Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have energized the crypto world in the last six months, bringing new creators, collectors, fans, and participants to the space and spotlighting the underlying blockchain technology. This explosion of artistic, cultural, and entrepreneurial energy is beginning to have major impacts on society.
Andreessen Horowitz and the Stanford Center for Blockchain Research teamed up recently to host the NFT Virtual Summit, in which the best NFT builders and thinkers discussed the latest trends in NFTs, shared insights and use cases, debated the social and monetization impacts, and looked ahead to the future of NFTs in the crypto market.
Thousands participated live in the summit, and we’ve gathered all the videos here so that everyone can use them as a resource. Here’s the lineup:
The Future of the Digital Ownership Economy
Chris Dixon, a16z general partner & Dan Boneh, professor of computer science at Stanford University
Chris and Dan discuss why NFTs matter, starting with a high-level overview of NFTs before diving deeper into how they represent a shift of power away from platforms and centralized services and toward creators and users. They also discuss how NFTs unlock new economic models and waves of creativity, and how the idea of composability makes it all possible. Finally they give a quick overview of the new and emerging use cases for the technology.
The New Creative Economy
Kayvon Tehranian, founder, Foundation
Kayvon provides case studies of artists and creators in the digital marketplace who are finding new ways to reach their audiences, and how the emergence of NFTs has enabled creators and communities to work together in a decentralized way. He also describes how creator marketplaces enable virtuous circles, in which artists can participate in auctions as collectors, thereby creating signals in the marketplace and helping other artists gain reputation and new monetization opportunities.
NBA Top Shot and Other NFTs on the Flow Blockchain
Dieter Shirley, cofounder of Dapper Labs & Dan Boneh, professor of computer science at Stanford University
Dieter traces the development of NFTs from the CryptoKitties phenomenon (and how it overloaded the then-nascent Ethereum blockchain) to the creation of the Flow blockchain. He then discusses NBA Top Shot, a sports collectible experience in partnership with the NBA, as a way of showing what’s possible with Flow. Finally Dan and Dieter discuss challenges for the NFT space, which include differentiating among teams and projects to find the ones that are building true communities, and making the user experience easier for people new to the space.
Going Beyond Collectibles: The Future of Tokens for Creators
Kevin Chou, founder, Rally & Chris Dixon, a16z general partner
Chris and Kevin discuss the interplay among “fungible” social tokens and NFTs, and how this can help create new models and long-tail communities of fans for creators. While NFTs are a key driver of innovation, fungible tokens can work with them through their use as currency within ecosystems. Kevin explains how new platforms are emerging that make it easier for musicians, athletes, video game streamers and other creators to engage with their audiences through out-of-the-box social tokens that they can customize and patch into deeper web3 experiences. They discuss where these trends sit within the broader trend of internet development. Finally they discuss emerging areas like gaming and fashion, and how these interlocking trends could work to create a richer metaverse.
NTF Use Cases Today and Tomorrow
Devin Finzer, cofounder, OpenSea & Katie Haun, a16z general partner
Devin explains how interoperability is key to the OpenSea platform — projects from different digital marketplaces can appear in a free market environment not wedded to a specific application. They discuss what can be an NFT, and how NFTs represent the “tokenization of everything,” starting with the finance world and now moving into whole new classes of digital assets like virtual land, storefronts with fashion items, virtual events, games, and more. For creators, these new technologies allow for a more direct relationship with fans, and better value-capture compared to the traditional, ad-based model in which platforms capture nearly all the value.
The Accidental Art DAO
pplpleasr, digital artist
Pplpleasr talks about her journey as a digital artist and how she entered the NFT space by combining her animation skills with her growing interest in crypto, especially DeFi and the meme culture. She discusses her now-famous piece for Uniswap v3, which led her to a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. Pplpleasr explains why DAOs are an important new model for groups with shared interests and aligned incentives, with their focus on decentralization and collective success rather than zero-sum competition. To cap off the NFT Virtual Summit, pplpleasr unveiled her second NFT, “Apes Together Strong,” an homage to the crypto community and to humans coordinating and coming together as a powerful force. She pledged the proceeds from the NFT’s auction to autism advocacy and support.
The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.
This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.
Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.