We like to own stuff. We especially like to own things that we find valuable, whether from an emotional or financial standpoint. Throughout history, we’ve sought ownership of physical objects—there’s a certain charm associated with the real-life qualities of the things we own.
One phenomenon that has challenged the way we think of ownership is NFTs (non-fungible tokens). They have a blockchain-based approach to proving ownership and authenticity. While they aren’t exactly a new concept, they’ve entered the public realm relatively recently when fully digital artworks were auctioned at mind-boggling prices.
Innovation comes with adopters and detractors. Whatever side you’re on, we genuinely believe that NFTs are an exciting new way of digital ownership, and we should at the very least draw inspiration from it, whether they see mass adoption or not.
Let’s take a closer look at 21 examples of NFTs and what makes them unique.
1. Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”
This work is an important milestone for visual artists around the world—it’s the first purely NFT digital artwork that has been auctioned at a major auction house (at an eye-watering $69 million).
2. William Shatner’s personal memorabilia
William Shatner is a famous actor whose career spans more than 60 years. In 2020, he released a series of his personal memorabilia in the form of NFTs that features a wide array of photographs made throughout his fruitful career. He sold 125,000 units in 9 minutes.
“They’re odd pieces — the detritus of my life, like leaving the dust of a comet behind me,” says Shatner.
3. Grimes releases WarNymph
Popular artist Grimes made $5.8 million in a matter of minutes selling her NFTs in late February this year. A collection of 10, the digital assets were titled “WarNymph,” which were the product of collaboration with her brother.
4 Nyan Cat GIF
Nyan Cat is a remarkable artifact of the internet of the 2010s. For its tenth anniversary, the video’s creator decided to turn it into an NFT and auction it off. The video was sold for a whopping 300 ETH, which is equivalent to about $852,300 at the moment of writing.
5. Jack Dorsey's first-ever tweet
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, sold the very first tweet on the platform (made on March 21, 2006) for nearly $3 million as an NFT.
Dorsey mentioned that the money raised from the NFT sale would be converted to bitcoin and then donated to a charity organization called GiveDirectly that distributes cash to people living in poverty.
7. Sports Collectibles: NBA shots
Top Shot is an NFT marketplace where basketball fans can buy, sell, and trade NBA moments. So far, the most expensive collectible traded is LeBron James dunking against the Houston Rockets, which was sold for over $387,000.
8.CryptoKitties: Probably one of the first popular NFTs created
CryptoKitties are similar to Pokemon cards, with one crucial difference—they’re based on the Ethereum blockchain. This is arguably the first NFT project that has seen overwhelming adoption—and it happened in 2017. Essentially, it was the first blockchain-based game.
9. Decentraland and Virtual worlds
Decentraland made it into the popular media once users reported making substantial profits off buying and selling digital land.
This is the first multiplayer role-playing metaverse that is based on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s important to underline that there is no actual interaction between players, like in a traditional online role-playing game.
Cryptovoxels is a mash-up of social networking, gaming, and commerce—a blockchain-based metaverse. The platform describes itself as “a user-owned virtual world running on the Ethereum blockchain.” Something similar to Minecraft but with more cryptocurrency. Users can trade parcels of land, create art galleries, and interact with other players.
11. Andrés Reisinger’s Virtual Design Objects
The Argentinian designer Andrés Reisinger found an exclusive niche for his creative output—he sells furniture NFTs. His most expensive piece was sold for little under $70,000. While this is furniture you can’t use physically, these objects can be placed in open worlds like the above-mentioned Decentraland or Minecraft.
12 RTFKT’s digital sneakers
RTFKT is making big waves in fashion. Even though the people that buy his NFT sneakers won’t ever be able to wear them, they’re still willing to pay upwards of $10,000 for a pair.
In the March of 2021, RTFKT has sold a series of sneakers that he made with another artist called Fewocious—they managed to collect $3,1 million in sales in a matter of minutes.
13. Nike’s NFT sneakers
Back in 2019, Nike Inc applied and secured a patent that will allow them to be at the forefront of the NFT craze.
Nike’s patent allows them to merge physical and virtual sneakers, which will enable them to monetize on both. Owners of virtual shoes will be able to have them manufactured in the real world.
14. Share tokenized tickets with your audience
NFTs are more than just art collectibles, the technology can represent any type of unique information, and event tickets are no exception.
There are now multiple platforms that allow event organizers to mint NFT tickets at a specific price. More importantly, this will enable them to benefit from possible resales of the said tickets.
15. Gary Vaynerchuk is launching art NFTs linked to Ethereum
Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has recently released his own NFT collection called “VeeFriends,” which is a series of over 10,000 tokens.
While there isn’t much artistic merit in these tokens, Vaynerchuk’s approach focuses on selling access to special privileges. The people who own these tokens will be eligible for various benefits, services, gifts, and communication with Vaynerchuk, based on the scarcity of the token.
16. NFT for Good
NFT for Good is yet another example of NFT technology taken beyond the simple ownership of art. This is an organization backed by Binance Charity and its partners that operates on the Binance Smart Chain. NFT for Good allows people to sell their art, and thus, tackle humanitarian issues.
17. Taco Bell’s charitable NFTs
Taco Bell has recently embarked on exploring the NFT craze by commissioning a series of GIFs and images based on dishes from their menu. Their tokens were sold out within about minutes from the launch.
Their NFTs were modestly priced—$1 per piece. While they haven’t generated substantial revenue, they’ve certainly created a lot of buzz on social media. More importantly, all the proceedings were donated to the Taco Bell Foundation, which is the chain’s charity organization.
18. Unstoppable Domains
Unstoppable Domains is a blockchain startup that focuses on enabling direct access to .crypto domains from all popular browsers, a feature that was not accessible a while ago. Once a person claims a domain, it is minted as an NFT, providing full ownership and control over it.
19. Real estate tokenization
Blockchain is also gradually entering the real estate industry, allowing investors to purchase shares of property by tokenizing it. This tokenization helps asset owners sell their property quickly and efficiently, while investors can enjoy higher transparency and liquidity.
The tokenization of an asset implies dividing it into “shares” or “tokens.” For instance, if you’re looking to sell an asset with a surface of 1,000 square meters that costs about $1,000,000, you can divide it into individual square meters and sell them individually at $1,000 per share.
20. Licenses and certifications
Today, we still rely on paper certificates and licenses to verify our skill sets. Blockchain technology allows us to create rock-solid, unfalsifiable proof of a received degree or qualifications.
Businesses and institutions could greatly benefit from accessing such licenses with the functionalities of NFTs. This approach alleviates the need for verification and record checking.
21. Why NFTs can offer marketing opportunities for FMCG brands
It’s not surprising that the craze around NFTs has pushed various brands to capitalize on it. For instance, Pringles has created CryptoCrisp, which the brand calls its “newest virtual NFT flavor.”
One such flavor was sold for a high price of $2,542. Recently, the brand has released 50 more CryptoCrisp NFTs that were created by artist Vasya Kolotusha.
Another, even more curious, example is Procter & Gamble’s NFT toilet paper (that’s right). While these examples may seem absurd to many, these are but a few businesses that have garnered significant attention in the media for choosing to dabble in blockchain, arguably increasing their revenues.
While NFTs are still a foreign concept to most of us, many of the examples above push the boundaries of our understanding of ownership and alternative payment methods. Some of them are purely marketing stunts, others truly charitable acts.
It appears that NFTs are here to stay, and it’s our responsibility to make an effort to understand this odd, new phenomenon.