NFT Research Reports and Academic Papers: Mid-2020 to April 2021

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Image by Victoria Borodinova via Pixabay

An NFT Entrepreneur Newsletter by Clyde F. Smith


This edition of NFT Entrepreneur focuses on NFT research reports, academic papers and polls from mid-2020 through April 2021 with a few older reports worth noting. One could best call this a heterogenous assortment or even a motley crew of approaches to research! Related future reports will focus on NFT data sources and NFT legal research and opinions.

As NFT Entrepreneur matures, I would like to include a closer analysis of such reports when they are released. Given that researchers have to focus on presenting their research properly and on highlighting key findings, there are usually points made that are worth teasing out a bit further than do the reports.

On a more personal note, I participated in the recent NFT WORLD – INVESTOR eMEET – ART, MUSIC, GAMES, SPORTS & COLLECTIBLES! event organized by Ctech Events. I joined a panel on NFT Startup Investing and Funding hosted by Malcolm Tan who is quite enthused about the future market for NFTs. It was a solid group and I enjoyed the discussion quite a bit.

I was also quoted in an article in The Wealth Advisor regarding the recent Andy Warhol copyright decision on the implications for NFT art collectors. TLDR: Richard Prince collectors should be more concerned than those collecting high-end cryptoart!

If you’re interested in having me speak at your excellent event or providing some insightful quotes, you can reach me through LinkedIn or the NFT Entrepreneur contact form.

NFT Research Reports and Academic Papers

Commercial Research on NFTs

From NonFungible

Non-Fungible Tokens Yearly Report 2020
NonFungible and L’Atelier BNP Paribas
March 2021

Download/Order: Free and Pro Editions

“We were able to compare our market analyses with feedback from experts in the NFT space, notably NFT collectors, successful project Founders, CEOs, and renowned Artists, these include:
John Egan – CEO – L’Atelier BNP Paribas
Robbie Ferguson – CEO – Immutable
Robbie Yung – CEO – Animoca Brands
Ben Nolan – Founder – Cryptovoxels
Jeffrey Zirlin – Growth Lead – Axie Infinity
Jose Delbo – Famous Comic Artist / Crypto-artist
Rudem00se – CryptoKitties & $WHALE Community lead”

State of the art review 2020
January 2021

“Many NFT sectors have shown huge developments during 2020 and one of these is in the Art Sector which experienced very strong growth over the past year. We wanted to focus on this special market where many sales records have been successively broken over the period of a few months.”

“This article will first present the evolution of the 4 main Art Marketplaces by returning to the phenomenon of CryptoPunks, whilst attempting to identify a trend in the Art Market that does not belong to the first two categories.”

NonFungible: Analysis Articles

From eToro

The TIE Quarterly Q1 2021: Inherent Value
eToro and The TIE
April 2021

Section: NFTs: Beyond the Hype

“While there are few three-letter crypto combos garnering as much buzz right now (with the exception of BTC and ETH), it’s wild to think that many retail investors likely had no idea what an NFT was last year…But now, thanks to the popularity of collectibles like NBA Top Shot, CryptoPunks, and digital works of art (most notably a collage by Beeple that sold for $69M), everyone wants their hands on the next big NFT craze. We discuss the origin of these digital assets, and what the future holds as an influx of imitators flood the marketplace.”

The TIE Quarterly from eToro: Downloads

From DappRadar

Dapp Industry Report: Q1 2021 Overview
Dapp Radar
April 2021

“In the first quarter of 2021, we’ve seen lots of excitement from the non-fungible token (NFT) market, creating increased interest in NFT technology, digital art, and virtual worlds. At the same time, the DeFi ecosystem continued to lead the industry. During the first three months of this year, the blockchain industry proved it’s more than just DeFi.”

BGA Blockchain Game Report – Q1 2021
Dapp Radar and Blockchain Game Alliance
April 2021

“The first three months of 2021 have been a time of building and expanding for many of the gaming projects currently on the market and the ones that are still in development. A wide variety of projects moved away from Ethereum to sidechains and layer-2 solutions like Polygon and Immutable X, while the Wax blockchain has strengthened its position as a platform for games using NFTs. Game developers are clearly working to pave the way for a bigger, more mainstream audience.

DappRadar: Industry Reports

From Outlier Ventures

Introducing The Open Metaverse OS Paper
Jamie Burke
February 2021

“After several months of development at Outlier Ventures, with our growing portfolio of related startups and partner network, we have created a framework to assess and interrogate Metaverses, as well as a toolkit to design alternatives based on principles of user centricity and sovereignty of identity, data and wealth.”

“We’ve called it The Open Metaverse OS, a shared and open operating system of sorts building upon the success of decentralised protocols, in particular DeFi and NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) emerging in the The Web 3 Stack based on blockchains and crypto-assets.”

Download: PDF

Outlier Ventures: Reports

From Messari

Crypto Theses for 2021
Ryan Selkis
December 2020

“Finally, we wrap up with some of the more futuristic elements of the industry: Web3 applications like digital resource provisioning (file storage, video transcoding, IoT bandwidth), and various types of non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”). These assets may get ahead of themselves in 2021, but that doesn’t change our conviction that they will be incredibly big by 2025.”

Research Archives
Mason Nystrom

Includes numerous NFT-focused reports behind a paywall.
There is a 7-Day Free Trial available.

From L’Atelier BNB Paribas

The Virtual Economy
May 2020

“This is the Virtual Economy. An agglomeration of sophisticated platforms, fledgling and often dubious marketplaces, skilled nixers, volatile assets, and ambitious pioneers that exist or operate uniquely in virtual environments…An emerging habitat exhibiting the capacity of emerging technologies like distributed ledgers, virtual reality (VR), computer vision, real-time ray tracing, cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”

L’Atelier: Projects

NFT Polls

From Adweek/Harris Poll

NFTs Are All the Rage, but Who’s Actually Buying Them?
Kathryn Lundstrom
April 2021

Are NFTs The New Must-Have Collector’s Item?
Annie Prunsky
April 2021

Download: Data Tables

From Piplsay

The sudden hype around NFTs: What do people think about it?
April 2021

Academic Papers on NFTs and Crypto Art

From Frontiers in Physics

CryptoKitties Transaction Network Analysis: The Rise and Fall of the First Blockchain Game Mania
Xin-Jian Jiang and Xiao Fan Liu
March 2021

“CryptoKitties was the first widely recognized blockchain game…This study analyzes its entire player activity history for the first time in literature and tries to find the reasons for the rise and fall of this first blockchain game mania. First, we extracted the five million transaction records among 100 thousand addresses involved in CryptoKitties in the past three years. Based on the numbers of addresses involved in the game each day, we divide the game progress into four stages: the primer, the rise, the fall, and the serenity.”


Is Non-fungible Token Pricing Driven by Cryptocurrencies?
Michael M. Dowling
March 2021

“In early 2021, non-fungible tokens (NFT) became the first application of blockchain technology to achieve clear public prominence…Given the NFT market emerged out of cryptocurrencies, we explore if NFT pricing is related to cryptocurrency pricing. A spillover index shows only limited volatility transmission effects between cryptocurrencies and NFTs. But wavelet coherence analysis indicates co-movement between the two sets of markets.”

“This suggests that cryptocurrency pricing behaviours might be of some benefit in understanding NFT pricing patterns. However, the low volatility transmissions also indicate that NFTs can potentially be considered as a low-correlation asset class distinct from cryptocurrencies.”

Non-Fungible Tokens: Blockchains, Scarcity, and Value
Usman W. Chohan
March 2021

“Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have garnered remarkable investor attention recently, with some NFTs securing selling prices that may have seemed unthinkable for a non-fungible virtual asset. This raises fascinating questions about ‘value’ and ‘scarcity’ with respect to blockchain technology, through a prism of non-fungibility of a digital asset, and this paper aims to draw attention to these questions insofar as they may shape an alternative space of blockchain development and exchange going forward.”

Fertile LAND: Pricing non-fungible tokens
Michael M. Dowling
March 2021

“The current popularity of non-fungible token (NFT) markets is one of the most notable public successes of blockchain technology…As a first study of NFT pricing, we explore the pricing of parcels of virtual real estate in the largest blockchain virtual world, Decentraland; an NFT simply termed LAND. We show a LAND price series characterised by both inefficiency and a steady rise in value.”

Virtual Art and Non-fungible Tokens
Lawrence J. Trautman
April 2021

“First, we discuss the new and explosive market for digital art. Second, we explore the evolution of the digital world and virtual property. Third, is an explanation and historical account of the blockchain and virtual currencies. Fourth, we explore nonfungible tokens. Fifth, we present a few thoughts about the future of digital property. And last, we conclude…We believe this paper is a valuable addition to the literature by providing a readable introduction and overview of what is now known about the likely impact of blockchain technology and nonfungible tokens to music and art.”

Blockchain Technology and Non-Fungible Tokens: Reshaping Value Chains in Creative Industries
Sylve Chevet
August 2018

“This paper offers an analysis of cryptocurrencies and blockchain’s technical underpinnings, specifically of Non-Fungible tokens and ‘cryptocollectibles’, and the changes these innovations can bring about in the art market and creative industries at large. The paper is based on a resource-based analysis of creative industries, their value chains and the various bargaining powers and revenue sharing of the industries’ agents.”


A rating system for art markets on the blockchain
Massimo Franceschet, Giovanni Colavizza
April 2020

“Establishing the market value of art is a known challenge. A traditional distinction between primary (first-sale) and secondary (re-sale) markets in fact relates to two approaches to value-estimation and pricing: that of the gallery and that of the auction house, respectively.”

“To overcome this dichotomy, we propose a novel rating system for the actors of art markets, equally adaptable to primary and secondary markets…We apply the proposed method to crypto art, a novel form of born-digital art exchanged on blockchains, and show that the proposed method outperforms alternatives when used to guide market investment.”

Crypto art: A decentralized view
Massimo Franceschet, Giovanni Colavizza, Tai Smith, Blake Finucane, Martin Lukas Ostachowski, Sergio Scalet, Jonathan Perkins, James Morgan, Sebastian Hernandez
June 2019

“This is a decentralized position paper on crypto art, which includes viewpoints from different actors of the system: artists, collectors, galleries, art scholars, data scientists. The writing process went as follows: a general definition of the topic was put forward by two of the authors…and used as reference to ask to a set of diverse authors to contribute with their viewpoints asynchronously and independently.”

“Afterwards, all authors read and commented on each other’s work and minimal editing was done. Every author was asked to suggest open questions and future perspectives on the topic of crypto art from their vantage point, while keeping full control of their own sections at all times…The ending section offers an attempt to pull all these threads together into a perspective on the future of crypto art.”

Feel like reading something fun?

Check out my latest for The Defiant:
Novice Jeweler Living the American Dream Thanks to NFT Wearables

With extra pics and ideas on the NFT Entrepreneur blog:
The NFT Jeweler Creates A New Wearable Tech Category