The Garden State is emerging as a leader in blockchain technologies, especially NFTs.
By democratizing ownership and disrupting entrenched middlemen, NFTs enable ordinary New Jersey residents to build wealth by owning assets that were previously only accessible to the wealthiest — from works of art to real estate to high end wine.
But wait, what is an NFT?
Well an NFT, or non-fungible token, is a digital record of ownership that cannot be changed or reproduced. They’re basically digital certificates of authenticity. Most people have heard of or read about NFTs as high priced .JPEGs that can be collected or resold. These digital records can also represent ownership of digital assets like art, collectibles, and gaming assets. Or physical assets such as physical works of art, high-end luxury goods, and real estate.
This technology has so much power and promise. Soon, everyone will be able to build a portfolio and actively trade in NFTs that provide a share in ownership of a wide array of assets. Fractional NFTs are emerging as an ideal way for dividing ownership of assets that have historically been owned by only one person. Those who could not previously afford to do so will be able to buy and sell portions of real estate, luxury goods, startups, and more as NFTs. Here in New Jersey, Long Branch-based Balcony DAO makes investing in real estate more accessible by digitizing portions of real-world properties as NFTs.
New Jerseyans can also own digital collectibles from local sports teams like the Devils, which was the first NHL team to offer NFTs. NFTs can also unlock access to real-world and VR metaverse experiences. The NJ Lottery Ballooning Festival NFTs allow special access to tickets, virtual experiences and physical merchandise. In the future I envision NFTs to enable sports teams and cultural institutions to fund new facilities, community programs and capital improvements without issuing bonds or straining taxpayers by tapping into local government funds.
These digital records, enabled by blockchain technology, enable artists and buyers to determine a piece’s value by establishing authenticity and scarcity. Digital art, music, videos and other collectibles without NFT-backing can be easily reproduced, and as a result, artists are often underpaid, selling cheap prints or collecting only fractions of a penny per stream. An NFT, on the other hand, can be traced back to its creator through the blockchain, and potential buyers can determine how many were and will ever be minted. This enables digital artists to sell their work for its actual market value based on supply and demand, and even collect royalties on resales.
With NFTs, creators can also cut out gatekeeping power brokers and expensive middlemen, leveling the playing field for artists from underrepresented backgrounds. Artists can take their work directly to audiences without having to find a gallery or art show — which historically excluded marginalized artists. In addition, “smart contracts” — coded logic and rules contained within the blockchain — enable the direct sale and transfer of NFTs without the need for appraisers or salespeople.
NFTs democratize ownership and open up new opportunities for creators to connect with a global customer base. This is a game-changer, enabling artists, brands, and personalities to unlock the value in their artwork and intellectual property. NFTs have created an explosion in digital art, collectibles, and gaming, with sales growing from under $100M in 2020 to $24.9B in 2021 — and estimated to reach $211B by 2030.
Mass adoption of NFTs will be a boon for creators, collectors, brands, and more, but leaders in the industry and government must work together to remove barriers facing creators and potential buyers. My company, Go! NFT Yourself, enables brands and artists to accept credit cards for NFT sales, making NFTs accessible to customers unfamiliar with cryptocurrency. Policymakers like Representative Josh Gottheimer and Senator Cory Booker are also helping lead the way at the federal level, both receiving the Crypto Council for Innovation’s Digital Future Award this year for their efforts to advance blockchain development and adoption.
NFTs enable artists of all stripes to make the most of their hard work and creativity, and make ownership of art and other tokenized assets accessible to more people than ever before. Embracing NFTs and other blockchain technologies will continue to power a revolution in investment and creativity in New Jersey and around the world – my team and I at GO! NFT Yourself are proud to be part of it.
Peter Chmiel is an innovative serial entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO atGO! NFT Yourself, which powers custom-branded NFT storefronts that accept credit cards so artists and brands can unlock the value of their work and sell NFTs to their entire audience.