Non-fakeable tokens (NFTs) are evolving from a niche interest to a mainstream topic.The diversity of NFT art – from the cute to the edgy to the raging – is attracting a new audience of enthusiasts. In addition to art, NFTs offer a glimpse of a new layer of social interaction.
When used as a framework for miniature social networks, NFTs can lead the way to a new form of social media based on creativity, ownership, and contribution.
Groups as the central point of the NFTs project
Dozens of Discord and Telegram groups are popping up each week to support new NFT projects. These groups serve as epicenters of the project, helping people connect and learn about the NFT space. A quick listen to a Twitter Spaces conversation in one of these groups reveals a wide range of people interested in NFT. Some members are experienced cryptocurrency users, many are new to NFTs, and some have never used cryptocurrency at all. For first-time cryptocurrency users, these groups create a more friendly onboarding experience and reduce anxiety about getting started with cryptocurrency.
The conversations in these groups reveal a shared interest in digital self-expression and a desire to connect with a community of like-minded people. Community values are often formed around artistic quality, rarity, and ideas that align with the emerging energy in the community. Like other forms of social collaboration, these groups often have identifiable leaders who have an interest in the development and nurturing of the community. These members set the tone, help the community organize, and ensure that the rules of the community are enforced.
Each group establishes its own roles, values, and codes of conduct-often in a way that echoes the animal traits or ideas in the NFT artwork. Ape Island Apes share monkey memes, Degen Yetis encourage each other with phrases like “Ha ha, Yeti,” and reclusive dads share their best dad jokes. Across the groups, those in the know share a common vocabulary. Almost all groups greet each other with “gm,” an abbreviated broad for “good morning.”
And it’s not uncommon to see comments like “looks rare” – a hint or playful shaming of NFT’s rarity. This type of banter is the lifeblood of the NFT community, and for many enthusiasts is replacing the endless scrolling of Facebook and Instagram.
The world enters the meta-universe
Large social media platforms have reached an inflection point. Regulatory concerns about digital privacy and declining user trust are prompting questions about the future of these ubiquitous platforms. As the world enters a new phase of digital interaction – some call it a meta-universe – users are considering forms of expression and interaction that do not require the abandonment of digital privacy.
NFTs could be a step toward a new kind of social interaction, a concept that may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.TikTok recently announced a creator-led NFT series, Twitter is embracing NFT verification, and Coinbase is launching an NFT marketplace. These signals point to a mainstream audience and can expand the opportunity to make NFT an important part of our social relationships. Large social media will continue to play its role, but the ideas forming in the NFT community highlight a new type of social interaction built on NFT rather than followers and likes.
Utility beyond monetary value
Communities are competing for program visibility because it can lead to an increase in “floor price” – the average value of NFT in the secondary market. Beyond the average price, the most progressive communities are considering how to add value to their members through benefits and exclusive access. Such membership rewards represent a broad opportunity to add new utility beyond the monetary value of NFT.
The use of vaults funded by program revenue is becoming increasingly popular as communities seek to act on their ideas. At the time of writing, Nouns holds 13,722 Ether (ETH) in their vault – an incredible number for a decentralized community built around NFTs.CryptoDads is making beer, CyberKongz is building a banana vending machine, and you guessed it, is making more NFTs. adding utility to NFT projects dominated by profile pictures and memes may seem counterintuitive. However, as these communities mature, they are finding creative ways to align their actions around shared values.
DAO and the reimagining of governance
As groups find their way into community decision-making, the need for governance has spurred the idea of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).The Nouns community is reimagining governance through NFT ownership, empowering members with “one token, one vote.” Members with at least 1% of the token supply can submit proposals, which the community can vote on. DAOs are becoming an important part of the conversation as decentralized networks take center stage. Combining NFTs with a governance structure seems like a natural value alignment that rewards ownership and community engagement.
A new social code – driven by ownership and collaboration – is embedded in the spirit of NFT culture. While the NFT narrative is still young, it is clear that social layers are driving adoption.NFTs could prove to be the catalyst needed to usher in a new wave of cryptocurrency users.