While the NFT craze isn’t going nearly as strong as it was in 2022 as it did last year, that’s not stopping a lot of big mainstream businesses from setting up shop alongside the Bored Apes in hopes of discovering a new revenue model.
Everyone from GameStop to the NFL has their own NFT marketplace in some stage of planning, including a few that have launched recently. And while the jump from blurry pixel art to being the newest fascination of multibillion dollar companies is certainly a big step, the timing of this corporate embrace is a bit awkward.
The average sale price of an NFT is now roughly $3,000, according to market tracker NonFungible. That’s down from over $6,800 in January. Cumulative daily sales are down roughly 66% in that same time frame. The number of primary sales of NFTs has fallen, while secondary market sales are also down from a January peak of 38,000 per day to just over 7,900.
You can blame everything from increased Securities and Exchange Commission scrutiny to the war in Ukraine for that drop, but it’s giving skeptics something to crow about.
The price drops and the criticism aren’t slowing down corporate America’s rush to NFTs, though. Here’s a look at some of the big names exploring a non-fungible world.
After dropping vague mentions of its strategy for months, GameStop officials made their NFT plans a bit more clear in an earnings call earlier this month, announcing the expected launch of its NFT marketplace “by the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2022″—meaning sometime before June 30.
The company is co-creating a fund of “up to $100 million” for game developers who use it. It’s being positioned as a place to buy and sell in-game assets, such as digital real estate, character skins and weapons, which players can sell and trade outside of the game. GameStop has partnered with ImmutableX, the company behind the NFT trading card game Gods Unchained, which will build the marketplace on the Ethereum chain.
It’s a gamble for the company, given how many gamers have lashed out at developers who have tried to incorporate NFTs into their games.
Maybe it’s the immaculate reception. Maybe it’s, hell, any of the last minute finishes of the playoffs on Jan 22 or 23 this year. With NFL AllDay, you’ll be able to collect exclusive digital video highlights of those moments. The NFL is working with Dapper Labs, the company behind the popular NBA Top Shot NFT marketplace, to create NFTs around the most talked about in-game moments, both historically and week-to-week. (Dapper also created an NFT marketplace for UFC earlier this year.)
“The irreplaceable nature of the NFT captures what is special about sports fandom,” said Steve Scebelo, president of NFL Players Inc. the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA in a statement. “The unique greatness of NFL players will continue to fuel memorable moments both in history and in real-time during the season, which will only deepen the connections they have with their passionate fans.”
If it performs anything like NBA Top Shot, it could be quite lucrative. As of late February, fans had spent $230 million on those NFT collectibles.
While WWE has dabbled with NFTs before, with the launch of the Undertaker collection last year, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon announced at this year’s SXSW the company would launch WWE Moonsault, an NFT marketplace, just before WrestleMania 38 in April. The focus, as it is with many other WWE ventures, is on creating collectibles for fans to buy, sell and trade. The company is working with Blockchain Creative Labs, Fox Entertainment’s blockchain division, to create the marketplace.
AP photographers have captured some of the most iconic moments in history. On Jan. 31, the news organization launched its own marketplace, on blockchain technology built by Xooa. The NFTs offer more than just the images, though. They also include data that incorporates the time, date, location, equipment and technical settings used for the shot. Since AP is a not-for-profit news organization, money raised through the sale of the NFTs will go back into funding its journalism. Prices currently range from $250 to $4,200.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the leading cryptocurrency exchange has designs on its own NFT marketplace. The bigger question is: When will it launch? So far, the company will only say “soon,” which has frustrated some users.
Coinbase has a lot of faith in the NFT market, though, with co-founder Brian Armstrong saying on an earnings call last November he believes it could be “as big or bigger” than cryptocurrencies. The company recently met with over 100 creators and says it’s building the product based on community feedback. It also hopes to improve the interactions between artists and users.
“We’d like to make our Coinbase NFT a little bit more like Instagram as opposed to say an auction like eBay,” said Armstrong. “People that you can follow, [such as] your favorite artists or creators, and having a feed of content that is populated from those people you follow, that could be really powerful.”
The nascent football league, co-owned by Dwayne Johnson, will mint and sell digital tokens of its players, teams and coaches to boost fan engagement. (Like the WWE, it’s working with Fox’s Blockchain Creative Labs). Details haven’t been announced, but those players and coaches will receive “the majority of the sales revenue from these NFTs,” the league promises. In addition to whatever investment value the NFTs carry, fans who buy them will also be able to use them to access locked team Discord channels and get free merchandise.