Today at TechCrunch’s crypto-focused event in Miami, OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer discussed their business and the future market for non-foreign tokens.
The digital asset, abbreviated as NFT, has seen its shares soar during the 2021 crypto boom. NFTs became synonymous with the emergence of the neo-wealth blockchain economy, as several image collections employing the digital asset format reached pop-culture status and eye-watering value.
However, as TechCrunch reports, the booming market for crypto-related activities and products is currently in decline. NFT trading volume is depressed compared to a year ago, and there is chaos in other decentralized economies as FTX exchange momentum resumes.
Finzer’s presence at the event made it clear – amid the downturn, where does OpenSea see the future for its core product category?
Naturally, since he’s running a company in the space, we’d expect optimism from the tech executive. He offered. In his view, however, a few key themes emerged that caught our attention. (TechCrunch has folded its thoughts on how to rekindle consumer interest in NFTs, it’s worth noting).
First, the game. Finzer argued at the beginning of his conversation with us Anita Ramaswamy He noted that the world of NFTs is “very diverse”, with the NFTs market in games seeing an “explosion in innovation”. The CEO cited gaming as a market opportunity for NFTs to generate more consumer enthusiasm (OpenSea is working on helping games and gaming companies adopt NFTs).
The gaming and digital assets alliance has proven a popular theme for press coverage and founder activity. However, during the last crypto boom the focus was on play-to-earn (P2E) games such as Axie Infinity. But while Axie has seen its fortunes rise and fall, OpenSea still looks overpriced for gaming-related NFTs. As someone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in games like the Diablo franchise, I can imagine some issues to combine, though I’m a bit skeptical of bringing real-world economics into most video games.
Finzer’s level of excitement regarding NFTs and gaming for this publication indicates that perhaps this is where we should be paying more attention as we cover what asset diversification can do next.
Looking broadly at the NFT marketplace itself, Finzer argued on stage that it would be positive for networks like Instagram to join the industry. In his view, the inclusion of NFTs from social companies could provide an on-ramp to the crypto market for regular people. Historically, such entry points have been criticized as too steep, while new methods of getting consumers into NFTs are welcome on its platform.
The future of NFTs may be less crypto-centric than it used to be. Finzer mentioned a recent Reddit NFT effort about trust, consumers, and crypto in general. Many Reddit NFT users don’t know it’s a crypto-powered product, he explained. If consumers are willing to engage with crypto products outside of the crypto-native experience, it’s easy to see how gaming and crypto will eventually find common ground.
What is in store for the company? In our conversation with OpenSea today, it’s not a native token, at least not yet. Although we expect to raise more capital in 2023, the company also declined to talk about fundraising.
After listening to the conversation, he felt as if the era of expensive profile pictures had faded into the background. Now we have to see if possible use cases for NFTs in other sectors of the digital economy – and perhaps IRL – can make the leap to reality.