So 2022 was, to put it simply, a pretty damn chaotic year for NFTs and crypto.
But despite the turbulent markets, bags dropping in value, and the craziness that saturated the Web3 space, NFTs are once again poised to be a major disruptor.
Just like every start of the new year, everyone is excited about forecasting the latest industry trends; NFTs are no different. Artists and creatives of all types have already begun speculating about the future of the space and where it's headed in the upcoming months.
We also wanted to get a jump on what's going to be big in NFTs in 2023, and to be honest, what we found got us pretty damn excited. While some trends are heading in what some might call an obvious direction, some of these creative plans could seriously impact the entire Web3 community.
While each day in the NFT space presents something groundbreaking for the world to digest, here are the major themes that we can see dictating the direction of digital collectibles.
1. Collections using AI
Whether you like it or not, and regardless of your deep moral qualms with robots making art (kidding, sorta), Artificial Intelligence (AI) looks like the future of all technology, NFTs included.
While there will be plenty of friction against AI and art in general, there's a growing movement of artists incorporating artificial intelligence in some capacity into their collections. Beyond that, there already exists platforms dedicated to making NFTs that are 100% AI-generated.
In other words, artificial intelligence has already entered the world of non-fungible tokens. But this year will undoubtedly see creators raise the bar on what they can build with the help of inhuman creativity.
The question remains how the public perceives collectibles that are partially or entirely generated using artificial intelligence. It might be impossible to know exactly what's going to happen, but it would be a safe bet to assume that if AI and NFTs bring financial value or utility to collectors and creators, then the widespread adoption of it will grow exponentially.
Also, just a quick little author's note, none of this article was written by AI. Take that, robots!
2. State-run marketplaces
This trend is already fast in the works, with China taking the lead in creating a highly-regulated marketplace run by the state. As long as NFT technology continues to grow and diversify, it becomes more likely governing forces will want to dip their fingers into the mix.
Once again, there will surely be fierce debate around this, especially considering the importance decentralization plays in Web3 and the metaverse. Still, regulation is always looming on the horizon, and the financial possibilities are impossible to ignore.
China is the only major country taking on this type of initiative, but they're just the tip of the spear. According to Statista, Thailand, Brazil, and the United States all have more NFT users, and other countries are close behind China.
There's no guarantee that China's state-run marketplace will thrive, but it will be a live case study for other countries to follow suit.
3. More women founders enter the mix
The initial years of the NFT craze had a notorious reputation for catering almost exclusively to men. One example of this discrepancy can be seen in an article published by DappRadar that showed only 16% of Nifty Gateway artists were women.
There's no debate that a crypto-bro frat house vibe occupied much of the space, and misogyny was an ugly side-effect of this imbalance. Still, the widespread adoption of non-fungible tokens is narrowing the gender gap.
This shift in gender dynamics is largely thanks to women-led projects that are trailblazing the way for other creators. Betty, the CEO, Founder, and Horde Mother behind Deadfellaz, is one prime example of a woman who is not only paving a path for like-minded visionaries but also being a vocal advocate for other women to join the space.
World of Women, a massively popular collection, is dedicated to onboarding women into Web3 and equipping them with tools to succeed. With the continued growth of projects like this, it is almost guaranteed that the NFT space will see the number of women-led NFT projects grow.
All should embrace this type of diversity. More onboarded NFT creators mean more opportunities for financial gains, more projects that offer fantastic utility, a more egalitarian and truly decentralized space, and many other positive things.
4. NFTs and gaming to the moon
According to an article published by Cointelegraph, a good number of top executives from major companies see an NFT boom on the gaming horizon.
Aleksander Larsen, a lead executive behind the revolutionary P2E game Axie Infinity, told Cointelegraph in an interview that he fully expects major tech companies to jump into the NFT gaming industry.
It's not just executives behind popular play-to-earn games who see a massive surge coming with NFTs and gaming. Enthusiasts and influencers also see this intersection as a notable trend for digital collectibles in 2023.
Andrew Wall, Host & Executive Producer of Illuvium, brought on avid gamers and NFT enthusiasts Seatin and Volkin to discuss their thoughts on NFTs in the upcoming year. The central theme they touched on for 2023 was the fall of PFP-based NFT collections and the growth of NFTs in gaming.
Like the other trends, a big part of this NFT gaming prediction lays in the financials and utility. If companies see the possibilities for profits, and users see the opportunity to collect tokens with utility, then the moon is the limit for this sector of NFTs.
Predictions, not facts, so #DYOR
There's no way to overstate the chaotic nature of these infancy stages of Web3 and non-fungible tokens. Significant changes happen almost hourly and keeping track of the shifting tides takes significant mental investment.
But while things can change instantly, there are plenty of indicators to lead experts and enthusiasts alike to make calculated assumptions of what lies ahead.
In the end, it all comes down to the creators turning their visions into reality. So, let's see what the world of NFT artists, builders, and ground shakers, has in store for us this year, shall we?