Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk understands that some people don’t get all the hoopla around non-fungible tokens (NFT) and even some who “think I'm a snake oil salesman” for promoting them.
But buckle up, he says, like it or not, NFTs are going to be a part of everyone’s daily life sooner than many might think.
“It is the holy grail for humans, it's just that we're the fortunate humans that are here when it's being invented,” he said Tuesday at “Crypto Goes Mainstream” event put on by Yahoo Finance and Decrypt, adding that he thinks NFTs “will be the mundane in 80 years [and] used for everything.”
A non-fungible token is a unique piece of the digital world – a record of ownership of a photograph, a work of art, or a document – backed by blockchain technology, and is able to be bought and sold. Buying an NFT gives you ownership of the digital work; others can make a copy but there is only one original.
Asked during the event Tuesday to predict how NFTs will be used in the years ahead, Vaynerchuk said watch for them in “every contract, all of them,” such as when you buy a car or a home. The technology is “a smart contract that is confirmed, and accepted, and transparent.”
People have been making a case for why financial documents can exist as NFTs since the technology first emerged. Much of the focus around NFTs has centered around digital art – the most famous example to date is Beeple's NFT artwork that sold for $69.3 million at Christie's this year. But literally any document could be an NFT with blockchain able to track and verify it – like invoices and purchase orders as they're generated and then paid.
Vaynerchuk said NFTs are going to take over the world of live events. Many have noted that such a digital token could have applications as a unique pass into, say, a live event, but he says things will go much much further. “I would be stunned” if sporting events and concerts are not NFT-based in the coming years, he says, “not just QR codes and paper tickets in 15 years.”
The idea there is that people would be able to amass digital assets by attending an event and profiting when “the Zion, LeBron, whoever of the day does something spectacular.” Vaynerchuk predicts “people are going to start actually going to do things just for the NFT," hoping to benefit when something special might happen.
The sports world has already begun to profit from selling NFTs; NBA Top Shot, a joint venture between the National Basketball Association, the NBA Players Association and a company called Dapper Labs, is the most prominent example. An official NBA video of a LeBron James dunk, honoring the late Kobe Bryant, recently sold for $387,600.
What’s unclear is how, down the road, fans who happened to be in the arena on that day might benefit.
One group of regular video makers who have been able to profit from the NFT boom are viral video makers. Laina Morris, the real life “Overly Attached Girlfriend,” recently made about $411,000 from the meme she created and starred in. And the family behind the classic "Charlie Bit My Finger" video brought in about $760,999 for their video.
As NFTs become more widely understood, the larger population make them a part of daily life, according to Vaynerchuk.
Pointing to examples in Internet history, such as the concerns that the internet itself was “too complicated” early on, he said people who say the same thing about NFTs “are very bad at history."
"It may seem out of reach today," Vaynerchukl said, "but “what about in 36 months?”
Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.