s easy to dismiss them at first. Close to the goals of DeFi, Warp Finance’s main approach is to offer loans to those who need them while allowing others to provide liquidity and obtain collateral payments in the form of a portion of the blockchain transaction fees. Call it a high-level staking system, if you will.
However, Warp Finance is also entering the world of NFTs, at first tentatively with limited, collector edition Warp NFTs to be assigned to early users who take part in its “Team Explorer Campaign.”
This campaign, true to the goals of DeFi and Warp Finance, lets users form teams and pool together their liquidity offerings to the blockchain. Teams with larger liquidity offers get rarer NFTs, while teams with lower ones will get more common rewards.
The important part of these NFTs, however, is this: They aren’t just virtual assets to keep as part of a collection. Instead, these Warp NFTs are expected to allow their owners to boost their earnings in the platform, letting them reap higher rewards for lower investments as a thank you for being early adopters and believers in the platform.
Warp Finance is currently one of the most high-profile DeFi-based projects, and shall its approach not only towards NFTs, but towards blockchain banking and funding be successful, we’ll see many more projects of this kind pop up in 2021 and beyond.
In a clear representation of what the crypto scene offers, NFTs have shown that the market can be deepened with new products and innovations. Better adoption of blockchain and crypto beckons in the days ahead.