No Web3 enthusiasts lived through 2022 without coming across these two terms, NFTs and the Metaverse. We can even argue that Web3 skeptics, critics and haters with the slightest interest in technology did hear a mention of those words and got a hint of their meaning.
They were not just buzzwords in this unforgettable Web3 year, they were actually strong tools to introduce the technology to the mainstream audience and attract millions of users. The mainstream news talked about them, big tech embraced them, celebrities bought in and sold out, massive subcultures were built around them, they essentially seized the spotlight for a moment before the bear market took over the stage.
Big funds moved around them too, just before it all came crumbling down. At the start of 2022, precisely January, the NFT market was worth more than $17B and parcels of land in the metaverse sold for as high as $5m too, as of June. They may not hold as much buzz as they used to now because of the current phase of the market cycle. However, no one can deny that these particular Web3 technologies made a mark in 2022, and there might be something bigger cooking underneath the surface of the bear market.
Taking advantage of this technology requires that we properly understand these concepts distinctively and their overlapping areas. We can then identify some qualities of the best Metaverse NFTs.
What are NFTs?
NFT is an acronym for Non-Fungible Token. As the name suggests, they are tokens which are not interchangeable and can’t be exchanged or substituted one for another.
These tokens are cryptographically unique tokens and digital assets which are used to represent and prove ownership of a variety of digital resources. This includes text, video, audio, images, virtual properties in the metaverse, and even tweets and codes. In fact, the use case, as a proof of ownership, is extending beyond the digital shores and creeping into the physical. For example, in February this year, a four-bedroom house in Florida was sold as an NFT for $653k worth of Ether.
What is The Metaverse?
The Metaverse is an immersive virtual world designed to facilitate universal collaboration in real-time with a sense of presence. With a combination of virtual, augmented and immersive technologies, it’s a digital space built to deepen the level of interaction over the web. Beyond instant messaging, video calls, and holographic projections, the metaverse is a space set up to enable the closest thing the internet has got to being physically present, enabling in-person interaction on the web.
Represented by avatars, users can communicate with one another, explore the virtual world, play games within the virtual world (which is like a game inside a virtual world), go for a jog or any other fitness exercise with fellow joggers and more. The possibilities for the application of the virtual world are as endless as in the real world. Even more interesting, with the advancement of haptic feedback technology, just like we can “see” the virtual world with VR headsets, we can soon start to “feel” it.
It’s worth noting that the definite article “The” added to metaverse can be misleading, suggesting that there’s one metaverse - a single and globally known virtual world for everything. That may be the vision, but it’s currently not so. When people say they are going to the metaverse now, they usually mean they are going to one of its instantiations like Decentraland, Sandbox, Axie Infinity, etc.
How Are NFTs And The Metaverse Related?
If we’ve clarified anything now, it’s the fact that NFTs are not the Metaverse and vice versa. However, they are closely intertwined, especially the Metaverse we most often refer to today.
NFTs are connected to the Metaverse in the tokenization of it and everything in it.
Metaverse NFTs are therefore non-fungible tokens associated with immersive virtual worlds either serving as a proof of ownership for pieces of the Metaverse itself, in terms of land parcels and building blocks or serving as ownership for the entities within it. These entities include: Avatars, Avatar accessories, art, POAP, etc. There are also rare cases of Metaverse NFTs which are used as access key cards to their unique Metaverse.
It’s important to emphasise that the Metaverse which is a virtual space, even when tokenized, is a container for other NFTs which may or may not be directly connected to the tokenomics of the metaverse itself. For example, there are NFT art galleries within the Metaverse which display NFT art that can be purchased too, but ownership doesn’t mean any voting right on the controls of how the virtual world works. In this article, we’d allow the scope of the term Metaverse NFTs to cover these classes of NFTs as well.
We can now dive into discussing the qualities that the best metaverse NFTs must not compromise on if they are to be taken seriously, collected or invested in.
The Best Metaverse NFTs Have these 10 Traits
1. The Best Metaverse NFTs Have a Rarity Model
According to basic demand and supply economics, more demand and less supply results in a higher price of a commodity.
The best metaverse NFTs take this into consideration and design a rarity model around the traits of the NFT collection to achieve this, so that there’s scarcity within an already limited and fixed supply of Metaverse NFTs within a collection.
Note that, with metaverse NFTs, while scarcity refers to how few the total number of NFTs are within a collection, rarity considers how the traits like colour, facial expression, sneaker design, accessories etcetera within the collection are distributed to make some of these Metaverse NFTs within a collection scarcer than others. Step App, for example, tries to maintain scarcity for all of its higher end SNEAKs, but some of the Step App SNEAKs are simply rarer than others due to their unique design, attribute and colour combos.
2. The Best Metaverse NFTs have Utilities & In-Metaverse benefits
While rarity addresses the supply end of the demand and supply principle, the utilities of a metaverse NFT drives the demand. Unlike the era of the PFP rush where sales skyrocketed primarily due to animal type and design quality, Metaverse NFT collectors realise that those types of NFTs only hold short-term sentimental value. Metaverse NFTs, and any other NFT in general needs long-term value, so that there will always be demand for it. Most NFTs that only get value for being a nice looking PFP, or graphic design usually only have inflated values due to hype, which rarely lasts long-term.
The best metaverse NFTs are designed to hold both short-term sentimental value with the stunning presentations and great art, and long-term utility value by serving as a tool to unlock more experiences within the virtual world. An example of a Metaverse NFT that has long-term value is giving people access to exclusive areas or events.
A real example of a Metaverse NFT that offers utility is Step App’s SNEAK NFTs. The SNEAKs allow people to participate in fitness challenges within the app, and win financial rewards through the Play to Earn mechanism. Step App has managed to make these SNEAKs an integral part of its Play to Earn system.
3. The Best Metaverse NFTs have Artistic Value
As discussed above, artistic value may only be sentimental, but great art and design can be highly valuable to collectors because of the meticulous creativity and efforts behind the work. Beeple’s Human One NFT which sold for $23m and his Everydays art which sold for nearly $70m are great examples that best depict how artistic value can be highly prized.
The creative effort put in delivering the examples mentioned above are undebatable. However, the Metaverse NFT art does not need to be as detailed or even moving to hold as much value. As they say, Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. There’s not a scale to measure artistic value, but it’s worth noting that the best NFTs within and without the metaverse are carefully drawn or created.
Artistic value may become more powerful but less valuable, since this burgeoning era of AI text to Image Generation which captures, and produces every single detail fed to it to generate description-precise images up to 4k resolution. Nevertheless, as of right now artistic value is still considered somewhat valuable, even for Metaverse NFTs.
4. The Best Metaverse NFTs have Historical Significance
Cryptopunks have proven that the age of an NFT can vest some kind of value in it. These Ethereum NFTs have remained valuable because, according to art experts and collectors, they marked the beginning of a new digital culture and art form. Collecting an NFT which is almost as old as the chain on which it was minted gives the same feeling like collecting an artefact.
It’s actually not the age of the Metaverse NFTs alone that matters, or make it the best one to collect. In the case of a Metaverse NFT the relevance of the Metaverse NFTs to their Metaverse is considered significant as well. For example, the earliest SNEAK NFTs minted on Step App might be of significance to certain people.
The skill age, reputation and credibility of the NFT author is also a significant value point for NFTs. The best NFTs have meaning and context injected by history.
5. The Best Metaverse NFTs have Brand Recognition
In the wide wild west of Web3 where rug pulls and project abandonment approaches are becoming a norm, the importance of this trait to Metaverse NFTs cannot be overemphasised.
The recognition of a Metaverse NFT project or brand means a good amount of the Web3 community are aware of it, and most of the community hasn’t condemned or judged it as a fraud or scam. Strong brands maintain good project quality, and have earned the trust of its community and this makes it more appealing. Desirability equals more demand from potential buyers.
Metaverse NFTs with strong brand recognition are usually associated with reputable media coverage, major VC support, well-known creators, and a broad loyal customer base or community. These are some of the signs to look out for while researching Metaverse NFTs. Although, it’s very important to keep in mind that the FTX debacle has taught us to take even the largest brands in this space with a grain of salt.
6. The Best Metaverse NFTs have Engrossing Storytelling
Building deep connections with your metaverse user-base and community means a solid and emotional story has been formed out of the vision of the project which the entire community can relate to.
Some Metaverse NFTs which have their dedicated virtual universe tell a story of how the world was formed, the trouble that exists within the universe after the formation. Examples of some Metaverse and Metaverse NFT narratives include: colonisation and civilisation if any, and how the trouble or chaos within this metaverse started and how the team and the community would solve it.
Compelling stories within a Metaverse such as this engage the community, creates a sense of belonging and invites participation from them. If the Metaverse NFTs can be integrated into the Metaverse’s main story then it makes them a lot more attractive to community members, collectors and users of the Metaverse.
7. The Best Metaverse NFTs have Ecosystem Collaboration
The Metaverse is an open world with nearly limitless possibilities. It is a container for multiple Metaverse NFT projects interacting with one another. A collection of Metaverse NFTs with multiple integrations, and interactions with other NFTs within the Metaverse, or the Metaverse itself like the real estate parcels of land provide more value to the Metaverse NFTs.
Simply put, NFT projects that are willing to collaborate with other projects on top of the Metaverse are able to expand the value proposition of their Metaverse NFTs. Also worth considering is the fact that to achieve that vision of a universal and singular virtual world for everyone, individual metaverses like Decentraland, Sandbox and Axie infinity would have to collaborate to merge it all together with like portals between each one.
In regard to collaborations Step App is definitely making strides. The project launched on DAO Maker, the industry-leading launchpad for growing crypto startups. Apart from that, STEP App is working with Usain Bolt to spread the word about fitness Metaverses, move to earn, and the importance of regularly exercising.
8. The Best Metaverse NFTs have Physical Manifestation
Merch with NFTs printed on them is so yesterday. Although they are still a good marketing tool for projects to display community strength and enthusiasm, they do not give collectors that feel or real connection to their NFTs as the Metaverse does. Users are literally their NFTs, as in the case of avatars.
Emerging technologies like AR take the user experience and interaction to a higher level. It merges a virtual reality with the physical one. Also 3D printers have also helped transform digital items to near precise real-world objects for users to see and feel what they own.
This new iteration of the internet, web3, doesn’t change the human nature described by “seeing is believing”. Physical items will still be considered more real compared to digital items. The best Metaverse NFTs make an effort to present a physical manifestation of their NFTs to those who own them, either through AR, or 3D printing.
9. The Best Metaverse NFTs have Passionate Community Involvement
Perhaps the community of Metaverse NFTs is more important than any other trait mentioned here, or anywhere else for that matter. Without a passionate subscription from the community, a Metaverse NFT will struggle. Regardless of how physically manifested a Metaverse NFT is, how much artistic value it has, or the historical significance it can muster. A collection of Metaverse NFTs will have their growth stunted until a strong community isn’t formed around them. Organic expansion will be near zero.
An active and engaged community sends a warm and welcoming message to others who are not yet members on social media, in the metaverse, or even in IRL meet-ups and gatherings.
Majority of people want to make new friends, belong to the trending clique, and this is how the best Metaverse NFTs strategise. They build their communities as early as possible. A healthy and vibrant community is a strong sign of a healthy Metaverse NFTs project.
10. The Best Metaverse NFTs Have Reputable Celebrity Endorsement
Whenever a celebrity endorses a Metaverse NFT project, the reputation of the celebrity is transferred down to the project he/she endorses. It passes credibility & trustworthiness to the Metaverse NFT project, and exposes the metaverse NFTs to the huge fan base of the celebrity.
Take note, some celebrities are well known to be NFT, and Metaverse NFT project shillers. They work with multiple projects just for the pay and have no interest in the project’s vision or mission. This in particular is not a good trait or quality because people know these celebrities will support any Metaverse NFT project that pays them. In fact, partnering with a celebrity that has diluted his reputation will actually end up getting the Metaverse NFT project a lot of scrutiny.
A great example of a celebrity from a specific niche partnering with a Metaverse in the same niche is Usain Bolt’s partnership with Step App. Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive, and a legendary athlete in the sport of running. Step App is a fitness Metaverse that focuses on getting people moving, walking as well as running, so it naturally made sense for Usain Bolt, and Step App to work together on a platform that gets people moving.
Do SNEAKs have ALL of these Traits?
Do our SNEAKs check the boxes for some of the traits discussed above? Absolutely!
Starting from the celebrity trait, Step App is endorsed by the fastest runner alive and Olympic champion, Usain bolt. He’s an ambassador of Step app spreading the good news of Fitness Finance.
Step App is built on the Step blockchain protocol for Fitness Finance. It’s a blockchain specifically designed for human life and not trading bots and financial algorithms and protocols. It’s also leveraging geolocation tools, AR and VR to enable a more immersive experience for fitness lovers. The size of fitness lovers already engaging on the step network has already crossed 30k and we can boast of over 250k social following!
Step SNEAKs have aesthetically pleasing designs with bright attractive colours. The collection is also fitted with a rarity model which classifies some sneakers as common, legendary, rare and epic.
To conclude, the best metaverse NFTs have traits which make them outstanding. While they do not need to check all the boxes, some of them are critical for the survival, growth and sustainability of the NFT project. As we continue to explore the fast-paced space of web3 and the metaverse, these traits are worth keeping at the back of our minds to ensure that we collect only the best NFTs IRL and in the metaverse!
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