What’s Next for NFTs: Innovations, Utility, and Trends

Even though the concept of NFTs has been around since 2014, they skyrocketed in popularity beginning in 2021. With increasing innovation, NFTs are no longer limited to digital art, and the landscape is transforming rapidly with new trends, utilities, and marketplaces.

According to a report published by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, around $44.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency was spent on NFTs in 2021, a significant increase from $106 million in 2020. Let’s review the recent innovations and new trends in the NFT sphere that are set to gain huge adoption in the coming days.

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NFT staking is a way to generate passive income. Through NFT staking, digital art collectors do not have to buy and hold the NFTs and wait for their value to increase. They can stake NFTs and earn staking rewards in terms of APR or APY. However, not all NFTs can be staked and generate income. Several factors such as the value, rarity, and the ability of the NFT to generate consistent income will determine how much staking reward an NFT can provide.

A lack of interoperability has limited the potential of NFTs along with cryptocurrencies and other blockchain applications. To solve these types of issues, multi-chain, or cross-chain, NFT platforms are beginning to emerge to remove the hindrances in NFT adoption and trading. NFTs are usually minted on one single blockchain network and they face the same limitations as the network they are minted on. Though cross-chain NFT platforms are still in development, they plan to address various facets of the NFT space such as interoperability, sustainability, and energy consumption in the near future.

With the rising interest in metaverse development, NFTs are finding multiple use-cases in both virtual and real worlds. NFTs can be used as passes to access events. This trend can be applied to accessing multiple things like attending events in the metaverse, getting access to exclusive channels on Discord, unshared podcasts, music platforms, etc. An NFT platform co-founded by Tom Brady, Autograph.io, aims to bring iconic brands, legendary athletes, and their collectors together. This marketplace allows users to purchase NFTs and gain entry to exclusive events and private communities.

Redeemability is also one of the trending NFT utilities. Instead of simply buying and holding the NFTs, collectors can redeem them for different types of goods. The NFT holder can exchange it for another digital or real-world asset. This trend is likely to increase in the coming years by allowing collectors to redeem virtual goods that can be used inside the metaverse. RTFKT is one such platform that allows NFT holders to redeem physical goods. It is a leading brand in creating virtual sneakers and collectibles for the metaverse. The brand collaborated with crypto artist Fewocious to enable specific NFT owners to redeem a pair of physical sneakers.

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NFTs are creating a new fundraising opportunity for different types of businesses. The popularity of NFTs serves as a good chance to increase awareness and raise funds. Brands and businesses can reach their potential customer base by releasing their own versions of NFT collections. For instance, Coca-Cola experimented with this utility by creating its first series of NFTs. The intention was to raise money for the Special Olympics International, a sports organization established to eliminate the discrimination against people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Meanwhile, the number of NFT marketplaces is also increasing exponentially. OpenSea was the only leading NFT marketplace in 2021 when the NFT trend emerged. However, the launch of multiple NFT marketplaces is changing this scenario at present. According to DaapRadar, Opensea continues as the leading NFT marketplace with around $2.64 billion in 30-day volume. LooksRare NFT marketplace stands second with more than $2.3 billion in 30-day volume. The platform was launched in January 2022 and is gaining a huge adoption in a short period. With its unique features like instant payments, platform rewards, and airdrops, LooksRare is in the race to dethrone Opensea from its top spot.

With the recent launch of Solana NFT marketplaces, the Solana network is also gaining significant traction with the crypto community. As of April 2022, the NFT sales of Solana crossed the $1.6 billion mark, which makes it the third-most active blockchain network by NFT sales volume after Ethereum and Ronin. Solana is closing in on second place as the total transaction volume is expected to rise with the integration of the Solana NFT marketplace into the OpenSea platform.

The NFT trend is not going away anytime soon in the crypto community. Different types of NFT utility and the ability to generate passive income through NFT staking are only going to increase the number of NFT holders. With the rise in innovation and developments, NFT adoption continues to increase significantly in the coming years.

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