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NFTs: Hype and Applications With HitPiece, peaq, FisherBroyles, MADworld, Mighty Bear Games and 5WPR

We have the invention and evolution of technology to thank for some of humanity’s most significant advances. The invention of the aeroplane in 1903, the computer in 1937, and the internet in 1974 all completely changed how we live our everyday lives. As technology advances, how can the likes of Web3, the metaverse, blockchain and DeFi change the future of fintech?

Bringing this month’s theme on innovative technologies to a close, we finally come to our focus on non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The Fintech Times reached out to a number of industry experts and asked them ‘Is the NFTs hype over or are there wider applications yet to be realised?’.

Transforming how music artists interact with their fans

Rory Felton, co-founder and CEO of HitPiece, a music NFT platform, discussed how NFTs can continue to play a significant role – particularly in the music industry.

Rory Felton
Rory Felton, co-founder and CEO of HitPiece

“While the initial hype around NFTs have may have died down, the wider applications for NFTs and digital assets are still being realised, especially in the music industry. In fact, NFTs are transforming the way that artists interact with their fans, offering real-life and metaverse utility that wasn’t possible previously.

“For example, NFTs can unlock exclusive content, such as music, meet and greets, and collaborative experiences with artists. Fans can also earn rewards, such as merchandise, for owning an artist’s NFT. This creates a new level of engagement between artists and fans where supporters can truly own their key which unlocks a deeper connection that extends beyond the music.

“In the metaverse, NFTs allow even more creative possibilities. Virtual listening parties and experiences are becoming more common, and NFTs can be used to access these events and unlock special features within them. Imagine owning an NFT that grants you VIP access to a limited virtual meetup where you can interact with your favourite artist and other fans in a completely immersive environment.

“As the wider application of NFTs is being realised, music is at the forefront of this revolution of sovereignty and shared ownership. As the industry continues to evolve and embrace frontier technologies, we can expect to see even more exciting and innovative use cases for blockchain in the future.”

‘Space and need in this world for NFTs’

Max Thake is the co-founder at peaq, a Web3 network that offers decentralised infrastructure and tools to builders and users of decentralised applications (dApps). Thake explains which space he believes NFTs can fill.

Max Thake
Max Thake, co-founder at peaq

“NFTs aren’t dead, they’re just looking for a purpose. While the market was largely down in 2022 (which goes for many other asset classes, to be fair), talented teams kept experimenting with use cases for the technology that would push it beyond jpegs. We are past the peak of the hype triggered by the novelty of NFTs and their promise of truly decentralized ownership of unique assets, so now the focus is moving toward bringing this promise to life with more user value in mind.

“From NFT tickets to token-powered humanitarian and wildlife preservation efforts, projects are looking into real-world use cases as the drivers of NFT adoption. I think it’s a very healthy approach, and the future belongs to NFTs linked with real-world value and assets, from commodities to machines and connected devices. Let’s never forget that NFTs are, at the end of the day, just another token format. A token which enables people to verifiably own assets without corporate intermediaries. There is definitely space and need in this world for NFTs.”

‘The fundamental promise of NFTs is undeniable’

William Kraus is a partner at AmLaw 200 firm FisherBroyles LLP. Kraus specialises in digital assets, financial regulations, and litigation in the sector, having worked with crypto entities for years. Kraus explains how despite less hype around the NFT concept, the potential use cases remain as strong as ever.

William Kraus, partner at FisherBroyles LLP

“Like many cryptocurrencies, NFTs were arguably the beneficiary of a great deal of speculation and hype that has cooled over the last year. But like cryptocurrencies, the fundamental promise of NFTs is undeniable. At its core, an NFT is the practical implementation of the idea of verifiable and secure ownership of a digital file – whether it represents art, personal health records, intellectual property, or a myriad of other possible data objects.

“Bringing this concept of ownership to the digital realm via technology has the potential to be tremendously useful. There is a wide variety of applications yet to be realised, which were not even touched upon during the irruption and first hype cycle of NFTs.”

‘The NFT hype is not over, but the focus has shifted’

Robert Tran is the founder and CEO of MADworld, a Web3 platform focused on bringing anime, extreme sports, music, and streetwear fans into the World of Digital and hybrid ‘phygital’ collectables and metaverse experiences. Tran explains how NFTs need to shift a focus onto something with more utility to encourage greater adoption.

Robert Tran NFTs applications
Robert Tran, founder and CEO of MADworld

“People love to hate NFTs, but in spite of the critiques and controversies hailing digital assets as ‘dead’, NFTs are just levelling up. Successful collections like that of Game of Thrones should remind brands and creators to remain intentional when launching collections to the public.

“One of the most important callouts from last year’s learnings was an emphasis on utility. Obviously, collections connected to prominent figures, shows, and characters are more likely to perform well due to the excitable fan bases surrounding them, but in order for a collection at large to find long-term success, NFTs will need to be more than a JPEG.

“Whether it be an immersive gaming experience, access to exclusive content, involvement in giveaways, or physical merchandise, NFTs need to be more than just a collector’s item that sits in a wallet. The NFT hype is not over, but the focus has shifted to building NFTs into something more intentional, engaging and ‘phygital’ for the collector.”

‘A new paradigm for content’

Simon Davis is the co-founder and CEO of Mighty Bear Games, a mobile-first, multi-platform game developer in Southeast Asia. Davis explained how we are yet to see the potential of NFTs in regard to functionality and use cases.

Simon Davis NFTs applications
Simon Davis, co-founder and CEO of Mighty Bear Games

“What we saw in 2021 was the first big wave of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) becoming mainstream. The number of people involved was absolutely tiny, so it’s incredible that they had the impact they did on the pop culture landscape over the last couple of years.

“In terms of functionality and wider applications, we’re barely scratching the surface of what’s possible. You now have digital assets with programmability. This is a new paradigm for content within which the creator is only limited by their imagination! We’ve already seen the release of gaming titles embedded with NFTs and I’m really interested to see how builders integrate tokenisation with other innovative technologies, like artificial intelligence.

“Over the next few years, we’re going to witness huge growth in what’s possible in the space as people push the limits of the technology and discover new possibilities for distributing assets and creating compelling content.”

‘The hype is far from over’

Dara Busch, co-CEO of 5WPR, discussed her belief that there is much more to come in the NFT space and how another “wave” of hype could be on the way in the future.

Dara Busch
Dara Busch, co-CEO of 5WPR

“While it may feel like excitement around NFTs has settled, the hype is far from over. Now that we have a deeper understanding of NFTs and how they can be used, we’re seeing them integrate more seamlessly into brand strategies.

“We’ve seen many big brands and high-end fashion houses integrate NFTs into their line, and most recently, NFTs were seen on the runway of New York Fashion Week, notably at Vivienne Tam’s event.

“So, while there was an initial wave of hype, years later, NFTs have proven their staying power and industries are just tapping their applications. When we fully unlock the metaverse, expect to see another wave of interest among consumers.”


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