So.. What is an NFT?
Have you heard about NFTs? & What have we learnt after a year in NFTs and Web3?
Just over a year ago I was on yet another visit to the local park with the children, deep in the monotony of lockdown life.
The Groundhog days of Covid, the same two swings, the same hiding places for hide and seek and only a bit of spring sunshine providing welcome difference.
My brother in law turned to me; ‘have you heard about NFTs?’
Say what now?!
He went on to explain the basic concept of digital ownership authenticated on the blockchain and how a relatively unknown artist, Beeple, had sold an NFT for $69 million. Artists, musicians and creators were finding new revenue streams exploring this fascinating technology that would, so he told me, shape the next generation of the internet.
I was hooked.
Within a few months adding together some serendipity, good fortune and old-fashioned hustling, we worked together to produce our first NFT drop. A project entitled Lonely Bug.
Working with Zedd, Liam Payne, SillyGabe and Gary Vee, we incepted, project-managed and produced an art collection, with the unique utility of creator access - sold out in 24 hours.
The learning curve was steep, to say the least, but with the support of brilliant people, the amazing platform Nifty Gateway and the unbelievable creativity of the collaborators, we achieved something I will forever be proud of.
The next year can only be described as a rollercoaster ride.
Web3 is moving faster than any period of significant technological advancement seen in history - Hidden jumped on board ready to get thrown around smiling.
What exists now is a new creative frontier for our candidate community. This is an economy full of innovative, high-growth businesses, that need to better embed hiring strategies - and live up to the central values of a more inclusive online world.
NFTs are democratising access to prosperity. The metaverse is for everyone, decentralised and accessible.
The best way to learn is to throw yourself in, ask questions and try something first hand.
So we partnered on an 8-artist collaboration drop called INCLUSION. Aligned with our own values and work centred on diversity, equity and inclusion, this project was set up to support emerging artists from underrepresented communities, fund a grant and mentorship scheme, and provide an NFT education programme. The project sold out and we continue to support the development of the artists and the community.
So what has the last year taught me?
And what can I share with you to help you prepare for your own journey into Web3...
My top 5:
1. Twitter and Discord are goldmines for learning
The NFT and Web3 community lives on these platforms. And they are an open bunch.
Immersing yourself in here will quickly give you an understanding of how things work, market trends, projects and the goings on. Each NFT community and project typically has its own Discord and you can join the conversation and groups without needing to actually buy an NFT. People love sharing their knowledge and experiences.
Everyone is learning together so jump in, ask questions and enjoy getting to know people from around the world.
2. Try and buy
As mentioned earlier, the best way to learn about a new technology is by giving it a try. You may have heard about some of the crazy prices for NFTs; the Bored Apes going for millions, Jack Dorsey’s first tweet selling for $2.9 million, and so on… but there are plenty of easy entry points to owning NFTs and lots of well set up communities and artists selling very accessible work.
Nifty Gateway has an easy registration process and you can buy an art piece as an NFT using a credit card. But if you want to go all in, you will need to buy crypto on a platform like Coinbase, and set up a wallet, such as a Metamask.
3. Learn the new language.
As with the early stages of any major technological advancement, the user experience is clunky and grasping a basic understanding of what’s going on requires effort. Every piece of the web3 puzzle seems to come with complex jargon and the community itself uses acronyms galore. A seemingly simple exchange on Twitter can leave you confused and dropping into a Discord chat might feel intimidating or cause alarm.
But… the NFT community is a friendly and welcoming place, starting with GM (the daily ritual of wishing everyone a good morning), and you instantly have a host of new ‘frens’ - NFT friends. This may feel like a more tragic version of the classic Inbetweeners episode, but it allows vulnerability and empathy, hoping people can learn together. Some other useful abbreviations to know:
WAGMI- "We Are Going To Make It"
NGMI -"Not Going To Make It"
IRL - "In Real Life"
PFP - "Profile Picture"
Probably Nothing - "Probably Something"
FUD - "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt"
DYOR - "Do Your Own Research"
Rugged - a project gets abandoned
4. FOMO is real. Approach with caution.
NFTs are a gold rush right?
You just need to buy into a project and it goes to the moon?
Sadly it’s just not that easy, and as Gary Vee rightly says, ‘98% of the projects around today will go to zero’. But being in the space regularly, it can feel like everyone around you is making big gains, selling out their projects, growing their company, buying their Lambo.
Yes, this is a moment in time that won't be seen again. Like the start of the internet, or the coming of social media, NFTs and the underlying technology will change society. The fear of missing out on this opportunity to career pivot... Make a substantial amount of financial gain... Create a brand defining project can lead to reckless behaviour. Selling an NFT for a profit provides adrenaline and dopamine. It is easy to chase this high and FOMO into projects and make bad decisions. Leave yourself financially overexposed or unemployed. Never invest money in such a high risk market that you can't afford to lose. If you are a company wanting to use NFTs as part of a marketing strategy, be thoughtful, take your time and do your research.
5. Web3 is for everyone, until it isn't
There is a beautiful utopian perspective on the blockchain and Web3. That ownership is decentralised, so therefore everyone is welcomed.
Unlike Web2 where the ownership of the internet sits with the uber powerful few, the metaverse is for the people. Free of control, bias, prejudice and a truly democratised society. Some people hide their identity, not because they feel they have to, but because it’s a choice and they can.
Some businesses have a 100% distributed workforce, hiring from all cultures and languages. Anyone can mint an NFT, and the community can point to many examples of rags to riches stories.
But… I urge people to approach with caution and to be more considered. Where there is fast money for individuals and commercial business success, there is greed. Greed typically brings poor and selfish behaviour. Actions for immediate benefit, not long-term sustainability. The privileged maximise their gains, and the venture capital money pours in. Web2 practices could take over and the very essence of web3 becomes lost. We are still early and a better world can be built.
Companies must be thoughtful in their hiring strategies and investors must be responsible with their capital. Not everything needs to be about speed and I urge everyone to slow down, check their bias in their decision making and remember why this is so exciting for society in the first place.
Writing this article has been a reflection.
Taking stock of a year-long journey both personally and professionally that has moved me in directions I never thought possible.
At Hidden we create diverse hiring strategies for the creative economy, building a better working world.
Never has that mission resonated more with me than seeing the challenges facing Web3 businesses.
CEO of NFT Now, Matt Medved recently said to me, ‘There are no experts in NFTs, everyone is still learning'.
I can’t wait to see what’s next and how we can help our partners learn with us.