How much would you pay for a digital rock? Not enough, apparently, if you’re not an owner for one of these EtherRocks.
The NFT space has seen explosive growth in recent months — not just from crypto players, but also increasingly among mainstream institutional investors. Payments behemoth Visa, for one, has forked out $150,000 to purchase one of the CryptoPunks, a digital avatar which to date holds the record as one of the most recognizable and valuable NFTs in the space. Skeptics say that NFTs are nothing more than the smoke and mirrors of ICOs, and dismiss their growth as speculation. However, NFT is also hailed as a pioneer for Internet 3.0: a metaverse that connects various forms of digital assets and space — avatars and virtual assets — allowing interoperability in the new digital economy.
NFT: More Than Just a Fad
NFT has grown from the harbinger of a token economy to the key to unlocking the future of the internet: the metaverse. Axie Infinity, an NFT gaming metaverse, has outperformed Ethereum by $178 million in protocol revenue in the past month. In addition, the average players accumulated a revenue of $39,919,300 (2 billion Philippines pesos) in the month of July — transforming the game to a viable career.
With a mobile penetration rate of 74.1% in the Philippines, many Filipinos with a smartphone can be part of the metaverse — inciting a new chain reaction in wealth creation. The play-to-earn model is not just fun and money! Players can earn Smooth Love Potion (SLP), an ERC20 token, through the game or trade, and use the potion to create rare Axie NFTs. The monster NFTs are then sold on the marketplace, akin to buying skins or tools to enhance the gamer’s performance on MMORPG.
The Epic Paradigm Shift in Mobile Gaming
During the big antitrust trial between Epic Games and Apple, Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney declared “Fortnite as a metaverse, not a game.” Conventional gaming giants were concerned over the decrease in daily active users (DAUs), as gamers buy items to level up quickly. As NFTs and the metaverse transcend into gaming, Fortnite can act as a platform for creators to distribute their work to other players. The NFT gaming metaverse also removes intermediary fees, such as Apple’s app store fee of up to 30% — returning the profits to the creators. NFTs have enabled the mobile gaming industry to evolve, accelerating the arrival of Internet 3.0.
The Dawn of the Metaverse With NFTs
Are you ready, Player One? Microsoft, Facebook and other tech juggernauts are claiming that the metaverse is the future of the internet. Since 2014, Facebook has forayed into immersive reality and gaming with $2 billion in investment. The social media giant has even attempted to bring science fiction to life by launching Step, a remote-conferencing application.
However, the building blocks of a metaverse — presence, interoperability and standardization — present a challenge for the tech giant. Requiring a person to don an Oculus, an unwieldy headset, Step has offered immersive experiences to a select few who own the gadget. This has greatly decreased the quality of the online interactions.
Ultimately, there needs to be a key to connect all of the different virtual worlds. Could NFT be the catalyst to lower the barrier of entry — and unlock the various dimensions of Internet 3.0? Decentraland, a digital land made up of user-generated NFTs, was valued at $2.5 billion at its peak in May 2021. One thing seems clear: As data forms the foundational blocks of the internet, the NFT is going to do the same for the metaverse.