2022 was set to be the year that NFTs went mainstream. Also known as ‘non-fungible tokens’, NFTs are digital assets – for example paintings, audio recordings, videos and memes – that are stored on blockchain technology. Whereas other types of digital media (such as regular images online) can be difficult to trace, easily replicated or altered, blockchain means that the ownership and origin of NFTs can be definitively proven. Each NFT is therefore a unique and scarce digital asset, whose ownership can be recorded, sold and traded on marketplaces like OpenSea or SuperRare.
In 2021, the sales volume of NFTs jumped to over $17 billion, according to data company Nonfungible.com, which marks an eye-watering increase of 21,000% from $82 million in 2020. Many of the world’s largest and most well-known brands have embraced NFTs by launching their own collections, including Lamborghini’s space-themed drop, Coca-Cola’s collectibles to commemorate International Friendship Day, and Adidas and Prada’s joint ‘open-metaverse’ project. In addition, major celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem have put their weight behind NFTs and invested in collectibles.
One of the reasons that NFTs have proven so popular is arguably because they are helping to empower artists and providing new opportunities for them to take ownership of their art. Until recently, it has not been possible for certain artists, such as performative dancers and graphic designers, to retain control over the content they produce or monetise their art directly. NFTs have changed this by disrupting the traditional art market and creating a more level playing field for creative individuals. In addition, the world of NFTs also presents exciting new opportunities for collectors and investors, with many releases having reached astronomical prices in recent years.
However, many people remain sceptical about the real value that can be attached to digital NFTs, with some claiming that the market has grown too fast too quickly and that the bubble is set to burst. There has recently been a slowdown in the NFT market, with total sales reaching just over $1 billion in June 2022 according to crypto research firm Chainalysis, which amounts to their worst performance since June 2021 when sales were $648 million. Sales on the world’s largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, fell around 79% between May and July 2022, prompting the company to lay off 20% of its staff in mid-July. The market slump has been driven by the recent cryptocurrency crash, which was caused by dampened appetite for riskier assets like tech stocks and digital assets amid rising inflation and interest rates.
Roman Semiokhin is a visionary tech entrepreneur who has embraced numerous technological developments over the course of his career. He is good at spotting value in tech opportunities that others may miss and has observed the NFT market with interest in recent years. Semiokhin believes it is important to be open-minded about new technological innovations, and has applied this mindset to his business ventures across industries such as IT, agriculture and medicine, as well as his philanthropic causes.