NFT Hype: All Hype or Mega Market Opportunity For Data Professionals?
If your busy schedule as a data professional has you a little behind the eight-ball with respect to what’s happening in the NFT scene – and how that’s likely to affect the future of your data career – then this NFT hype article is for you.
NFTs have risen to the forefront of Internet trends over the last couple of years, but are they really here to stay? The NFT hype had grown beyond niche online circles to include some big names in investing, including Mark Cuban and a slew of other celebrities. Beyond all the hype though, NFTs have some real applications that could play a major role in your data career in the years to come.
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As far as why I’m qualified to give advice on data careers and NFTs…
If you’re new around here… Hi, I’m Lillian Pierson and I’m the Founder of Data-Mania, an online boutique that’s dedicated to supporting data professionals to become world-class data leaders and entrepreneurs.
To date I’ve educated over 1.3 million learners on how to do data science.
I originally had the idea to create this blog post because of some volunteer product management work I am doing with Women In Data to help them launch their very first NFT collection. Since us data gals are already mapping out our own NFT launch plans to take the data industry by storm (and hopefully help a lot of people in the process), I thought it would be a good idea to start some pre-launch education for data professionals about what NFTs are and why they’re likely to matter to you in the near future.
In all honesty though, I couldn’t create free content like this if it weren’t for all the help I get from my team… Big shout-out to Shannon Flynn, my favorite blog contributor. This article represents a collaboration between both of us (you can find more information about her at the bottom of this page).
Before we kick-off our breakdown of what NFTs are, whether it’s all NFT hype out there, and how they’re likely to create new and incredible opportunities for you as a data professional, let me just share with you the outline for the post (in case you want to skip ahead).
The topics were about to cover:
First things first, what are NFTs and what makes them worth anything?
NFT stands for “non-fungible token”. This term simply means that an item is entirely unique and cannot be replaced with any other object. It has value because of its uniqueness. In a digital world, NFTs have a sort of digital signature that verifies they are, in fact, the one and only original digital file, creating scarcity. This distinguishes the original Nyan cat gif from any of the millions of its copies that exist online.
The value of these original digital assets is recorded on blockchain, which is the same infrastructure that gives cryptocurrencies value. This decentralized economic ledger is verified by millions of computers around the world. Individuals’ identities are protected on the blockchain using a system similar to card tokenization used on credit and debit cards.
So, when the sale of an NFT is recorded on the blockchain, everyone maintaining that ledger can view that transaction and validate that it was legitimate. As a result, the NFT is given value. Since that transaction is so transparent, NFT hype can flare up quickly. This is no different from a physical art sale where a painting is given value because a group of people decided it was unique and worthy of investment.
By the way, while we are on the topic of purchasing and owning NFTs, do you have any yourself? If so, what is your favorite collection? I’d love to get to know you a little by chatting with you in the comments below.
NFTs started off as digital pieces of artwork. However, the market is rapidly growing beyond multi-million dollar JPG files and Tweets. More people are realizing the potential of NFTs, not as artwork but as a concept, a technology. The implications for this technology are far reaching, both in terms of timeline and applications.
While NFTs are not the same as cryptocurrency, which is fungible, they are having a similar and connected effect on the finance world. Crypto and decentralized finance, or “DeFi”, have shaken up the finance world in a myriad of ways over recent years.
DeFi moves the powers and responsibilities of banks and other financial institutions into the hands of the people. NFTs are expected to play an increasingly central role in the future of the DeFi economy.
Some have suggested that, soon, NFTs will be used for:
You see, The same technology that verifies that an NFT gif is authentic and original could be applied to official documents, such as ID cards, passports, and medical information. This could help reduce opportunities for fraud and identity theft, or prevent them altogether,
Additionally, since NFTs are bought and sold on the blockchain, they add a level of transparency that’s simply not possible with centralized finance.
One of the most natural avenues for NFT hype is in entertainment, specifically video games, music, and sports. With all the NFT hype out there, adoption is already booming in these industries. For example, there is an entire NFT market for sports clips with some NFTs selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. These are quickly becoming the sports trading cards of the future.
The video game industry is expected to be a hub for NFT sales. Younger generations are already spending more on fully-digital assets and spending increasing amounts of time in fully-digital spaces. Many NFT theorists and enthusiasts expect things like unique in-game items to become NFTs. In fact, there is even a growing market for “play-to-earn” video games that use blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFTs to put game and asset ownership in gamers’ hands. So, is NFT hype all hype? I think not…
The music industry is dipping its toes in the NFT world, as well. The band Kings of Leon made history in 2021 as the first band to release an album in NFT format. The album release included a few types of NFTs, ranging from front-row tickets for life to one-of-a-kind, non-reproducible audiovisual artwork. Even concert tickets could one day become NFTs.
Just like with artwork, NFTs are enabling musicians to control and retain the value of their creations. Because of the digital nature of music today, NFTs could become a central part of what makes the music industry work.
If you like the unique perspective we share in this blog post, then you’ll probably also enjoy our other articles. I will leave a link to a few of the more popular ones below:
So, what does all of this potential mean? Experts have compared the NFT hype to the economic boom that occurred when people first began making money on the Internet in the 1990s.
Eventually, the Internet bubble popped and many internet businesses and startups crashed, despite the massive hype and investments that initially supported them. Could the same thing happen to NFTs? It depends.
NFTs were purpose-made for a digital world. In many ways, they are ahead of their time, so it remains to be seen if they will live up to their hype. The rise of technologies like the Metaverse and other VR and AR spaces will have a profound impact on the success of NFTs. If people are spending more time in VR and digital worlds, NFTs are likely to blow up.
I feel it fitting to mention that NFTs are really only one type of digital asset in the web 3.0 ecosystem. In case you don’t know what web 3.0 is, yet:
TL:DR Web 3.0 is a decentralized version of the internet you know and love today. It aims to give ownership of the Internet back to the people and remake the internet a community-controlled space.
Many of the barriers to the success of NFTs are also obstacles to the maturity of web 3.0.
The biggest of these barriers (IMHO): Prohibitive governmental policies.
Prohibitive governmental policies still have the power to come in and rain on the web 3.0 parade, but with recent policy developments in the US, it’s looking like “prohibitive governmental policies” won’t become too widespread of an issue after all. For example, did you know that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is now the world’s biggest bitcoin future platform?
That’s about as mainstream as you can get.
By the way, I’ll be doing a whole post on web 3.0 soon. I’ll notify you when it’s ready if you drop your details in the newsletter form at the bottom of this page.
Another huge obstacle to the mainstream adoption of NFTs: Sustainability.
NFTs may be digital assets but their environmental impact is monumental. Since NFTs are run through blockchain, they rely on the processing power of millions of computers which require massive amounts of energy – energy which largely comes from non-renewable sources.
Many experts are highly skeptical about whether NFTs are a valuable use of terrawatts of electricity. If the NFT market cannot move to more sustainable energy sources or cut down its power demands, sustainability concerns will prevent large-scale adoption.
Real talk, one could write an entire book on ways forward to help the NFT market reach its full potential – and I only have a small subsection of a blog post to cover it. So, let’s get down to brass tacks shall we?
The founders, team, and communities supporting many NFT projects are actively developing ways to offset the carbon footprint of their NFT minting activities. The fact is, most NFT projects are run by people who care a lot about the culture of humanity and the world around them. Case in point, Doodles.
Doodles is a community-driven collectibles project featuring art by Burnt Toast. Each Doodle allows its owner to vote for experiences and activations paid for by the Doodles Community Treasury. Doodles is currently working to implement a voluntary carbon standard to counter the destructive environmental impact by promoting carbon preserving projects (renewable energy, solar, bio-mass etc) & afforestation.
, dear data professional, spells opportunity for analytics workers like you. Let me explain…
Doodles, and well-funded projects like Doodles, are currently battling it out to become the first GREEN project on the Ethereum blockchain.
But to make that happen, guess what they need? Data insights.
The entire web 3.0 world is data-rich and insight poor. So, if you are a professional (or better yet, the owner of a data business) that’s versed in converting blockchain transaction data into meaningful, useful insights – THIS IS YOUR RIGHT PLACE AND RIGHT TIME!!
Doodles is currently underway with plans to create dashboards (READ: hire a team who will create amazing dashboards) on top of smart contracts that balance carbon credits against the negative environmental impact of minting Doodles.
And this is just one small example I pulled off one small proposal on snapshot.org. The more I look around the NFT space, and explore web 3.0 projects – the more once-in-a-lifetime opportunities I see for data professionals and business owners of data companies.
I could literally think of a dozen ways to make a million bucks by starting a new data business to serve the web 3.0 ecosystem of projects and companies – but starting a new data business isn’t what I’m here to do, so… I will leave that to you good folks.
In conclusion, there is a good bit of NFT hype mania out there. Despite that hype, there are still some extremely relevant use cases and career opportunities in the NFT space (especially for data professionals).
If I’ve got you scratching your head with all this talk on starting a data business to serve the NFT / web 3.0 industry, I invite you to watch my free masterclass on how to take your data expertise and turn it into a 6-figure business, practically overnight. This is a limited-edition masterclass, so don’t miss this chance to take it for free – before I change my mind.
Also, I’d like to encourage you to save your seat for our upcoming Story Hour, live on LinkedIn – March 9, 10 am ET, where former client, Stephen Taylor, will share the exciting story of how he sold his data consulting business to work as a CIO for Vast Bank, where he launched the first ever Crypto Bank in the United States!
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This blog post was generously contributed to Data-Mania by Shannon Flynn. Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers business, cybersecurity and IoT topics.
You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.
If you’d like to contribute to the Data-Mania blog community yourself, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.