NFTs have the potential to become media companies, Rarible co-founder says

As NFTs work to retain mainstream attention, one founder predicts the digital asset sector will pivot in a new direction.

“I think NFT collections will evolve as media companies [into something] like Disney,” Alex Salnikov, co-founder and head of product at NFT marketplace Rarible, said to TechCrunch.

In recent months, major “blue-chip” NFT projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Doodles propelled their collections beyond just images and into different sectors.

In May, the Doodles NFT project announced on Twitter that the CEO and founders plan to expand its intellectual property into music, gaming and entertainment, “while deeply integrating culture into the product.”

Separately, a year after launching, BAYC shared in April that it was getting a three-part film series, produced by the third-largest crypto exchange, Coinbase, called “The Degen Trilogy.”

Even though BAYC was first minted over a year ago, people are still buying into the hype for the second-largest NFT collection by sales volume. In the week ended July 15, 99 buyers bought BAYC NFTs for a total of $13.74 million, according to NFT data aggregator CryptoSlam.

These developments are just the beginning of what’s in store for NFT expansion into becoming a mainstream brand, Salnikov said. “NFTs are IP and they will pour over games, films and various forms of entertainment that they do online. That’s the framework I use when I predict what will grow.

“I expect NFTs to appear in video chats or games or on headphones, hats, Gucci bags and Rolexes, for sure,” Salnikov said. “We’ve already seen NFTs on shows and Doodles is creating a game, Bored Ape is creating a movie. So I think we’ll see NFTs pop up in other movies and areas, too.”

Not all of the hundreds of thousands of NFT collections out there will see this development, though. Salnikov predicts it will happen for a handful of collections, mainly those that feature “strong communities.”

The idea of IP surrounding NFTs is a growing topic of conversation. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. Copyright Office are launching a joint study to investigate the digital assets’ impact on intellectual property rights. This is the first move to get NFTs on Congress’ agenda and potentially provide clarity regarding IP challenges, licensing rights and infringement, among other legal elements surrounding the digital asset class.

The NFT market’s overall sales volume has been wavering, but a number of players recently said there’s strength in the market and “great momentum.”

For example, BAYC NFTs are owned by a number of celebrities like Justin Bieber, Jimmy Fallon and Snoop Dogg (who put representations of BAYC in a recent music video with Eminem) to name a few.

“We’ve seen the Bored Apes have an extremely strong community. The owners of Bored Apes are influential in the movie and music industry; that’s why they bring this IP with them to those areas, too,” Salnikov noted.

The strength of a community gives these NFTs the potential to become media businesses, Salnikov said. “It’s all about attention.”