India joins global DTV craze
The race for virtual collectibles intensifies
Over the past four years since their inception, NFTs have carved out a niche for themselves that has grown rapidly as more and more people are willing to pay for virtual collectibles. Although India has been slow, the concept is increasingly popular here as well.
As global attention appears to be focused on the cryptocurrency craze which is once again returning to new heights, another player is making a calmer but significant push, on the back of one of the crypto-currencies. currencies.
Meet NFT or non-fungible token. Introduced in 2017, NFT is a one-of-a-kind digital asset, which is part of the Ethereum blockchain, and can be traded using Ether cryptocurrency. Simply put, NFTs are modern collectibles such as digital prints, short clips, videos, music, memes, pixelated punks, emojis, and many more digital creations. Surprisingly, the same creation that can sometimes recover a king’s ransom can be downloaded in exactly the same quality by anyone on the internet for free.
Unlike cryptocurrencies, which are fungible or can be split, NFTs are not interchangeable and are irreplaceable. Plus, unlike any other traditional collectible, NFTs allow the creator to receive a certain amount each time the collectible changes hands.
Virtual collector’s item, real boom
Over the past four years, the concept of NFT has grown in popularity and sales have exploded. According to OpenSea, an online marketplace, NFT’s monthly sales soared from $ 8 million in January 2021 to $ 95.2 million the following month, in February. Since then, the pace has only accelerated. From the second quarter of 2021 to the third, ending September 30, NFT’s sales increased eightfold to $ 10.7 billion, according to cryptocurrency market tracker DappRadar.
But not all cryptocurrency traders are convinced by NFTs or their value. “Exact copies of Monalisa can be painted and sold. But would they become a true painting of Leonardo Da Vinci, ”asks Raghav Das, a 28-year-old cryptocurrency enthusiast in New Delhi who invests in Bitcoin and Ethereum.
But there are many more in India and abroad who have joined the race for NFTs and some designers have made successful careers with these collectibles. The American digital artist, Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, for example made his fortune with these.
According to American technology ‘The edge‘, until October 2020, Winkelmann had struggled to sell his creations at $ 100 each. However, in March 2021, he broke NFT records and sold a collage, Daily – The first 5,000 days for a tantalizing price tag of $ 69 million, which puts it on par with some of the best-known artists of the Renaissance.
But it wasn’t just relatively unknown digital creators like Beeple who made a decent sum of money for their designs. Some of the most famous people also commanded a hefty price tag. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey ventured into the NFT arena and sold his first tweet as NFT for over $ 2.9 million.
Grimes, a Canadian musician and former partner of business mogul Elon Musk is said to have made a fortune selling her music and digital art as NFT.
NFT accelerates in India
Many Indian celebrities have started to take an interest in NFTs. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan joined the NFT gold rush early last month. The actor has planned an auction of his unique and limited works around his own character and his film career in early November.
“Amitabh Bachchan’s NFT auction will be a major event to see as it serves as a curtain-raiser in understanding whether Indians are ready to open their wallets for a digital creation from their favorite star’s collection,” said Monica Makhija, market analyst working in Gurgaon.
Earlier in July, Indian TV presenter Vishal Malhotra released an NFT that sold for around 2.5 Ethers, or around $ 5,500.
“Being a public figure helps sell any collectible, however, demand and attractiveness matters as well,” says Kyle Fernandes, founder and CEO of Memechat, a memechat-based social media networking app. used by Generation Z and Generation Y in India.
“Memes fit perfectly into the NFT ecosystem and can surely be harnessed like any other art,” Fernandes said. India Media Group. Calling NFTs practical and profitable, he says, “A lot of famous memes, photos and videos have been sold for lucrative prices by users in NFT auctions. For example, Zoë Roth, from the famous “Daughter of Disaster” meme, sold her original copy as an NFT worth around $ 500,000. “
NFTs are also catching up in neighboring Pakistan, where one of the most viral memes, “Friendship Ended With Mudasir,” sold for $ 51,530.
“It is as clear as the light of day that people are interested in NFTs in India. It’s something new for the Indian market and for designers, it’s a new way of selling, ”says Samar Khan, an illustrator who runs the popular page. Metrodoodle on Instagram.
Talk to India Media Group, Khan says, “While most of the designers who make money from TVNs are foreigners, Indian designers are also cultivating an interest in the region. It is the reluctance to enter the crypto world that becomes a major obstacle. “
But he says the creators are getting over their hesitation. “We are all bracing for the idea and everyone wants to get into the world of NFT, if not today, then very soon.”
While many cyber hobbyists believe the NFT trend will only skyrocket in the near future, others are throwing bricks at NFTs for their obvious lack of utility and for being an absolute environmental burden.
The carbon footprint of a single Ethereum transaction is 33.4 kg of CO2, or up to 74,000 VISA transactions, according to Digiconomist, a platform dedicated to exposing the unintended consequences of digital trends, typically from an economic point of view. Plus, every time an NFT is minted and sold, the overall carbon footprint increases further.
“I don’t believe art should be highly damaging to the environment and have as high a carbon footprint as NFTs. It becomes extremely relevant for individuals to put aside their personal choices and think for the entire planet, ”says Saumya Raj, master’s student in ecology.