If you had asked me a year ago, I must admit that I could not have predicted such a surge for NFTs this year. NFT sales exceeded $10 billion in the third quarter and we can expect nearly $25 billion in NFT sales for 2022. Behind these figures, two strong stories shaped the year:
- The Art : The art world learned about NFTs through Beeple’s $69 million NFT auction on Christies, shattering misconceptions that digital art could not be owned or valued as traditional art. Simultaneously, the entertainment world discovered NFTs with PFPs via Cryptopunks, Bored Apes (BAYC) and countless other interesting projects that can be found on OpenSea in recent days, proving that even the average consumer has found value to own digital works and the opening of a new network allowing creators and artists to be paid for their work on the Internet.
- Gaming : The incredible success of Axie Infinity (with over one million daily active users) and the rise of play-to-earn have shaken the industry. Instead of paying for in-game items that have no real value, NFTs will empower players as they can freely trade and use their in-game items on the internet.
At Sorare, our thesis has always been that NFTs can bring people to the Web3, and that through the passion for sport. We want to build the next sports entertainment giant , helping the billions of sports fans take ownership of their game and become stakeholders rather than spectators.
As we head into 2022, I find it helpful to reflect on what lies ahead. It helps us define our roadmap and think about how to create a better sports gaming ecosystem for everyone. Here are my top predictions for what will happen in the 3 industries Sorare finds herself in: NFTs, Games, and Sports.
1) NFT to unlock experiences
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can be used to represent anything: art, game items, tickets to matches, access to social experiences. Next year we will see more NFTs in our daily lives, helping owners of these NFTs unlock physical experiences.
Currently, if you own a Bored Ape (more info in this article ), you are part of a club that can participate in certain events. On Sorare, if you have a LaLiga Ticket Edition NFT ticket, you can physically attend a LaLiga match with it. If you owned the Gerard Pique LaLiga Ticket Edition, you could attend the Clasico as a VIP, visit the stadium and discover behind the scenes. I predict that we can attend a major sporting event next year using NFTs as tickets, be it the Super Bowl, the UEFA Champions League Final or the FIFA World Cup Final.
The opportunities are endless and I expect NFTs to help create connections between the digital and physical worlds, ranging from sports with Sorare to music, concerts and many different industries. We intend to invest in this area and create NFTs that can unlock sports experiences.
2) 50% of decentralized applications will run on zk-rollups by the end of the year
Rollups aim to be a scability solution for all blockchains. With a growing number of users, scalability is one of the biggest barriers to widespread blockchain adoption. Rollups are hybrid solutions in that they move transactions off the main “layer 1” blockchain, while maintaining per-transaction data on it . It is being implemented on Ethereum first, but I expect all blockchains to start adopting the rollup technology, including Solana, Flow, Cosmos, etc.
A growing community of decentralized applications, or « dapps », are now available on rollups ( see here ), but I think 2022 will be the breakthrough year for ZK technology. This is a long-term infrastructure trend that will help bring blockchain applications to hundreds of millions of users. For more context, our lead blockchain engineer, Pierre, explained why we chose rollups and Starkware to build our infrastructure.
3) Old game studios will venture into NFTs
With the rise of crypto-related games, I expect to see a lot more action from traditional game studios in the NFT world. It could be a major game studio launching NFTs in games played by tens of millions of users, or an increase in mergers and acquisitions between game studios and Web3 games. It could also very well be more Web3 studios like Sorare investing in traditional studios to help build interoperability between games or acquire talent. My belief is that crypto-native game studios will be able to scale faster than others. If you come from a traditional game studio and are looking to build the future of gaming, join us, we have over 50 open positions.
Eventually, I think we’ll see more interest from traditional game studios in experimenting with interoperable games, integrating external IPs into their universe, and seeing if there’s a path for interconnected games that place the player at the center of the experience. It may take years, but interoperability is a worthwhile quest for gamers and developers alike. The ability to transfer earned or purchased game assets from one game to another provides players with far greater value, and for game studios, each new game use case adds value to the asset under underlying, thereby increasing the attractiveness and liquidity of the asset on the Internet.
4) NFTs will be the bricks of the metaverse
If much of our future lives are spent living in digital, virtual, interconnected worlds (the metaverse), then NFTs are a major building block of everything in this world.
With the development of centralized versus decentralized metaverses, users will realize more value from their assets. With a centralized metaverse, people will create content and games that the centralized entity behind the metaverse will own.
With a decentralized metaverse, all content and games created by people will belong to those same people. The difference will be obvious. I expect more social platforms to adopt NFTs as they move to the metaverse, which requires a functional economy that works across all platforms.
5) The rise of NFTs will help increase the fanbase of women’s sports
Women’s sports have historically been underrepresented, underappreciated and undervalued. We believe that NFTs can dramatically accelerate the development of women’s sports by providing fans with direct support for the teams and players they care about, while appealing to the wider sports and NFT communities who understand the value of these objects. collection.
On Sorare, we have been fortunate to see how leagues around the world have grown their fan base through our engaged community, while typical sports fans primarily cheer on their home team, Sorare players invest in their favorite players all over the world where they build their SO5 teams (see examples here ). We expect to see the same broadening of engagement happening here, with players getting involved in women’s sports they might have previously overlooked. At Sorare, we are committed to changing trends by investing in women’s sports and working towards the inclusion of women in the three industries in which we operate: the NFT, Gaming and Crypto space.
6) Top 10 Sports Organizations Will Develop Sophisticated NFT Strategies
2021 has seen a lot of excitement in esports about crypto and it is the fastest growing sponsorship category in esports. However, crypto and NFTs are different. And NFTs are not a market but a technology.
2022 will see this year’s enthusiasm channeled by sports organizations to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the power of NFTs in 2022, to connect with fans, add value and unlock experiences. With that understanding will come specialist hires (think Head of Digital Assets), but also a deeper understanding of the differences between different sports crypto business models, as well as which players are legit and which are unproven. .
7) Most NFTs will go to zero
Yes, 2021 has been a crazy year.
Yes, most people still think NFTs are a fad.
Yes, like any revolutionary technology such as the Internet, there is an irrational exuberance.
As we enter the possibilities offered by Web3 – the decentralized, owned and programmable web – we have seen hundreds of new projects spring up every day. But it’s important to remember that Web3 isn’t about specific NFTs, it’s about what you can do with them, whether that’s providing access, social capital, or utility.
I expect most NFTs to go to zero the same way most .com businesses have gone to zero – the hype doesn’t negate the underlying trend, and if you choose projects that are built on the long term, you will find the Amazon of .com. NFTs help you own a piece of the internet, and as our good friend Alexis Ohanian explains, the internet is a cultural machine and a community connector. Ultimately, NFTs have become part of the culture, and while not all NFTs will survive, we will absolutely see projects that will retain their value for centuries to come.
While some of these predictions may seem bold, I would say it’s not about « if », but rather « when ». If 2021 has taught us anything, it’s that the power of NFTs is being embraced even faster than even those in the industry would have imagined, and I can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store.
Sorare’s 2021 report
A wonderful evolution and the best is yet to come 🙂