Last fall, American cryptocurrency exchange giant Gemini made waves in the non-fungible token (NFT) space in acquiring Nifty Gateway, a marketplace for rare digital collectibles.
Expect a new wave of interest, then, as an updated version of that “nifties” marketplace is finally launching later this month.
The token play came into focus again this week thanks to a profile published by New York magazine’s Intelligencer on its twin founders, Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, who are hoping to take NFTs — which they liken to “digital Air Jordans” — to mainstream audiences over the next decade.
“Excited to announce that [Nifty Gateway] 2.0 is launching soon,” Gemini CEO and co-founder Tyler Winklevoss said in a March 5th retweet of that profile, adding that the portal will allow users to “buy and sell nifties along with several nifties by noted artists.”
Who those artists are remains under wraps for now, but if the Cock Foster brothers’ stated ambitions are any indication, they’re swinging for the stars and aiming to raise the NFT arena in general toward the mainstream.
“We want some CryptoPunks in the permanent collection of the [Museum of Modern Art],” Duncan told Intelligencer, a reference to the 24×24 pixel art project comprised of NFTs on Ethereum.
Rise of the Digital
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are renowned for having become among the first “bitcoin billionaires” in the world. They did so by investing in BTC when relatively few people were paying attention to the cryptoeconomy.
Perhaps there is a parallel, then, between the twins’ timely bitcoin bets and the Gemini co-founders’ acquisition of Nifty Gateway. Of course, that’s not to say the marketplace is destined to be explosively successful or that NFTs will make the Winklevoss twins as much profit as bitcoin has.
Rather, it’s just to say that the brothers have placed an early bet on a young NFT sector that still has plenty of room for further growth, as Tyler suggested when Gemini acquired Nifty Gateway in November:
“Non-fungible tokens and the digital goods (and collectibles) they enable will play a major role in the next era of the digital economy. They are the perfect form factor for crypto-collectibles, crypto-art, and much more — laying the foundation for entirely new multi-billion dollar industries to emerge.”
Indeed, since NFTs can do different things than physical goods they point to new kinds of innovation, which in turn leads to new avenues of valuation. The times thus seem clearly a-changin’ to the Winklevoss and Cock Foster twins.
“If you critically rate what makes art valuable as an asset, which is authenticity, liquidity, and longevity, then nifties blow traditional art out of the water in all three of those categories,” Duncan Cock Foster told Intelligencer.
NFT Market to $315 Million This Year?
In their 2019 industry report, NFT tracker site NonFungible projected the market cap of the wider digital collectibles ecosystem could reach $315 million USD in 2020. Such a rise would mark a 50 percent rise on the year since the market cap of the NFT space hit over $210 million last year.
Even though $315 million in NFTs would still represent a relatively small market, a climb to that point would actualize a 950 percent rise since 2017 when the NFT market was only $30 million deep and sparked by CryptoKitties buzz. However, more than a few other notable projects have risen in the ensuing years and are currently driving newfound attention around NFTs from multiple directions.
For example, CryptoKitties has been joined by other increasingly popular games like Axie Infinity and Gods Unchained. There are the growing virtual worlds of Decentraland and Cryptovoxels, too, and marketplaces like OpenSea and Nifty Gateway. The scene looks like it’s only just beginning.