Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs
) as an asset class have exploded onto the scene in 2021 and gripped investors with prospects, transcending beyond the realms of mere tokenism
by unlocking far more value.
For artists, NFTs offer the promise of price discovery
that does not exist beyond the few renowned auction houses, while investors can cash in on their purchased NFTs anytime. This flexibility along with the immutable nature of these digital assets have catapulted NFTs to the top of the list of crypto-based assets.
In India, there is an exponentially growing interest in NFTs riding on the back of this global trend and buoyed by the slew of NFT releases by celebrities. Amongst the most notable ones are Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan
and Salman Khan, who are on the anvil of launching their collection. And cricketers
like Dinesh Karthik
who have already put up NFTs based on their match-winning moments.
With a country that counts Gen-Z and Millennials
as comprising the bulk of the crypto investor base of over 100 million investors, NFTs are bound to be lapped up with a strong fervour.
Dileep Seinberg, Founder and CEO, Thinkchain, a Crypto, NFT, and Blockchain Consulting company says NFTs are primarily released by celebrities to either cash in on legacy or by newcomers to earn a quick buck without having the fear of being accepted by the audience.
“There are some celebrities who have built around themselves a great life. They are looking to monetize on their legacy by launching their own NFTs. The others are fairly new to the industry and earlier they were dependent on some godfather or commercially driven studios and distribution network, where these artists barely received the worth of their efforts. With the advent of blockchain, it is possible to skip all the middle layers to reach an audience who can appreciate the work and reward buying their NFTs,” he says.
Despite this bullish outlook though, the near-term uncertainty surrounding crypto assets
may dampen investor sentiments considering the contradictory commentary from the likes of RBI and SEBI
. If there were to be a ban on private cryptocurrencies, as is being mulled by the RBI, it will impact the trading of NFTs and dim its otherwise bright prospects.
Mia Ekta, Founder, and lead developer, Sugarland says every time a government bans or threatens to regulate any sector, celebrities and influencers tend to sync with the public and bring people together to communicate to the government about the regulation not being acceptable.
“NFTs have proven to be lucrative and are becoming a revenue-generating resource for millions of artists who have already joined ‘the NFT stream’. Not to mention the future potential the space holds,” she says.
Aliasgar Merchant, Developer Relations Engineer at Tendermint says India has a rich cinema and artistic legacy that goes back more than a century and this creates an opportunity for NFTs to find a unique niche for themselves on a global level. Also, India being one of the fastest-growing economies in the world presents additional opportunities for NFTs.
Seinberg adds India is one of the most favourite destinations for foreign investments and has a globally renowned talent pool. “What’s most lucrative for foreign investors is the price difference at which Indian artists can produce original works. For instance, high end-VFX films like ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ are produced at a cost that is 3-4 times lesser than Hollywood. Such a huge price difference can lure foreign investors to invest money in NFTs made locally,” he says.
– Murtuza Merchant is a former journalist who works at The Transform Group and takes a keen interest in the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrencies.
(Edited by : Yashi Gupta)