NFTs or non-fungible tokens aren’t necessarily new, but the industry is exploding in popularity. An NFT is “a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable.”
In other words, it allows people to buy digital goods that are unique to their ownership and that information is then stored on a blockchain. Until it’s sold or changes hands, they will be able to prove this ownership forever.
For now, NFTs transactions are done with Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD), further accelerating the use of cryptocurrencies.
If all of this feels a bit overwhelming, have no fear — it is overwhelming. The idea of paying for a digital asset with a digital currency seems crazy. And for some investors, it’s incomprehensible. For others, they consider themselves diehard enthusiasts.
Artists, athletes and companies are enjoying the added flexibility and the ability to sell their goods online. Let’s take a look at seven NFTs that are catching some attention.
- GameStop (NYSE:GME)
- Elon Musk (Maybe)
- Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski
- NBA Top Shot
- Associated Press Collection
Now, let’s dive in and analyze each one.
NFTs to Know About: Whiskey
Perhaps the most interesting item on this list of NFTs is whiskey. It was only a matter of time before whiskey lovers collided with the new collection concept and NFT technology.
In May, Irish distiller Kinsale listed a 200-liter cask for auction. It was listed for about $10,000 and expected to be valued at around 63,000 euros. The auction ended up closing at 83,000 euros, showing just how much excitement is surrounding this type of technology as it merges with the physical world.
In that sense, it’s not something many are keeping an eye on. They are watching the digital implications of NFTs, but struggling to connect it to physical assets.
“NFT’s are a newly popularized class of digital tokens used to track and represent an asset, regardless if it’s physical or digital.” Given the success of its first auction, I doubt it’s the last NFT auction for this distiller, let alone the industry.
GameStop, AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) and others have been back in focus. Earlier in the year, these two stocks helped lead a massive short-squeeze higher, as Reddit traders gobbled these stocks up and helped fuel a huge rally. Another squeeze is happening now.
Well, GameStop has been capitalizing on the recent trends. The company used the rise in the share price to raise capital. It also announced a CEO transition to help lead GameStop’s efforts to lean more heavily on e-commerce.
That’s a smart move, as physical retail locations continue to struggle — and the novel coronavirus doesn’t help.
The company also has clear efforts in the NFT world. In doing so, it launched a new site — nft.gamestop.com — and is looking to fill positions to build out its platform. It now has its own tokens and even though we don’t know how GameStop is going to position itself here, its latest efforts make it clear that it has a plan.
Let’s keep an eye on what it’s up to.
NFTs to Know About: Elon Musk (Maybe)
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) may make his way into the NFT market. But there’s no promise.
The outspoken CEO has been a big proponent of new technologies — and no, not just by building electric cars and self-landing rockets.
He has consistently supported Dogecoin (CCC:DOGE-USD) and Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) and his company has put its money where his mouth is. Specifically, Tesla accumulated more than $1 billion worth of Bitcoin, although that didn’t come without some controversy.
Shortly after saying the company would accept customer payments in Bitcoin, Tesla and Musk quickly walked those plans back due to the environmental impact of Bitcoin. That’s not unlike what happened with Musk’s NFT plans.
Does that rule Musk and/or Tesla or SpaceX out of future NFT offerings? Absolutely not.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski
Tom Brady made a splash in the sports world when he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leaving the New England Patriots for the first time in his 20-year career. Considered one of, if not the best quarterback in the NFL’s storied history, the move sent shockwaves around the league.
Then the Bucs won the Super Bowl.
The win solidified Brady’s spot atop the sports world, as if he needed another accolade. So why wouldn’t the man who has “definitely” invested in crypto take a shot at the NFT world?
The quarterback recently launched a platform called Autograph, which will “bring together some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment, fashion and pop culture to work with creators to develop unique digital collectibles.”
I mean, does this really surprise anyone? As celebrities and athletes bask in the spotlight, capitalizing on their likeness is part of the business. And with the growth in NFTs, it’s only natural for this development to occur.
Rob Gronkowski, Brady’s sidekick in New England before retiring, came out of retirement to play with Brady in Tampa Bay. It’s hard to regret that choice after he added another Super Bowl ring to his collection.
The future Hall of Fame tight end launched his own NFT series, called The Rob Gronkowski Championship Series NFTs.”
The series will “commemorate GRONK’s four historic Championships with four limited edition NFTs. Each NFT is a unique piece of memorabilia digitally hand-signed and numbered by GRONK.”
Update: All of GRONK’s NFTs are now sold out!
NFTs to Know About: NBA Top Shot
Of course, if NFL players are getting in on the NFT market, so too is the NBA. However, the NBA didn’t drag its feet with this suddenly popular market. Almost two years ago, the league embarked on a partnership to bring a new digital platform to the market: NBA Top Shot.
Made available to the public in October following a period of closed beta testing, Top Shot is a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace where fans can buy, sell and trade NBA moments, which are packaged highlight clips that operate like trading cards.
The new platform boasts more than 800,000 users and has generated more than $500 million in revenue. The most valuable item so far — a LeBron James dunk — went for more than $400,000.
According to Caty Tedman, head of partnerships at Dapper Labs (who the NBA partnered with nearly two years ago), “NBA Top Shot is a next generation collector experience,” she said. “It’s a way to really take part in the economy of basketball and it’s a way to collect your favorite players, their greatest plays and build community around it.”
Associated Press Collection
Let’s welcome the Associated Press to the NFT party. The popular and well-known outlet will “auction off a series of 10 non-fungible tokens (NFT) celebrating the news agency’s iconic photojournalism over the past 175 years, making artistic representations of some of history’s most notable photographs available on the blockchain for the first time.”
Starting soon, the company will auction off the digital pieces on the Ethereum blockchain via the OpenSea marketplace.
The first release? “U.S. soldiers raising the American flag on Iwo Jima in 1945.”
AP journalists have long captured iconic, important and memorable moments for decades. These are photos many in the public know and cherish — the ones that are plastered on the front pages of national and global newspapers during major events.
To have a handful of these released as NFTs is a nod to the impact they’ve had over the years.
NFTs to Know About: Minecraft
Minecraft has become one of the world’s most popular games. Owned by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), the game can be played on various gaming platforms, computers and phones. It’s sold more than 200 million copies worldwide.
Like the NBA, Minecraft had plans for its NFT debut well before it became water-cooler talk in 2021.
This time was a little different, though. The tokens were introduced as part of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which were meant to “champion women in science and technology.”
Further, “When the challenge has been completed, players will obtain an Enjin Beam QR code that distributes a custom Learner Badger non-fungible token tethered to the Azure Heroes collection.”
It was a fun way to create some inclusiveness, while pushing education and knowledge to the forefront in a fun way. Given the popularity, this isn’t the last time we’ll see some sort of collaboration like this with a positive impact being the goal.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell held a long position in whiskey. Kenwell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.