The technology that underpins NFTs is impressive and has various uses outside and inside the crypto space. This much is already proven true. But that doesn’t mean that just being made with NFTs is enough anymore to impress people. NFTs in one form—arguably the most common—is a collectible item. It derives its meaning from the same things that all collectibles do: scarcity, sentimentality, and esthetics. For someone to want to collect something, there’s usually something else about it that draws them to it. Baseball cards are little pieces of cardboard, but they show famous players someone might have grown up watching. Magic: The Gathering cards have a rich 50+ year history, and the collectibles double as game pieces.
This is to say that NFTs are beholden to the same general rules as Marketing 101 has dictated for anything you’re trying to promote: you need to have a value proposition. It needs to be something that a person wants because they feel it will help their survival (and having something that makes you happy is beneficial to survival, to be clear.) NFTs with a gorgeous esthetic and deeper meaning attached to them are better than NFTs with “generic” artwork or little thought put into them. NFTs that commemorate a moment or immortalize a celebrity are better than NFTs depicting random stuff. NFTs that give the holder access to real-world bonuses, which is a recent trend in the ticketing industry, have a better chance of working than NFTs that are simply given as the reward in itself.
For NFTs to go forward, they should be made—from the ground up—with this in mind. Novelty isn’t enough. Yes, the technology is amazing. Yes, it is cool to have an NFT that not many others have. Yes, there’s a chance anything can get mega popular. But all that is true of Web 2.0 smartphone applications, and people don’t tend to download those just because they exist. If you’re wondering why one NFT succeeded over another, look at what else the NFT offers.