At a time when the wider cryptocurrency market continues its sideways consolidation, the non-fungible token sector is booming again as NFT projects, platforms, and marketplaces witness increasing mainstream adoption of digital collectibles.
This growth is shown in the results, with sales in the recently concluded second quarter of 2021 recording highs that have contributed to the $2.5 billion generated by the NFT market so far this year - up over 180 times compared to the same period a year ago.
With this year off to such a good start, in this roundup, we’ll take a look at the latest NFT developments and what the community can look forward to in the weeks and months ahead.
Crypto.com’s NFT Platform Partnerships Continue
Crypto.com, the exchange, wallet, crypto Visa cards provider, recently launched the Crypto.com NFT platform for collecting and trading NFTs curated from the worlds of art, design, entertainment, and sports.
The development of the NFT platform has coincided with several high-profile sports partnerships, the latest of which seeing Crypto.com become the first-ever official crypto platform partner of UFC. This follows other firsts for crypto sponsorship including a global partnership deal with Formula 1, a separate deal with F1 team Aston Martin Cognizant, NHL teams the Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights, the Argentine Football Association (AFA), and the top Italian football league, Serie A.
Sports NFTs aren’t the only collectibles to hit the marketplace, however, with other notable creator partnerships including Snoop Dogg and Lionel Richie’s debut NFT collections. The world’s mainstream crypto exchange just recently announced a new feature giving users the ability to withdraw NFT’s minted on the platform’s chain.
WiV Brings NFTs to Wine Investment
Blockchain-based wine investment platform WiV is utilizing NFTs to develop an innovative approach to wine investment and modernize the ecosystem. WiV connects vineyards and investors, opening up funding earlier in the winemaking process and enabling the creation of new products.
Investors can purchase NFTs issued by vineyards for bottles and cases of fine wine, which are then tradeable globally on highly liquid marketplaces like OpenSea, enabling faster trades at a much lower cost. This opens up the market to wineries all over the world, as well as to a new breed of investors who previously lacked frictionless access to the industry.
Copa America Trophy to Be Minted as NFT on Ethernity
In commemoration of the recent 47th Copa America tournament, CONMEBOL, the governing body of South American football, has partnered with Ethernity to mint the Copa America trophy as an NFT. The latest major tournament for South American international football concluded with Argentina beating Brazil 1-0 in the final. Alongside the trophy NFT, four other digital collectibles commemorating the two teams, Argentina captain Lionel Messi, and the tournament's top goal scorer, will also be minted.
The Copa America NFTs mark the latest in Ethernity‘s application of digital collectibles to celebrate famous pop culture figures and events. It follows the minting of an NFT commemorating Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s “Fight of the Centrury” on the 50th anniversary of the bout, and a partnership with the U.S. Space Force to release NFTs as interactive augmented reality tokens.
Valuart Provides Exclusive Access to NFTs Created by Notable Artists
Starting on July 22, Valuart will begin a series of exclusive monthly auctions for NFT masterpieces created by notable artists. To achieve this, Valuart will tokenize the certificate of authenticity for a specific piece of physical art and conceive a new digital original from the piece.
The Valuart auctions kick off with “Spike” - a unique artwork by Banksy. Based on the original masterpiece from the artist’s 2005 treasure hunt in Palestine, Valuart created a digital original of the piece using CGI technology showing Spike drifting around the universe before returning to Earth as a newly-minted non-fungible token.
Valuart plans to reimagine digital originals of some of the world’s most iconic artworks and creations, including an NFT drop on October 22 of the “Mantum and the Stole” realized by Stefano Zanella and worn by Pope John Paul II on the night of 24 December 1999 on the occasion of the opening of the Holy Door of the Vatican Basilica.
NFT Marketplace Hoard Launches Flash Loan Functionality
Hoard provides a marketplace for users to trade, buy, sell, or rent NFTs including in-game items, digital art, and domain names, integrated with the Ethereum blockchain. More recently, Hoard added flash loan functionality to the platform. Flash loans allow users to borrow crypto funds from a smart contract pool without collateral, provided the assets are borrowed and repaid within the same transaction on Ethereum.
With fees at just 0.02%, Hoard flash loans open up several use cases in addition to its NFT marketplace offerings including arbitrage opportunities, loan collateral swaps, and self-liquidation.
Unifty Enables No-Code Multi-Chain Solutions for NFT Creators
Unifty’s decentralized multi-chain infrastructure platform focuses on the creator economy within the NFT space, allowing users to mint, buy, sell, swap, and create NFTs at low cost in a matter of minutes with no coding skills.
With marketplaces on multiple networks, Unifty has already expanded beyond the Ethereum ecosystem to offer its “Wordpress of NFTs” across xDAI, Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, Celo, Moonbeam, and Polygon, with plans for further expansion on Polkadot and Solana. The interoperability across these networks provided by the Unifty NFT bridge furthers the ease-of-use and ease-of-access proposition that is helping to realize the potential of the NFT creator economy.
Spores Introduces a New Full Stack NFT and Defi Platform
Spores is a new platform that combines the potential of both NFTs and defi, allowing users to issue NFTs, auction assets, decentralize NFT trading, and access the broader defi market without limitation, opening up several unique features as a result.
Gamified transaction mining incentivizes creators, users, and traders with shared royalties over the lifecycle of NFTs. Multiple NFTs can be fractionalized and utilized in DEX LP mining, lending, and staking to improve overall liquidity. Bundles of NFTs can be minted and transferred at the same time with minimal fees, and NFT swaps and wraps are also possible across major blockchains, reducing fragmentation.
NFT Card Game Splinterlands Reaches 100,000 User Milestone
NFT trading card game ecosystem, Splinterlands, has announced reaching the milestone of 100,000 users creating accounts on its platform, and generating over 600,000 daily transactions on the Hive blockchain, in another sign of major real-world adoption. Splinterlands players compete for a limited reward pool of in-game cryptocurrency as well as provably scarce NFTs from quests and battles.
This latest milestone demonstrates the synergy between NFTs and trading card games and the gaming industry in general. In creating real value through gameplay, Splinterlands is achieving far higher player retention and engagement as NFT cards collected through the process can accrue value over time, be traded, or rented out to other players, facilitating the play-to-earn experience.
The Future for NFT Platforms
New NFT projects and platforms are bringing in an increasing number of fans and collectors to this new world of digital collectibles, and introducing them to the wider cryptocurrency market as a result. For the future of NFTs to thrive and remain true to the ethos of crypto, they will need to find a way to fully decentralize. At the moment, while ownership and authentication of NFTs are managed on decentralized smart contract blockchains like Ethereum, the actual NFT files are often stored on centralized servers such as AWS, opening them up to censorship and a single point of failure.
Decentralized storage networks are the solution to this, with leading NFT platforms looking at options like Bluzelle to store NFT files in a distributed fashion, ensuring they remain secure, always available, and censorship-resistant, to deliver a fully decentralized NFT future.