Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are a key ingredient in the web3 ecosystem. Many view them as the most accessible and understandable aspect of crypto and blockchain technology. They are unique, immutable, and transferable digital assets that can be used to represent ownership of anything from in-game items and digital art to real estate and collectibles.
NFTs have been around since 2015, but they exploded in popularity in 2021 as the new way to invest in digital assets. Here are the top 10 NFT examples you can buy, collect, and invest in today.
The most popular examples of NFT art are collectibles. An NFT collectible belongs to a set of unique, randomly-generated characters. No two collectibles are alike–only one person can own each collectible at a time, using blockchain technology to prove authenticity.
NFT artwork has grown exponentially in popularity since early 2021, with the sale of NFTs representing art pieces and artwork collections. One of the landmark sales of NFT artwork took place in May 2011, with the sale of an NFT representing Beeple’s Everydays - The First 5000 Days for a staggering $69.3 million.
Some collectible owners enjoy using the images as profile pictures (PFP) on social media to show them off. Some platforms offer ways to recognize and show off your NFT PFPs (e.g., Twitter and hexagon PFPs). Instagram and Twitter now allow you to place actual NFTs as your profile pic!
Collectible NFT art examples include:
Since NFTs make art sales more accessible to artists and potential collectors, new developing communities have emerged. Most of these groups flock to private Discord and Telegram channels based on specialized NFT releases. This movement has only strengthened the art community by unifying artists and individuals who want to support and foster each other’s work.
OpenSea and Superrare are some of the two most popular examples of NFT marketplaces with strong communities. Within these larger communities, there are several niche groups that form based on the NFT project, such as:
NFTs work efficiently as virtual event tickets for token gated events. They are essentially virtual versions of a badge or stamp of attendance for a particular convention, exhibition, or event. Each event attendee can only receive one, making them rare and valuable. NFTs don’t only serve as virtual event tickets, they also create real impact granting access to physical events as well.
NFTs also serve as POAPs–Proof Of Attendance Protocols. POAPs are NFTs (tokens/digital assets) granted to people after experiencing a physical or digital event.
Although POAPs can also be sold and traded like any other collectible, the blockchain maintains a record of each POAP’s first owner, adding to their value.
NFT examples include the first POAP tokens that were given to all attendees of the 2019 ETH Denver Convention.
NFTs can represent any piece of art, not just illustrative work. You can also buy, collect, and trade NFTs representing songs, albums, videos, or movies. Many indie artists and movie producers have switched to NFTs and the tokenization of their craft to monetize their work.
NFT Examples include:
The video game industry has long relied on microtransactions and virtual items to enhance a player’s cosmetics with unique elements. NFTs work perfectly in this situation. Players can prove ownership of their characters or virtual items, and developers can use NFT technology to ensure each item’s uniqueness or scarcity.
Games using NFTs can also use the play-to-earn model, where players may earn tradeable NFT in-game items or cryptocurrency with real financial value.
Examples of NFT game items include:
Virtual items for the Metaverse function similarly to video game items; you can use them to customize and enhance your virtual avatar. They can be just as unique and scarce as any other NFT examples, making it possible to own (and prove ownership of) a collection of unique items.
Spatial collaborates with Ready Player me to bring metaverse assets, commonly known as "wearables", to the community. Together we've teamed up with Vogue, Tommy Hilfiger, The Fabricant/World of Women, Krista Kim and more to design custom looks for Spatial RPM Avatars. Customizing your appearance in the metaverse helps individuals to have a sense of personalized identity in the space--making it more comfortable to connect with others.
RPM has plans to develop a system where consumers can develop their own wearables and monetize their creations.
Wearables can even be used as a token to grant acces to “token gated” events. Imagine having a black tie event and you can only enter with your digital tux!
You can buy, sell, or trade virtual land, buildings, and other properties in the Metaverse. These NFTs are stored on a blockchain, and their scarcity is provable. Examples of this include Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Cryptovoxels.
Examples of NFT items in the Metaverse include:
The real-world asset NFTs (rwaNFTs) concept has been proposed to bridge the virtual and real-world investment spheres. They are similar to established NFTs but are backed by a physical asset, like a house, a piece of jewelry, or a work of art. This physical asset comes with warranties, insurance, and legal documentation, and the NFT can be traded or sold like any other.
The use cases for rwaNFTs are still in their early stages. Some believe that they could be used to fractionalize ownership of assets and make them more liquid (i.e., easier to trade). Others believe that rwaNFTs could be used to create a new class of investment assets.
NFT examples for emerging rwaNFT technology include:
The unique and non-fungible nature of an NFT grants it many valuable properties for identification. Tokens minted using specific standards allow owners to create and manage one’s identity, acting as ID cards and opening the possibility for self-sovereignty.
These NFT ID cards can also be tied to keys and actions, such as signing documents, logging into websites, or confirming transactions, functioning as universal virtual passports.
In some cases, restaurants, clubs, and other businesses are beginning to accept NFTs as a form of ID for entry. For example, Flyfish Club is a seafood and omakase restaurant in New York City that requires the purchase of an NFT for a meal!
Other blockchain identity NFT examples include:
NFT memes are similar to examples of NFT art. The original images behind popular memes can be tokenized and sold to interested buyers, allowing creators of meme images and templates to capitalize on their success and create a true meme economy.
Examples of NFTs as memes include:
An NFT domain name functions as a standard internet domain name, but instead of being stored on a provider’s central servers, they are on the blockchain, stored in the owner’s wallet.
Once purchased, an NFT domain name requires no renewal fees; you own it for life; no centralized entity can seize it from you, and you have sole control over that name’s domain management features.
Anyone can add registration years to any existing name by paying the required fee, at any time.There is no maximum limitation of the renewal duration but there is a minimum renewal period of 28 days. Essentially, you pay for how long you have it registered to you.
You can use NFT domain names to launch and manage decentralized web content and websites. In recent months, investors have flocked to three- and four-digit ENS domain names, driving prices to hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Domain name NFT examples include:
Non-Fungible Tokens have taken the world by storm, and many real-world applications continue to develop with a market cap that exceeds 1 trillion across all crypto currencies.
As more people and companies adopt and find relevant, practical applications for NFTs–the more likely they will become a part of our daily lives. With government regulation a big part of the foreseeable future this will lead to institutional investment and cement it as a economic system worldwide.
NFTs may not be mass market yet but there’s a strong chance they may be as familiar as the Internet and smartphones to us one day.