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In Which Direction Is the NFT Industry Moving?

Will NFTs be something that is still valued and recognized far into the future?
Elias Ahonen, a blockchain author, legal expert, and doctoral researcher, shared his insights as a panelist at the renowned Tomorrow Conference 2023—a prominent international blockchain event. We approached him to discuss the challenges and possibilities of the NFT industry, and here is his expert opinion.

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The future of NFTs

Illustration: Lenka Tomašević

NFTs are versatile, exciting, and an important part of the Web 3.0 space. Despite the hype, the mass adoption of NFT culture has been slow. In a discussion with WebMind about NFT cars and real estate, Elias Ahonen highlighted one of the key reasons for the absence of adoption: the market’s uncertainty about the nature of NFTs.

Elias Ahonen

Source: Google

Take NFT cars or Nike NFT shoes, for example. As Elias pointed out, there is still ambiguity surrounding the understanding of these NFTs. This uncertainty, coupled with an element of speculation, raises questions about the long-term value and recognition of NFTs. As a result, mass adoption is destined to be slow.

Author’s note: The remedy for this uncertainty is finding a parallel between crypto and NFTs. Just like how people initially had no idea that Bitcoin could be worth thousands of dollars but were still using it because it offered potential, or rather hope, NFTs offer a similar prospect. Although NFTs have already gained considerable traction, there’s a possibility that this is just the beginning of their journey. NFTs and Metaverse integration is a relatively new concept, and while we still don’t have clear examples of use cases other than entertainment, people are still showing interest primarily because the concept is new and makes us hopeful about tech and Web 3.0 development.

NFT car example

Photo illustration: Freepik

Interoperability is another challenge we need to tackle before preparing for mass adoption.

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People might think that they can take this NFT car and use it in a video game in the future - and that car can be a status symbol. To say that I have this original branded car from a real maker and that it’s one of the first ones, that’s still again a bit speculative because we are not there yet. We’re at a sandbox stage where we’re stretching the surface on what this space is actually going to look like and what role NFTs will play.

We also touched on the topic of NFT real estate, which is a programmable virtual plot of land users can access and explore. With the recent hype around the Metaverse, real estate NFTs have the potential to gain traction.

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NFT real estate is a funny concept because it’s actually the same idea as a website, in some way. You can buy a domain and once you own that domain you own a piece of that digital real estate - this is your land on the internet you can build a website on. Fundamentally, digital NFT real estate functions in the same way, but instead of it being a web address, it’s an interactive space within a collective.

“Really when we talk about the metaverse, or the blockchain metaverse, you can move between these virtual worlds that are based on different blockchains. So, for example, now the internet is kind of one to one – you are interacting with the website, and no one else. If there’s, let’s say a DJ, and they’re saying that they’re dropping a new piece on their website, you can watch it live on that website or access it via YouTube. In that case, you may be able to chat with others, but that’s kind of artificial. But what if the DJ owned one plot of land in this Metaverse? Then you might go there with a physical avatar, and experience that you are visiting this guy at his house, at his metaverse property. And you might see other people visiting there as well, you might interact with them and then after that you might go visit another event within the metaverse. In other words, it becomes an interactive experience, and that’s the bigger vision of it.” Elias explained the significant difference between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 user experience.

NFT real estate example

Photo illustration: Freepik

We know that crypto regulation could encourage mass adoption, so before we parted ways, we asked Elias if NFT regulation could support mass adoption and turn the vision we just discussed into reality.

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Regulation is really a broad word. I would say that every piece of regulation is an additional obstacle for anyone creating anything. That’s another thing to deal with, and it creates all kind of inefficiencies because someone has to understand the regulation, someone has to apply the regulation, and especially in an industry that is growing so fast and finding its own feet, I don’t think regulations often do good at that stage.

Jelena is a content writer dedicated to learning about all things crypto. Her hobbies are playing chess, drawing, baking, and going on long walks. During winter, she usually spends her leisure time reading books.

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