Emergent Blockchain Trends
There has never been more public interest around the potential applications of blockchain technology than there is right now. Here we take a quick look at two major trends that will come to define the staying power and utility of blockchain in the coming decade.
Micro Crypto Currencies
While much is being made of the prominence and value of large crypto currencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, the decentralized nature of blockchain also supports the proliferation of many smaller and context-specific crypto currencies. One area that we could expect to see this trend take hold is in the online gaming market. The world’s gaming market is valued at approximately $227 billion, with established online casino platforms, such as PokerStarsCasino, now making up 25% of the market and driving projected growth of 11% annually up to 2027.
Blockchain technology has great potential to impact the way this market develops in the future as it pivots increasingly towards online transactions, potentially paving the way for casino specific crypto currencies that could act like digital casino chips. Mainstream video game media is similarly positioned to capitalize on the technology as it matures, with micro-transactions conducted in games such as Call of Duty able to be redeemed using game-specific crypto-currencies that can be spent and even earned in-game, and traded for perks, unlockables and customization features. Online game stores tied to specific ecosystems, like the Playstation Network, could also implement their own currencies to streamline transactions across different marketplaces and regions.
2021 will be remembered as the year NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, went mainstream. As the internet and digital media have developed, one persistent issue has challenged creators and commercial ventures. How do you market the unique value of a product in a world where everything can be digitally pirated and copied? Initial attempts in the late 90s to deter the growth of decentralized sharing platforms from disseminating digital property were doomed to failure. In recent years this policing has given way to a licensing model, as seen in the likes of Spotify and Netflix, where traditional media producers have sought to collaborate with the new digital reality in a way that still ensures they retain a margin of sovereignty and return on their products. But this cumulative subscription method belies a hitherto uncomfortable fact that artists and producers have been struggling with, which is how to ensure sizable returns on unique purchases in an environment that actively works against market scarcity.
NFTs, which live on a blockchain, solve this as they represent the first time you can generate value by way of rarity in reference to a digital product. In time we can expect NFTs to become a normal part of our new media landscape and we are already seeing them at work in many sectors. The NBA has famously generated over $230 million in sales through its Top Shot marketplace of classic basketball video clips. Digital artist Beeple became one of the most valuable artists in the world overnight when he sold his digital art oeuvre to a customer for $69 million, and musicians are exploring the ways in which they can use this new product category to reclaim value over their work.
The Kings of Leon were the first band to release an album as an NFT. Their latest LP, 2021’s When You See Yourself, will offer buyers of the NFT special perks including limited edition vinyls and front row seats at future Kings of Leon concerts. Non-Fungible Tokens are also opening up the possibility to market and value significant pieces of internet history. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, recently sold his first tweet (the very first made on the social network) for $2.9 million. Suffice to say, NFTs are here to stay and we can expect to see new and novel ways of marketing and devising products to leverage this new found digital scarcity value as we progress into the coming years of the 2020s.