“It always starts out looking like a toy”
That’s what someone I previously worked with would always tell me when we saw something weird and new pop up in the Crypto world. When the iPhone first launched, the functionality was pretty limited. Angry birds and fruit ninja were basically the most exciting things you could do with the pilot iPhone. Blackberry was still seen as the ‘premiere’ business phone. How quickly things change…
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NFTs and Crypto
NFTs and crypto are experiencing that same phenomenon. In 2017 with CryptoKitties and now with NBA Top Shots. It looks and feels silly, but the implications beyond it are really interesting. But when it looks and feels silly is now a strong indicator to me that there’s something interesting there. It always starts with the simple stuff.
Whether you look at it from a collectibles, ownership or digital perspective NFTs definitely feel like the genesis of something special. The generation that grew up as children during the dot.com bubble felt robbed as the internet took over and time spent on sports cards, collectibles and real world tangible experiences were gobbled up by the internet. And for every generation that comes to the world from here on in, they will be crypto and digitally native. Make no mistake about that, NFTs aren’t going away any time soon. It might be a bubble, but it’s sticking around. The ability to own digital ‘things’ in a world that is becoming more and more digitally native feels very…logical? Which is very un-crypto.
The 2017 Crypto Bubble
The euphoria of the 2017 bubble was so, so speculative and largely derived from the ICO boom that we saw. People in their 20s and slightly older thinking up a very edge case need for a ‘coin’, selling 1000s of them for ridiculous amounts of money on future promises that had a 0.1% chance of working out – and walking away with a lot of money. This wasn’t the case for every project, but it was the case for a lot of them. This bull run feels a lot more substance based. Whichever corner you look in, things seem to be happening. Bitcoin, DeFi, NFTs and stablecoins. Coinbase’s listing, Visa x Ethereum, Mastercard x Consensys – the list could go on.
From a custodial standpoint Bitcoin being offered by large financial institutions to clients or being bought by Tesla makes me think, what does a 20 year old do with his first investment….Gold or Bitcoin? DeFi products feel like they are innovating at a faster rate than anything in traditional finance (maybe too quickly for a regulator’s liking…?). NFTs feel like they’re eating into cultural norms, and central banks seem to be discussing digital currencies every other week. It doesn’t really feel like this is going away any time soon. Again It’s definitely a bubble, but one fuelled by substance more so than speculation this time round.
So why am I spending so much time on Sorare from a content standpoint?
I’m a firm believer that whilst Covid has accelerated us into a primarily digital world, we were shifting toward it anyway. It was only a matter of time before Crypto was ‘hot’ again. Covid accelerated that.
The best explanation for an NFT I’ve seen is this:
I really do believe that on one hand crypto is changing finance, assets and money – NFTs are going to have a huge impact on culture, media and gaming. When you create something that allows a business model to be
1) more decentralised and
2) more profitable for every stakeholder involved, it feels like it won’t be long until we see really incredible things happen in this space.
Gaming x NFTs
Let’s take gaming for example. If I buy a skin on Call of Duty, a footballer on Fifa Ultimate Team or a weapon on World of Warcraft (I’m no expert here so sorry if I get the technicalities wrong) – you don’t own those things. Your account owns a copy of those things, that you can use on a specific game. Now let’s imagine a world where skins are minted on a decentralised platform that can then be used on both Fortnite and Warzone…it’s not inconceivable, is it? A large content creator who plays on both games decides to mint a limited edition skin that there are only 1000 of, sells them, and then the buyer has the ability to
1) use them on a plethora of platforms
2) resell them onto other buyers who want them more or
3) collect them.
This feels like a quasi realm where fan tokens and NFTs will meet and I think the gaming industry is going to be gobbled up by things like this over the next 5-10 years. It just makes sense, especially when EA, Activision and epic start figuring out where they can make money here before their models are disrupted hugely.
Sorare and NFTs
This leads me on to why I’m so excited by Sorare. The global blockchain fantasy football game which gives you the ability to buy NFTs of your favourite footballers and use them in fantasy tournaments. The ability to buy your favourite soccer players across different rarities, use them to win more cards/ETH is a really incredible concept.
The concept alone isn’t why I’m dedicating time to this space though. The fact that this is built on Ethereum and that there are other people building games that you can use Sorare cards on is really fucking cool. It’s only a matter of time before big players start seriously looking at this and thinking “what can we build to get people to use their cards here?”. It’s a no brainer really if you’re in the football game-space. This is top trumps meets Fantasy football meets ultimate team meets decentralised NFT based gaming.
I go back to ‘it always starts looking like a toy’. The thing about this is the people that build the toy/game don’t think about it in that way. That’s the perception from the outside. There’s always a greater vision, something bigger at play. With Sorare I truly think that soccer collectibles and fantasy football is going to change forever as a byproduct of this vision. How long before EA launch NFTs for fifa ultimate team? Or better yet…use pre-existing NFTs and just provide a game for people to play? This potential really excites me.
Football and crypto hey, sounds like it’s right up my street.
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