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The first decade of crypto was all about one thing: financial innovation.
During my time spent in the foundational years of the institutional crypto trading world, I was right in the heart of it.
We saw the most popular use cases continually focused on evolving trading infrastructure to support crypto use cases, as well as building new versions of legacy financial products enabled by blockchain technology. The learning curve was incredibly steep, people had to either already know or quickly learn the intricacies of crypto tools, jargon, and the way they interplay with the traditional financial world in order to understand any of it.
The industry was confusing and alienating for many. Even though this focus on institutional trading hindered mass adoption by everyday consumers, it was an essential period of innovation for the space.
The launch of CryptoKitties and projects like it brought an all new fascination and new use case for the underlying web3 tools. At least, that’s how the story goes.
Here’s what most people think happened.
In 2017, CryptoKitties launched one of the first NFT collections on Ethereum. The collection pulled in a few million dollars, but the average person thought it was a fast-burning fad. Although nobody outside the core crypto community knew about CryptoKitties, something shifted in the space. Then in 2020, NBA Top Shot launched, bringing NFTs to a broader audience by leveraging people’s love for the NBA.
That’s how the NFT space got started, according to most people.
The only way to fully understand where web3 is going in the next decade is to get the story right about how we got here in the first place. The real path we’ve taken offers an important clue about the future that everyone is missing.
Without a doubt, the launch of CryptoKitties was important in the history of web3. And NBA Top Shot onboarded new people to the space. There’s no arguing any of that.
But there were other influential projects like Colored Coins, CryptoPunks, and the MLB Champions collection along the way as well. And most importantly, there were dedicated builders behind the scenes experimenting and tinkering which set the stage for all of what was to come.
Then something happened that brought web3 further into pop culture. Musicians couldn’t tour during the pandemic.
It all started with one of my buddies, a singer-songwriter from New York. In 2020, he reached out to me at a complete loss for how to connect with his fans, and how to continue making money and releasing creative content during the pandemic. And he wasn’t the only one. Musicians across the world needed new ways to connect with fans. They sought out people with experience in crypto—including me.
I told him the same thing I told all the singers, DJs, and other performers who contacted me for crypto advice.
“You need to engage your fans in a new way. More than doing TikToks and Facebook Live concerts.”
See, community drives all development on the internet. In the ‘90s, it was all about bulletin boards. The 2000s brought us live chat rooms. The 2010s had indexed forums like subreddits. Then in the 2020s, Discord and NFTs came along.
My buddy, the singer-songwriter, agreed that he needed to engage his fans better, especially during such a challenging time. But he didn’t know how to do that digitally. “You need to get into NFTs,” I told him. I had spent the prior year with my brother and co-founder Max, going deep down the rabbit hole of the potential uniquely offered by NFTs.
My friend wasn’t the only creator who needed to change his business model and way of engaging consumers. Under the radar, all types of artists, creators, musicians, and more realized NFTs were a new way to engage their community at a time when everyone was stuck at home.
Artists used them as a more authentic form of connection with their audience. Some notable artists in the space include:
Over the past couple of years, everyone from fashion icons to athletes to musicians have been using NFTs as their PFPs. Eminem, Jason Derulo, The Weeknd—they’ve all embraced it. Without anyone realizing, these entertainers and the builders who came before them are why NFTs and crypto entered the zeitgeist.
Why is that important? Because artists and musicians are going to bring NFTs into the next decade, too.
Right now, everyone’s trying to be everything in web3. Tech companies are trying to be storytellers. Creative agencies are trying to be tech companies. But this won’t last long.
The best builders in the world have entered the space. Many are building the tools we need for true mass NFT adoption.
In the very near future, as companies are forced to focus on their core competencies, web3 tools will come out that allow for deeper collaboration and community building. Any business, artist, creator, or anyone with a vision will be able to create, own, and sell their work without dealing with any of the complexities of web3.
And that’s what will unlock the new age of the internet. In the next decade, artists will no longer need to rely on luck or navigating complicated contracts. Everyone will have access to tools like RECUR Builder.
Getting into NFTs won’t just be convenient for artists, businesses, and brands. It’ll be a necessity. And it’s now easier than ever before.
Ten years ago, almost nobody cared about online privacy. Now it’s all anyone talks about.
It’ll be the same with NFTs. By 2030, having NFTs will be a given for anybody with a digital presence. NFTs will be so ubiquitous they may not even be called NFTs anymore. An artist without NFTs will be like a painter without paint. A video game without NFTs will be like a board game without pieces. A company without NFTs will be like a store that doesn’t accept credit cards. You get my point.
As an industry, we had to go through those early days of complication when only “tech wizards,” finance enthusiasts, and people willing to do a bunch of research understood crypto.
NFTs forced us as an industry to become more consumer-friendly. Which, in turn, has made things easier for everyone. NFTs have brought people into the space and exposed them to all the amazing aspects of crypto technology that make it such a powerful and transformational technology. Web3 unlocks levels of freedom, interpersonal connection and community, ownership, and creativity that were never before possible. The best part is that web3 is just getting started, so we can’t even imagine all of what’s to come.
Now with the launch of tools like RECUR Builder, easy-to-use tools will bring us into the next era of digital creativity by unlocking new channels for creators of all sizes worldwide.
We can’t wait to see what you build with RECUR Builder.
Let’s get building. 🚀