Adventure by Pexels via Pixabay
An NFT Entrepreneur Newsletter by Clyde F. Smith
I want to thank all of my subscribers for staying with me or joining since my last newsletter in September. Late that month my mother passed and it threw an already weird year into disarray.
I wish she was here to see what’s happening. She was fascinated by crypto and a reminder that, when people don’t get it, it’s not due to their age.
Unlike a lot of folks, all my immediate family has been interested in and supportive of my NFT activity and successes. But mom was the only one who actually tried to understand what I was talking about!
Lots of people leaving. Let’s value them while they’re with us.
– Clyde F. Smith
NFT Entrepreneur and Related Projects in 2021
2021 was a surprise year in all sorts of ways. Nobody I knew in NFT Land was ready for March and the NFT explosion. Or even January, or any month in 2021.
For my part, I was involved with a wide range of NFT-focused projects, most of which will continue in 2022.
I also launched and then shut down NFT Newswire, a free press release posting service. That had potential but is not where I want to spend my time. However, I’m retweeting news daily at the NFT Newswire Twitter account, so that’s worth a look.
On Twitter, I created NFT Security, an account that aggregates security news from breaking scams to ongoing discord exploits. Everyone should follow that one.
I’m about to launch a forum for CryptoArtCoin holders to lay the groundwork for a DEX listing and trading later this year. If you’re interested in keeping up, you can subscribe to the email newsletter and/or follow the Twitter feed. If you want to get involved, hit me back.
CryptoArtNet continues and I recently relaunched CryptoArt News, the site’s news blog, to focus on members. CryptoArtNet members are very active in new initiatives and range from OG artists to rising NFT art stars. You may subscribe here.
NFT Entrepreneur’s Big Themes of 2021
At NFT Entrepreneur, I covered a relatively wide range of business topics. To some extent, I was feeling out the landscape. Here are themes from 2021 that look especially important a month into 2022.
As NFTs went mainstream in all sorts of odd and surprising ways, I began to think a lot about what would happen if one of the ‘FAANG Gang’, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, got into NFTs in a big way.
A Facebook entry via Instagram still makes the most sense in the near term with Meta a huge question mark.
LooksRare and Coinbase NFT
Yet, wondering what the FAANG Gang will do seems increasingly less relevant after a year of new NFT platform launches and the addition of NFT marketplaces to a variety of major Web3-native and Web3-friendly sites. Increasingly the competition seems to be between Web3 rivals rather than against Web2 companies newly entering the space. And much of the action involving traditional corporations is either facilitated by or created in partnership with Web3 companies and artists.
Currently, LooksRare is the center of attention as a possible ‘OpenSea Killer’ but its status is complicated by wash trading. Interestingly enough, we’re at a level of understanding that wash trading stats were quickly noted and discounted from LooksRare stats overall. With that done, LooksRare is a big success but not yet a steamroller.
92% of LooksRare’s $9.5 billion in trading is wash trading. That means they’ve done $760mm in ACTUAL NFT SALES. That’s more than Rarible, SuperRare, Foundation, Makersplace, KnownOrigin, and Async did combined in ALL OF 2021. I’d consider their launch quite a success…
I’m still waiting to see what Coinbase NFT does. I believe it has the best chance of becoming a leading contender given its dominance among exchanges and the general sense of anticipation. Yet, LooksRare seems responsive to its users and that’s key to getting past the ‘buying users with free money’ approach to customer acquisition.
Hic et Nunc
The forces of centralization and decentralization are playing themselves out in NFT Land in a variety of ways. The story of Hic et Nunc is a great example of a founder launching a product, the community growing, the founder quitting but the community continuing.
I wrote a two part overview for NFTS WTF looking at Hic et Nunc’s unique trajectory. It’s worth understanding as an example of how decentralization can lead to new outcomes.
Between Hic et Nunc and the Clean NFT movement, Tezos has become a significant blockchain for the cryptoart and NFT creator communities.
When headlines about insider trading at OpenSea hit, I was concerned that they would alert regulators to an opportunity to regulate some NFTs. Apparently so was OpenSea cause they clarified that it was not insider trading. It just had a similar look!
Currently, LooksRare wash trading is in crypto and NFT headlines. We’ll see if it crosses over into mainstream media as did the OpenSea news. It seems likely to get picked up by tech and media publications that are covering such Web3 news now. In 2020, when folks were wash trading on Rarible for $RARI, mainstream media wasn’t so interested.
However, the likelihood is that crypto will continue to see the bulk of regulators’ attention with the status of stablecoins being a serious concern for both crypto and NFT traders. U.S. regulators and politicians might even finally decide who gets to regulate!
NFTs as Securities
The potential for NFTs to be regulated as securities was a big interest of mine in 2021 but it faded towards the end of the year. I’m still watching developments but, as I learn more, it seems clear that initial attacks will come through attacks on crypto. These attacks will undermine our payments infrastructure, potential disruption of stablecoins being an excellent example, and will possibly jeopardize NFT companies that have issued governance tokens.
I wrote about one interesting experiment of which folks should be aware. Otis describes itself as a “Stock Market for Culture.” Essentially it’s an auction platform for hip collectibles, from physical sports cards and trendy art to digital NFTs, all of which have been fractionalized. The twist is that each item for sale is registered as a security in the U.S. with the SEC.
Given that fractionalized NFTs are the most obvious form of security peculiar to NFT Land, this seems like a very smart move. Though Otis is focused on individual collectibles, I could see this approach being taken with bundles of NFTs, for example, NFT vaults backing social currencies. It could also be taken with new NFTs so Otis or a similar site could develop a primary market for fractionalized NFTs registered with the SEC.
If you’re collecting and/or trading NFTs, Genie is an awesome tool for buying multiple NFTs for one transaction fee. Great for sweeping floors!
What’s Next for NFT Entrepreneur?
I want to put a lot more time into the newsletter this year. I’d like to keep them shorter, more focused and coming out regularly. Wish me luck!
Topics coming soon include a roundup of 2021 crypto/NFT reports and a look at resources for understanding the DAO phenomenon.
Please hit reply or use this contact form if you have suggestions.
They say economic downturns are the best time to build the leading companies of the future. Let’s go!