4 NFT Trends to Watch Out For in 2022

2021 was a truly epic year for art NFTs. Most will remember it for the $69m auction sale of Beeple’s ‘Every Days’. But with 100 NFT collections surpassing $20 billion in volume, this was no isolated act but a world-changing phenomenon. While NFTs are slowly becoming “mainstream”, 2022 appears to be the year Web 3.0 and NFTs will really take off.

From education, gaming, marketing, luxury goods and music to ticketing, land ownership, insurance and even health, the revolution announced is truly mind-blowing.

But what are the biggest NFT trends for 2022 when it comes to art?

Let’s take a look.

1. PFPs: welcome to the Metaverse

Some of the first NFTs ever made were a series of 10,000 social media profile pics (PFPs). Designed to be used as avatars for social media accounts, they were algorithmically generated portraits and given out for free to anyone with an Ethereum wallet. This was back in 2017. 

Fast forward a few years and in March 2021, CryptoPunk #7804 sold for $7.57 million. By June, CryptoPunk #7523 was sold for over $11.7 million.

Beyond their insane valuation, what makes PFPs a definite part of the NFT future is the growingly sophisticated utility the collectors can draw on. And the fact that their holders have become full-blown communities

Many PFP projects now have benefits for their holders/members, ranging from admission to dedicated Discord chat rooms to being granted full commercial rights to the NFT. And Twitter’s recent announcement that they would make PFP NFTs verifiable can only accelerate their growth.

But the most interesting point is that PFP NFTs have been evolving from simply providing digital identity to being fully metaverse-compatible with additional utilities such as royalties and character upgrades.

Through the interoperability of some NFTs such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gutter Cats, or Hashmasks, users can turn 2D collectible images into 3D playable avatars that are animated and can interact within the Sandbox.

2. IRL experiences and events

In the same vein, it is becoming increasingly clear that if you’re supporting an NFT project by buying a piece (and not only a PFP), you are invested in a community. And what best for creating close-knit communities than regular real-world experiences and events for their members?

For instance, Gutter Cat Gang held an immersive event for its holders during the Miami Art Week, which included a number of community-centered activities. Doge owners also get access to a perpetual and exclusive set of activities, both online and IRL.

Similarly, Bored Ape Yacht Club launched a $200,000 treasure hunt for their holders, and later an exclusive party in New York City. That day, 2,000 of their community members had the privilege to see superstars Lil Baby, Beck, Aziz Ansari, Chris Rock and a specially reformed of The Strokes perform on stage. And finally put a face to their online persona.

Credits: Twitter via Ryan (@Neutral_Spirit)

With this type of event being major successes, and as collections must now think outside of the box to attract collectors, more NFT real-life events are expected in 2022.

3. NFT Fractionalization

With the craze that took everyone by storm last year, some NFTs became prohibitively expensive and out of reach for most. The fact that the lowest floor price for a CryptoPunk is around a jaw-dropping $400,000 says it all.

But there is a new trend that has started turning highly expensive NFTs more liquid and affordable: fragmentation (or fractionalization), which looks similar to owning shares of a limited company.

Fragmentation creates a virtuous circle within the NFT ecosystem: as a larger pool of people have the opportunity to invest, they generate additional liquidity into the art market and in turn offer artists additional ways to monetize their work.

Several examples show that fragmentation is setting out as a new trend. The Doge meme’s owner (a DAO that acquired it as an NFT for $4 million) fractionalized the NFT into 17 billion pieces last September, allowing users to buy their stake in Doge for less than a dollar.

Several physical works done by Banksy will also be fragmented and resold. Particle will launch a sale of 10,000 NFTs (for about $1,500 each) from the Banksy artwork ‘Love is in the Air’ it purchased a few months ago for $12.9 million. 

Around the same time, ‘Gorilla in a Pink Mask’, was removed from a wall in Bristol, England, will also be fractionalized into 10,000 parts of around $700 each. For this last sale, one lucky individual among the buyers’ pool will receive another Banksy mural called ‘Refugees’ as a gift.

Interestingly, the winner will have the choice of whether the prize comes as a one-off NFT, or the physical artwork itself, showing the current NFT craze is beginning to extend beyond purely digital artwork to also embrace real-world objects.

4. AI-generated NFTs

Art created by Artificial Intelligence (AI) creating is not a new phenomenon. Christie’s sold an artwork created by an AI called GAN for over $400,000 as early as 2018. 

But the recent boom of NFTs has made the value of digital assets widely recognized, leading to new AI projects being minted as NFTs every day. Today, over 1,000 AI-generated NFTs are listed on Opensea.

Beyond the sheer volume of this trend, it is truly the potential possibilities that go with AI and “intelligent ownership” that are mind-blowing. 

Instead of static artwork, you can now imagine digital-art NFTs with specific personalities, that could converse with their owners (or potential buyers), explaining the inspiration behind their creation and adapting their answers to the person’s personal background and references.

Another possibility could be dynamic NFTs adapting to your feelings and mood, and which would provide an ever-changing experience, constantly satisfying or always surprising. 

The best example of this type of intelligent NFTs (iNFTs) is Alice, created by Alethea AI and sold for almost $500,000 at Sotheby’s. And the recent creation of their own metaverse called Noah’s Ark, filled with iNFTs, is definitely proof that AI-powered NFTs are here to stay.

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Those are just a few examples of what the future holds for us.

NFTs in general, and NFT art in particular, are in for a hell of a ride these coming months.

And we can’t wait to watch it unfold.

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