The NFT market has cooled off drastically over the past several months. With declining volume, major players like NFT marketplace OpenSea have been forced to lay off 20% of their workforce . With many declaring that NFTs are dead and reveling in the losses of collectors, what might the future hold for the sector? Well, if you’re serial entrepreneur Gary Vee, it might not even be digital. That’s right folks, the future of NFTs might just be physical…
Gary Vee and the Convergence of the Digital and Physical
Gary Vee is well known for his many books, podcasts, and YouTube videos on hustle culture, but lately he’s been squarely focused on the world of NFTs. His VeeFriends NFT collection hit the scene hard and has become a powerhouse brand that consistently remains at the top of both volume and value. With subsequent collections like Book Games and VeeFriends Vol. 2, Gary Vee is no stranger to NFTs and is seen by many as one of the top creators in the space. So it might shock you to hear that he thinks physical goods, of all things, might just be the future of NFTs.
To be more specific, he believes the convergence of the digital and physical is the key to brand success for up-and-coming NFT collections. Let’s listen to Gary himself explain his convictions in a discussion he had with Tyler Hobbs, the creator of Fidenza .
So what is Gary saying here? In his mind, the future involves a convergence of physical collectibles and digital NFTs. He believes that the physical good will be stored in a warehouse, protected by a company, and the digital NFT will serve as a form of certificate of ownership that allows you to digitally show that you own that actual physical piece. In this case, that digital certificate, or NFT, could represent any form of physical item ranging from ancient artifacts to Pokémon cards. The key here is that the NFT is tied to the real world value and ownership of the physical item.
In fact, we recently wrote an article about Square Enix taking the first steps toward a future very similar to this one. In the case of Square Enix, they are in the process of releasing a physical statue of Cloud Strife for the anniversary of Final Fantasy VII . The problem with the Square Enix collectible is that the physical good and the NFT are decoupled in a way that makes it less appealing for collectors. And by that, we mean someone could sell the NFT and still hold the physical item or vice versa. In Gary Vee’s concept, you would instead be required to store the physical good with a company in order to be issued the NFT.
Personally, I think this is an interesting idea and one I would love to see someone build. Keeping with the analogy of sports cards that Gary Vee uses in the video, a company like PSA that does professional grading could easily offer a service where they store and maintain the graded cards in a temperature and humidity controlled vault and issue an NFT tied to that physical collectible based on the number assigned to the grade. In that way, you can easily buy, sell, and trade physical graded cards in an instant and show them off to others because the graded card is specifically tied to the NFT—they could even show a 3D scan of the exact item itself, blemishes and all.
While no one can truly say what the future holds for NFTs, I find the idea of combining physical and digital collectibles intriguing. It adds a layer of intrinsic value to the NFT and allows collectors better access to buying and selling higher-end pieces with less risk. For those who want the physical item, you can redeem it and display it yourself. For those who are more modern, you can create a digital gallery and invite others to browse your personal collection. It’s a win-win for collectors, and I agree with Gary Vee—maybe, just maybe, the future of NFTs is actually, well…physical.
What do you think? Is tying digital and physical goods together a good idea? Would you buy an NFT that represented an actual collectible stored in a vault somewhere? Let us know your thoughts!