NFT Business Ideas: From Side Projects to Startups

Image of Mans face in mural with great ideas start with coffee caption

Image by Ken Cho via Pixabay

An NFT Entrepreneur Newsletter by Clyde F. Smith


I’ve been gathering NFT business ideas for quite a while and thought it would be fun to share some. It’s still so early that a lot has yet to be developed and even established companies with serious momentum have only recently received major investments. Plus, we’re starting to see the emergence of white label and off-the-shelf options for NFT minting and marketplace creation.

Pretty soon you should be able to add a minting tool to your site and even add a full NFT shop with secondary sales. Dcommerce shops are also a possibility and, generally speaking, the age of NFT WordPress and Shopify-type solutions is almost here.

That said, if you’ve got devs and funding or can create something on the side, there’s plenty of room for new projects. And if you don’t have dev options, there’s still a lot of stuff you can do.

Pro Tip – A wise man once said:
“It’s not bad not to know, there’s a lot of power in naivete. I actually think that it is one of the superstrengths of entrepreneurs.”

On the other hand, the world of NFTs has a serious learning curve and the guidebooks are incomplete. The tech is still very emergent and somewhat duct-taped together. Learn as much as you can so that you make fewer mistakes once you commit to specific approaches or outcomes.

You’re going to make mistakes anyway but wasting time and resources because you have a vision and don’t understand the basics is always a sad thing. Also it makes it harder to have good conversations with experts in the field.

NFT Business Ideas: From Side Projects to Startups

NFT Wearable Tech

Let’s start with what I think will be a major area for future development, NFT Wearable Tech. I recently did an interview with a young man known as the NFT Jeweler. He basically took an iWatch and turned it into a diamond-encrusted pendant on a gold chain to display NFTs. It was a nice hack that has been very well-received on social media.

What I discovered when I was researching the piece is that wearable tech, except for some interesting uses of lightweight, flexible LED screens, has been almost entirely about providing screens for the wearer to look at rather than for external display. So the NFT Jeweler flipped that approach and turned a wearable screen into a display device.

Very little has been done in this area and there are a lot of people collecting NFTs that would enjoy a public display option. It fits the psychology of collectors.

And it will be fun. You can make NFT fashion history!

White Label and Off-the-Shelf NFT Platforms and Services

We’re getting closer to the point where the Shopify’s of the NFT world will make it easy to do cool things with little to no additional dev support.

For example, white label NFT platform solutions are pretty much here with new options in mid-launch including:

NFT Pawn Shop

Here’s a thought provoking question from Rizzle:

tweet: who will start the first nft pawn shop?

As more than one commenter noted, NFTfi does offer “NFT collateralized loans.”

That’s pretty close to a pawn shop but it’s actually p2p lending in which you list your NFTs and are offered loans from other participants. Unless that could be considered a decentralized pawn shop?

An NFT pawn shop most like real world pawn shops would allow you to come to the site, show what you got, get an offer on the spot and get fiat or crypto immediately if the offer is accepted. I guess if NFTfi is that quick it could qualify but I’d want to give it a day or so and see what kind of offers I get.

Lots of room for weirdness to happen in an “on the spot” situation involving NFTs but it has potential especially if someone can come up with a suite of anti-fraud tools that are fast and reliable.

Maybe that’s the better business idea!

Reverse Search Engine for NFTs

Speaking of anti-fraud tools, open NFT marketplaces and NFT marketplaces on less-trafficked blockchains have a piracy/fakery problem. For the most part, fakes and stolen images in open marketplaces are identified by the community and reported. The platforms themselves seem to have few tools for identifying whether or not someone is the actual creator of an NFT though some processes are in place

One can use reverse search engines like TinEye but they miss a lot based on discussions I’ve had with crypto artists as well as my own searches. A reverse search engine for NFTs could be a great tool for the space that could also be integrated into the backend of NFT platforms and marketplaces.

Rather than relying on a reverse search engine that’s attempting to search the whole web, one would be able to narrow down the search universe to a manageable size. One might them have the basis for new services and products. For example, one could register and verify artists creating services for use by platforms and marketplaces as well as verified NFT display portfolios and galleries.

Always keep in mind that in a space this new something that works well can be the first piece in a much bigger puzzle.

NFT Auctions of Consulting Services

NFTs can be used to sell or auction real world items and services. Though I mostly focus on art and media NFTs, it’s worth considering auctioning services such as consulting if you do something related to NFTs or crypto and that can include non-tech skills such as marketing

Dave Nadig did this or, at least, put the pieces together and he discusses the setup in a longer article about building a crypto ETF. It’s a pretty interesting think piece overall and you can even avoid the minting expense he mentions by using lazy minting on a platform like OpenSea or Mintable.

Uber-collector Pranksy also did this at one point and, in the process, found out he could get a fairly astronomical price for his consulting time given his expertise and the limited amount of time available.

tweet: how much is an hour of NFT consulting time worth?

These guys used other people’s platforms but an NFT platform designed to make it easy to auction services using NFTs could be a hit if done well. Especially if it allowed for credit cards and site-specific wallets that don’t require dealing with crypto.

Cross-Chain NFT Display Portfolios

NFT display options, from digital frames to portfolio sites, are a growing area of activity especially for Ethereum chain NFTs. Online options like Showtime are powered by one’s NFT-compatible wallet though gallery sites like RareRooms are offering curation tools for individual shows.

It would be great to have online portfolios/display sites that allow one to pick and choose what is on display and to order NFTs as one wishes. I think this will soon be the case but there’s still time for a hot dev team to take the lead.

But what would be even greater is a cross-chain option for displaying NFTs from multiple chains in one portfolio or gallery on the old timey web. It sounds like a big challenge but it could start with separate mini-galleries under one account that then offers options to mix and match pieces as one wishes.

Such a site could be used by artists for their creations, collectors for their collections and even become the basis for a cross-chain secondary marketplace!

Starting with Ethereum, Flow and Wax would reach the bulk of creators and collectors at the moment on chains that seem likely to have staying power.

NFT Media Company

NFT media is interesting because you can launch a site using Web 2 tools to create media about Web 3. That’s a lot cheaper than most options involving a developer that isn’t a cofounder. But with off-the-shelf solutions NFTs could be added to the media platform or minted via an open marketplace like OpenSea.

Kyle Chaka has some interesting thoughts on NFT-based media companies. Note that, in this space, funding can include NFTs and social tokens.

NFTs.WTF is fundraising using NFTs so what they’re doing is worth a look.

Lots of room for experimentation in this space from highly focused niche publications to major media plays.

Start Your Own Virtual World

As more white label and off-the-shelf options emerge there will be more opportunities to build on other people’s platforms. Given the expense of launching NFT platforms and virtual worlds, it’s tempting to take that direction despite concerns about not owning the platform itself.

That said, Bit Country looks like a very cool way to start your own virtual world with NFTs and social tokens. I’ve applied for their Ambassador Program which means you’d get quite a bit of support but I haven’t been involved in a way that makes me think I’ll get in. The reality is there are a lot of opportunities out there but picking something and committing is the way to go and often the only way to get the support you’ll need if you don’t have your own dev team.

Or Be Inspired By Bit Country’s Ideas Forum

Bit Country has a forum for ideas about what folks want to see in Bit Country’s virtual worlds. It’s a great brainstorming stimulus and a good way to see how early adopters think about such a project.

NFT Business Wish Lists

The point isn’t that NFT Wish Lists are a good business idea!

I periodically see investors and business people in the space putting out wish lists of features, tools and businesses they’d like to see. Sometimes they’re very personal but they’re always worth a look to get your creativity flowing especially since the space is so new.

Here’s a great NFT business wish list from Dylan Field, CEO of Figma and possibly an investor as well. He does say get in touch if you’re working on anything from his wish list!

tweet: working on an NFT business?

Share Your Ideas

If you have ideas for NFT Businesses, Startups or Services and you want to share in hopes of someone creating them, please send them my way via the NFT Entrepreneur Contact Form.

If I use them in a future newsletter, I’ll be sure to credit you.

Read all the NFT Entrepreneur Newsletters?

Then check out my latest for The Defiant:
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See you next time!