While the NFT space has clearly seen exponential growth, the market is still developing and has yet to hit the mainstream. There are barriers to the mainstream adoption of NFTs, but these barriers shrink and become less of an issue everyday. As these barriers are starting to disappear, the physical collectible market is transitioning into a digital collectible market. Digital Trading Cards predicted this evolution of paper-based cards and is leading the development of a modern collectors marketplace.
In the first half of 2021 alone, NFT sales reached $2.5 billion; in all of 2020, NFT sales didn’t even hit $1 billion. That is a staggering growth to achieve in under a year. That growth is even more impressive when you consider how long the collectible industry has stuck to the status quo of physical collectibles. The potential of NFTs and digital collectibles is almost unlimited, but that growth won’t fully occur until the barriers are gone and the market goes mainstream.
So what barriers are in the way? The market seems to be thriving, so what could be stunting that growth? One of those barriers is scalability —the ability to cope and perform well under an increased or expanding workload or scope. Applied to NFTs, that means the ability of NFT marketplaces and creators to handle increased demand and volume. Though the internet may seem like an infinite space to the layman, a lot of work and resources are required to keep a large marketplace functioning, especially as demand increases exponentially. This ability to scale operations to meet demand is currently one of the industry’s limiting factors.
Another one of these limiting factors is storage, or more accurately, secure storage. As we all know, cybercrimeis incredibly prevalent in the digital era. Even in the very transparent and secure world of cryptocurrency, scams are somewhat common. And for something as important as valuable digital assets, safe storage is a necessity. However, safe and secure storage is harder to come by than one would think. Many NFT marketplaces rely on Amazon and Google cloud storage, but these solutions have their issues as well. This leaves a concern for many potential digital collectors who are afraid they might lose access to their NFTs, other crypto holdings, and have their personal information stolen. A lot of people will see these security issues and decide not to get involved in NFTs, holding back growth. This hurdle of safe storage is one the most important ones for the digital collectible market to get past.
Arguably the most important issue for the digital collectible market to deal with is accessibility and interoperability. The NFT space is fractured into a multitude of various marketplaces, blockchains, systems, etc. In many ways it’s like the “Wild West,” with all these different companies trying to pioneer and stake out their claim in the market. While this is exciting from an entrepreneur’s perspective, this makes all sorts of things difficult from a consumer perspective. Moving an NFT from one place to another, trading them, and selling them is much more difficult when there isn’t an established pathway to transfer digital collectibles from place to place. Some NFT marketplaces even go out of their way to make the transfer process more difficult. Marketplaces also usually only accept certain forms of payment, so that may require a user to convert one currency into another. All of these issues prevent the market from developing to its full potential. Stifling free trade between all the platforms and currencies stunts the growth of the market by limiting the amount of business that takes place.
Despite all these issues, the NFT and digital collectible market is thriving, getting closer to the mainstream than ever before. Everyone from Jay-Z to the NBA seems to be getting in on the market, and the market is growing exponentially daily. As these issues with the market begin to fade, the NFT market will continue to grow. And amidst this unprecedented growth, DTC stands out as a consumer friendly, customer oriented marketplace. Having predicted the evolution of paper-based collectibles to digital collectibles, DTC understands the market, what is needed, and what consumers/creators want. This puts DTC in the position to become the name brand digital collectors marketplace in a world with ample competition.