NFTs have been taking the world by storm (Wow, tell me you’re a 90s baby without telling me you’re a 90’s baby). These assets allow you access to digital experiences, exclusive content, and members-only perks — and it doesn’t stop there! NFTs are being used to authenticate luxury goods, reserve hotel rooms, and even to AirDrop warrants. But, is this truly enough for the adoption of NFTs by the masses?
The definition of mass is “a large body of people,” and the definition of adoption is “to take up and practice or use adopted a moderate tone.” So, mass adoption is having a large body of people take up and practice a particular habit. Okay, but how is that measured? By societal standards, when the average person is taking on that “practice,” that is when you have reached mass adoption. But with Web3 technology being fairly new and a bit complicated, how will this be possible?
Your first thought may be that we can utilize major brands and people of influence to increase adoption of NFTs, which is a sound conclusion. Thanks to social media, we are interacting with brands and consuming content from our favorite celebrities on a daily basis. From clothing trends all the way down to the type of exercise we do — I didn’t forget when all y’all signed up for pilates after Lori Harvey mentioned it online — major brands and the celebrities they endorse have a major effect on our daily decisions. So, it makes sense to use them as a pathway to inform the masses about NFTs and onboard the next generation. Unfortunately, they have definitely tried and ultimately failed.
You see, Web2 brands are dropping NFT projects the exact same way they have been launching projects for years, but that method doesn’t work in the Web3 space. The result? A failed project, wasted marketing dollars, and a tarnished reputation. Web2 companies are trying to hop on the NFT trend as they fear missing out on funds, but they haven’t done their proper research regarding the Web3 space. How is it possible to influence the masses to join Web3 if you don’t know much about it and/or you don’t hire people who are informed enough to conduct your Web3 projects accordingly? The answer is: IT IS NOT POSSIBLE.
In regards to celebrities and influencers, they aren’t doing any better than the Web2 brands. Some are getting hired to post about NFT projects on their social media without even understanding what the project is OR if it’s a scam. Others are being paid to be the “face” of NFT projects but have no idea what an NFT even is, and lastly, some are trying to drop NFTs on their own but don’t have the proper team to execute, so it ends up being a rug pull. Influencers see this as another brand campaign that they can just promote to collect a bag, but they don’t understand the ramifications of being affiliated with a project that ends up scamming their consumers. It diminishes the trust they have with their audience AND leaves a bad taste in the mouth of those in the Web3 community currently.
Okay, so we can’t rely on big brands and celebrities, so what’s next? Your second thought may be to focus on lowering the barrier of entry into Web3, making it accessible to all groups of people. When we say access, we mean making it as easy as possible for people to reach this new technology, a.k.a making it mobile-friendly. With that in mind, Web3 sites are now more accessible via mobile and some have even created apps. It’s not just easy access to the site that consumers need, they also need to be able to seamlessly purchase NFTs. Downloading a wallet, buying ETH, and then transferring it to your wallet can seem off-putting to the normal consumer. To combat this issue, NFT marketplaces and even certain blockchains allow you to purchase NFTs with just your email and a credit card.
So, now you can access sites directly from your phone and use your credit card to purchase, but what about transaction fees, which are also referred to as gas fees? The market is not in the best shape currently, and gas fees are so high that they may cost more than the actual NFT itself. What’s the solution? Certain blockchains allow for little to no gas fees as compared to ETH. NFT marketplaces are also doing their part in widening access to NFTs by suspending minting fees for a certain amount of time or offering a wider range of blockchains that have cheaper gas fees. But will this be enough?
My thoughts are … lowering barrier of entry is one aspect of progressing mass adoption, but what will really take it over the edge is EDUCATION. There is no way you can access the mobile-friendly site if you don’t even know what it is and how to utilize it. There is fundamental information that needs to be understood to properly grasp and navigate the Web3 space. Yet you don’t see much education happening — a lot of shelling out projects but very little who, what where, when and why. The main consumers see the promotion of NFTs but have no idea what it is and what is going on, so they deem it bad from lack of understanding and choose not to participate.
I know you are probably asking yourself, “So why is no one educating people?” Web2 companies barely understand the space themselves, so instead of dealing with the headache of educating consumers, they’d rather just market to current Web3 natives. Companies that are already in the Web3 space have an active consumer base who understands the technology, so they don’t feel the need to educate. Where does that leave the general consumer? They are left to fend for themselves when trying to figure out the complicated technology. This is why I am so bullish on creating content like this column — it’s to educate people because no one else is. If we don’t take the time to educate our community, no one will and we will be left behind. Can mass adoption of NFTs happen? YES but it will take US to make it happen.
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