“The Biggest User Base for NFTs Is Outside Crypto”, Interview With Ioconic’s CEO

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In 2021, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) appear to have captured the holy grail of crypto: Attention and mainstream adoption. From Beeple’s $69 million digital art auction to the Filipino community riding the pandemic storm on income from Axie Infinity, NFTs have been everywhere this year.

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Even the Economist caved in and minted an NFT, which it subsequently sold for $420,000. However, the media outlet had to jump through numerous hoops and involve multiple parties to create it, describing the user experience as “lengthy.”

Still, the blockchain community is innovative, and in some cases this doesn’t necessarily mean building the fanciest new wallet or fiat onboarding gateway.

We spoke to Jamie Lewis, CEO of Ioconic, a digital asset licensing business that recently partnered with MGA, the $25 billion toy company, to launch an NFT of the hugely successful L.O.L. Surprise dolls.

Lewis discusses how brands can dabble into the NFT world to generate customer engagement, as well as how companies from other sectors can start developing their own NFT-reward ideas.

When you’re considering making digital assets palatable to young collectors, where do you start?

In terms of the traditional demographic of digital asset users and MGAs target audience, it would be an understatement to say they are some way off from one another.

MGA engaged with us, based on the vision of building out a digital ecosystem for their brand to live in. We all recognized the power of blockchain technology and the ability to tap into this space with a globally renowned brand.

The L.O.L. Surprise game’s architecture has no external wallet downloads or exchange accounts. Will this invisibility become a prerequisite for mainstream adoption?

Absolutely! Children cannot be expected to understand the technicalities of crypto and digital asset wallets, as well as navigating blockchain infrastructure and potential bridging elements. Ease of use and removal of technological barriers is essential for mass-market appeal.

A key step to mainstream adoption is to look towards the consumers and make them grow with the brand –build a collection now that they will be able to monetize externally in the future.

As NFTs represent true digital ownership, we are giving fans the opportunity to own a slice of one of the most successful intellectual properties of the last five years from a collectible and gamified experience today – turning into a long-term investment.

What should a company ask itself before branching out within the NFT world?

The first question is, of course, “Why?” Companies need to understand the benefits as well as risks of entering this space. Those looking to make a quick buck may find their efforts end up damaging their reputation and the integrity of their IP.

The digital asset space naturally represents revenue opportunities, but there are also more important elements to take into consideration such as brand engagement, fan rewards, and awareness.

Is this the blockchain idea for fan engagement something exclusive of the world of sports, or is there room for expansion?

We are working on a number of projects at the moment whereby we are utilizing brand tokens in areas outside of sport. We see big opportunities to integrate these processes into e-commerce platforms as well as in person events. Think live concerts, exhibitions, and arenas.

So there really are no limits when it comes to implementing NFTs, but perhaps it’s time for the technology to take a more invisible role in order to increase its mainstream appeal.