The world of cryptocurrency and blockchain can be a labyrinth of complexity, with new and oftentimes confusing concepts and buzzwords emerging constantly. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a prime example of this, leaving many individuals grappling with their practical usage and worth, consequently leading to scepticism and scrutiny.
One of the main criticisms of NFTs is their environmental impact, with concerns about the high energy consumption and carbon footprint of the blockchain technology that powers them. Additionally, there are doubts about whether buying an NFT truly confers ownership rights, leading some to dismiss them as mere digital collectibles or status symbols.
To change the perception of NFTs as mere status symbols or high-risk investments, educating the masses and demonstrating their practical value is crucial. To this end, here are several key strategies to overcome the mainstream stigma surrounding NFTs.
Stop relying on hype
Numerous NFT collectibles are solely relying on their collectible status and are generating profits based on speculation. These NFTs often lack a practical use or a sustainable business model beyond generating hype and hoping to drive up secondary market sales and royalties.
Especially with the surge in popularity of NFTs, there has been a rise in creators and sellers, leading to an influx of poorly designed or low-quality NFTs flooding the market. This has made it increasingly difficult for consumers to differentiate between valuable and worthwhile NFTs and those that lack substance. Additionally, the lack of standardisation and uniformity in the industry has resulted in confusion and inconsistency — ultimately making it unappealing for newcomers to navigate and invest in the market with confidence.
Lead with real-life practical utility instead
When launching an NFT project, it's crucial to do more than just discuss plans or offer vague promises — lead with real-life, practical benefits and utility instead. Simply announcing intentions without tangible results won't cut it in today's market, even less so for the majority of NFT creators, who don't have any significant backing from reputable sources.
By highlighting practical benefits, creators can demonstrate the potential of NFTs and help to increase their mainstream acceptance. For instance, show the public how a blockchain-based NFT ticketing platform could eliminate black markets while ensuring fair prices for ticket purchasers. Or perhaps how a combination of blockchain verification and self-custody can empower consumers to make their online lives more secure.
Or even moving away from the inherent utility, and focusing on external benefits such as welfare and charity — i.e. ConfrontArt and MintNFT’s 2022 SEEINJUSTICE event which raised funds for several important charities: We Are Floyd Org., The Breonna Taylor Foundation, and The John and Lilian Miles Lewis Foundation.
Establish credible partnerships
When it comes to NFTs and companies, the landscape has drastically changed since 2021. The very fact that companies are now an active part of the equation is significant — offering an opportunity for NFT projects to gain credibility like never before. These projects can and should find an opportunity to market themselves alongside reputable companies and brands. For many, it's a great way to prove to investors that they aren't just there to make a quick buck. However, this is only possible if they can prove that they align with a potential company's own values.
Similar to utility, it's simply not enough to just talk about their values; they must demonstrate their commitment to said values in concrete ways, such as charitable giving, social justice initiatives, environmental responsibility, empowering marginalised communities and disaster relief to name a few.
Ultimately, it will be the NFT projects that successfully maintain and demonstrate their principles that reputable companies will seek to partner with. And there's no understating how important that will be for culling the stigma of NFTs as a whole — provided that enough companies begin showcasing public support.
Shifting the stigma
Overall, while NFTs may have their fair share of criticism, the crypto community remains optimistic about their potential. By educating the public and focusing on practical applications, the community can shift the largely negative stigma of NFTs from being mere status symbols or high-risk investments to valuable assets with real-world applications.
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