If you are into the NFT craze, you’ve probably joined a couple of dozen Discord servers. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have emerged as the new buzzword among blockchain-cryptocurrency enthusiasts, attracting the public into the new world of Web3 and decentralized applications (DAPPs).
To be honest, the blockchain revolution, ownership mentality, and intellectual property expansion did not propel NFTs to the forefront.
It’s all about the money.
You heard the name, maybe even remember the dollar amount. Major news headlines read “Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million”, “JPG File Sells for $69 Million”, and “The wild, wild tale of how one man made $69 million from a single NFT”.
Honestly, I had no idea who the hell Beeple was and I’m willing to bet that most people didn’t. But still, pretty enticing, right?
This single transaction, and others like it, spawned a wave of people looking to capitalize on their own pieces of digital artwork. The NFT marketplace needed three things to match the growing demand:
When you look at NFT projects, small and large, the majority offer more than a square JPEG file.
It can serve as a ticket into a community. Many collections promise access to future events, first dibs on new releases, giveaways, and insights into the future of the project.
If the NFT space is more about community development than the individual pieces of artwork, how do you garner a following and buzz to generate demand for your work?
Along comes Discord.
Launched in 2015, Discord started as a free voice and text chat app for gamers. If you’re familiar with Slack, then Discord is its nerdy cousin.
But this is 2022. We know that “nerds” run the world.
Starting within the video gaming industry, founders Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy built an effective communication tool for their users.
Users on Discord can engage in audio and video conversations, send private text messages, and join groups, which are referred to as “servers” on the platform.
Despite its popularity amongst gamers, Discord has developed into a tool for anyone seeking to chat or find a community. Even better, users can create their own servers dedicated to a certain topic and invite others to join.
The background on NFTs is more intricate than the JPEGs we see selling for millions.
An NFT is a non-fungible token which is an economic term used to describe things that are not replaceable because of their unique properties. For example, Ethereum (a type of cryptocurrency) is fungible. Trading 1 ETH for 1 ETH gives you exactly the same thing. They are defined by their value, not their uniqueness.
An ETH is valued the same for everyone.
However, the Pokémon trading cards I have sitting in my attic are non-fungible. Back in 2002, I traded my Charizard for a Geodude and have regretted it ever since.
Physical trading cards pose many issues when it comes to protecting their value. For one thing, even in a vacuum-sealed plastic container, the cards can be damaged.
Ownership is also an issue.
Whoever has the trading cards in their possession is the owner. Proving your ownership becomes tough because you cannot sign your name on the back of the cards without depreciating them.
NFTs are a safer investment due to their digital nature.
Saved forever on the blockchain, your ownership is secured and always attached to the item. No one can steal an NFT or delete the information from the digital ledger.
Discord provides real-time audio rooms in which users speak and listen in on conversations.
As an investor in an NFT project, I was listening to a Discord chat last week when a thought crossed my mind.
“This feels like an earnings call.”
Publicly traded companies have an obligation to their shareholders to keep them up to date on the company’s activities. On an earnings call, the company leadership will discuss short-term goals and general vision for the future.
The calls cover quarterly results and questions from investors are discussed to provide investors with an overall picture of the company’s health.
What does this have to do with Discord or NFTs for that matter?
Instead of viewing NFTs as single images minted on the blockchain, think of each collection as a startup, a business seeking investors.
The NFTs operate as “shares” in the company.
The argument most people make against NFTs: “I can just screenshot the picture. Why would I buy it?”
Well, my friend, you are missing the point.
The document that says you own ten shares of Amazon stock (currently at $2,890 a share), has no inherent value. If you were lost in the middle of the Arctic with a dwindling fire, I guarantee you would toss that piece of paper into the flames.
The value behind the conventional purchasing of shares lies in owning a piece of a popular collection.
While some people purchase NFTs solely because they “look cool”, a vast majority are strategically planning their investments. Popular collections, such as Doodles, have had a single piece purchased for 40 ETH (~$128,676 USD) and are now being resold for 1500 ETH (~$4,825,700 USD).
An NFT’s success is not dependent on a single piece of artwork. It’s the brand behind it.
The collection’s purpose, who the founders are, engagement on social media, and the current owners of the NFT all play a role in its success.
When you have minted your first NFT and go “public”, you have an obligation to investors (people who purchase your NFT). Provide them with the roadmap for your project, what your goals are for the future, and build a community around the collection. That’s how you grow in popularity and value. Discord is the perfect place to house that community.
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