From obscurity, these digital assets have emerged in recent months as a headline-grabbing and lucrative market for wealthy collectors after auction house Christie’s sold a digital artwork by South Carolina artist Beeple as an NFT for $US69.3 million.
Like their cryptocurrency cousins, NFTs have been hyped up by influencers like Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, whose partner, musician and artist Grimes, has sold digital artworks worth $US6 million as tokens.
In Australia, the trend has come to the attention of cashed up Millennial and Generation Z investors after popular recording artist and DJ Flume sold an NFT linked to 90 seconds of his music for $66,000.
‘Tip of the iceberg’
But the US National Basketball Association (NBA) has perhaps been the most prominent adopter, with $US230 million spent on digital videos and collectables in a modern incarnation of the physical basketball cards so popular with youths in the 1990s.
As the nascent market starts to mature, Mr Ng has begun to view NFTs as more than a piece of new-age sports memorabilia. Instead, he increasingly considers his collection a serious investment benefiting from one of the age-old fundamentals of value creation: scarcity.
“The fact that they are only released in limited numbers and varying rarities is what gives them inherent value,” Mr Ng said.
“I believe that the demand will eventually heavily outweigh the supply. If a player you own starts becoming widely popular, the price for them will be driven up, and monetising the investment will simply involve selling it on a marketplace to the highest bidder.”
Caroline Bowler, chief executive of Australian cryptocurrency exchange platform BTC Markets, said there is growing appetite for NFTs and some sound logic to those experimenting with this new market.
“The opportunity is in enjoying the same benefits of ownership over our digital assets, as in our physical lives,” Ms Bowler said. “The value isn’t in the NFT per se. It is in the ownership of an original, unique piece of content be it digital art, video, audio, fashion. The NFT authenticates its origins & ownership.”
She described the market as the “tip of the iceberg” for mainstream adoption of blockchain technologies and is exploring the idea of adding NFTs to the BTC Markets platform.
Nonetheless, Mr Ng is, perhaps wisely, considering monetisation of his fandom NFTs as a bonus, instead anchoring his portfolio is more traditional shares, exchange traded funds and property.
But he has dabbled also with cryptocurrencies, describing the digital assets as a real financial innovation and no short-term fad.
“There is vast opportunity for investors if they are looking in the right places.”
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