Discussion with Cameron Bale on the Future of NFTs and How Communities Will Leverage Them
One of the hot topics in crypto right now is NFTs. OmniSparx sat down with Cameron Bale of NFT.NYC and NFT.Kred to learn more about NFTs and the community.
Our conversation is captured below, but quotes from Cameron should not be taken verbatim.
Introduction and Background
Cameron Bale is the Director of Marketing and Product Development for NFT.Kred — A platform that supports the creation and distribution of actionable NFTs. The platform can be whitelabeled by brands, communities and events through simple, custom themes and URLs.
Kred was founded in 2011 and has since provided social influence scores to over 300,000 users. NFT.Kred was officially launched in 2018 to help those influencers and brands tokenize their digital assets with their own calls to action.
NFT.Kred initially used only the Ethereum network, and began to notice issues with volatile gas costs and slow transaction times. We now use a dual-ledger approach where NFTs are minted to the Stellar network by default, and can be moved to Ethereum using our Stellar to Ethereum bridge.
This approach has helped us create a user experience where the average, non-blockchain user, can use NFT.Kred just like any other app (no KYC, no gas fees and consistently faster transactions). They collect the shiny objects while the complicated part happens in the background.
Blockchain-savvy users who already have any Ethereum wallet (like MetaMask, Dapper, Portis etc), can authenticate and connect those wallets and transact on Ethereum.
How would you explain NFTs to someone who knows nothing about crypto?
Take your digital assets like a photo or a sword in a game or a physical asset like a driver’s license or birth certificate and tokenize it — that’s an NFT. Tokenizing these kinds of assets lets you hold them somewhere safe (in a wallet you control), and sometimes even use them cross-platform. As more apps and services start to leverage NFTs, you should be able to use the same digital asset in multiple apps.
What are some examples of how NFTs can be used?
A great example is your online identity, where you visit a website with your wallet connected and you are automatically recognized as you. As more identity standards are implemented it will create opportunities for websites and apps to automatically verify your age, nationality, interests and even influence, and serve you tailored content and offers.
Another example is a digital sword in a game. I play a specific game and I earn or buy a sword in that game. If that sword is tokenized and registered as a digital asset on the blockchain, I can safely store it in my wallet. It can then follow me around via my wallet, and I can use it in other games. I can also sell it in a third party marketplace.
We are also seeing examples where artists tokenize their artwork or ownership certificates of their artwork with built-in royalty contracts. Street artists are using NFTs to immortalize and distribute their work which is usually confined to the location where it was created, and often doesn’t last long before it is removed or painted over.
How do you get an NFT today?
Most apps, games or marketplaces require you to have a crypto wallet. In general, the NFT community is very Ethereum-centric and is made up of developers who are very attached to the Ethereum network. We all face a common problem of general user adoption. Onboarding is a big issue as users need to have an Ethereum wallet and some ETH to pay for gas. This means that users have to join an exchange, go through KYC/AML, buy the ETH and then wait for it to be sent to in their wallet.
It’s a really clunky flow at the moment, but there are a number of great wallets focused on improving it; Portis, for example, lets you buy ETH directly from your wallet with a debit card without KYC. Dapper, the company behind CryptoKitties, just released a new wallet focused on NFTs. Both of these examples are focused on making getting started easy, and let you sign up with an email and password.
Why are you excited about this?
Collaboration. Because blockchain is the underlying technology, the exciting thing about NFTs is that they can facilitate interoperability. It is easy for us to work together. People use their CryptoKitties on our game. Swords from another platform can be used on another game. Applications can freely render content that is formatted using open metadata standards. Apps are not siloed — Anyone can build an app and it will be instantly full of stuff.
If you have a new game or a new social media app, it can be like building a stadium in the desert until you have users creating content. The openness of the ecosystem allows developers to instantly “prime” their projects, and is on its way to eliminating the issue.
There is a great sense of community to the NFT space. In Feb 2019 we hosted the first major NFT conference — NFT.NYC.
Public and interoperable. NFTs resolve the interoperability problem from the start. People can take their assets from one platform to another. It’s a really cool way for companies and brands to share IP with their community. You can give to your community. People can own NFTs, redeem it for something like a discount or download. If they don’t want it, they can sell it on a third-party marketplace.
Cost effective. The Consensus conference during NYC Blockchain Week used NFT.Kred to distribute digital “NFT Swag” to it’s 5,000 attendees. From 98 sponsors most of which have never created or used NFTs, Consensus released over 200,000 NFTs. Many of the tokens created could be redeemed by attendees for physical prizes, digital downloads and even tickets to future events — All they needed to do was click a link. Some tokens drove traffic to the sponsor’s booth where the attendee could exchange it for a t-shirts or hardware wallet. Attendees could trade their NFTs with others, keep them, or sell them on OpenSea.
Where can you see this going?
It’s still the early days. In the future, I see every digital asset will be tokenized and the technology will be more invisible to end users. There will be many games where assets in the game are tokenized. There will be tokenized gaming assets, art and social media assets as well as tokenized identities — including your driver’s license. To the end user, the blockchain technology will be invisible.
Kred tells people how influential they are. Brands pay money to find people who are influential in their niche. If we tokenize influence score, websites will be able to recognize the token and give you a different web experience based on your score. That idea of tokenized identity and landing on different web experience is going to happen more and more.