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On the road to mainstream, NFTs still have a long way to go

Time for a reality check: Non-fungible tokens are still a relatively tiny niche in global business.

On the road to mainstream, NFTs still have a long way to go
[Photo: rawpixel]
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You might feel like NFTs are taking the world by storm: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey minted his first-ever tweet, circa 2006, into an NFT; former New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski just released a line of football championship NFT trading cards; rock band Kings of Leon dropped a new NFT album; and auction house Christie’s sold an NFT of Beeple art for $70 million.

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But if NFTs—aka non-fungible tokens—are destined to become a hurricane disruptor for the art world, they’re currently just forming a light drizzle, according to a poll from consumer intelligence firm CivicScience.

It seems as though the asset class is not quite mainstream yet: In a survey of nearly 6,000 Americans, 79% said they were “not at all familiar” with NFTs and how they work. Only 16% said they were “somewhat familiar” with them, and 5% said they were “very familiar.” Similarly for cryptocurrency—the coin-centric cousin of the NFT that shares its blockchain-based genetics—a majority 64% said they were unfamiliar with the concept, while 29% said they were somewhat familiar and 7% were very familiar.

The flood of endorsements from celebrities including rapper Ja Rule, actress Lindsay Lohan, and startup mogul Mark Cuban apparently don’t matter, either. When asked if an NFT company backed by a big-name musician or athlete would prompt investments in the asset, 95% said no. Just 4% said they were currently invested in NFTs; 8% were “interested”; and 88% were “not interested.”

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Demographically, those dipping more toes in the NFT pool skewed younger and wealthier.

Although the trend appears to be occupying an outsized space in the media, it’s still a relatively tiny niche in global business. Entrepreneur Chris Dixon, a partner at leading venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, recently reported that just 1% of the world’s population is engaged in decentralized finance—an umbrella term that includes blockchain-based assets such as NFTs and cryptocurrency.

You can check out CivicScience’s full report here.