2021 was a watershed year for NFTs. Consumer awareness and adoption of non-fungible tokens has exploded, and over $22B of volume was transacted in 2021 compared to $100M in 2020. What was a niche corner of the internet only a year ago has now become a global phenomenon. A recent report showed that while 2.8% of American adults own an NFT, countries like Brazil, Vietnam, Thailand, and Nigeria are seeing widespread adoption, with ownership as high as 32% in the Philippines, the top-ranking country surveyed in the study.
Despite these eye-popping statistics and the growth in NFT ownership and awareness, we believe the technology is still in nascent phases of development. Projects like BAYC have demonstrated the value of creating a highly engaged community with both online and offline presence. Axie Infinity has shown the technology’s relevance in gaming. NBA Top Shot has done the same in sports. These and other exciting NFT projects, while early, show what is possible when the properties of physical ownership can be translated to digital assets. We believe the impact of digital ownership will be felt across not just art, but also broader forms of media, entertainment, real estate, and importantly, e-commerce.
The question, then, is what tools, skills, and technologies do people and companies need to be able to bring the next-generation of NFT-based applications to fruition?
Just one – RareCircles. With a simple no-code platform, RareCircles allows users to mint, monetize, and manage NFT experiences without having to cobble together a bunch of complex and technical tools. This will open up a new growth lever for brands that want to deepen consumer loyalty and engagement.
We could not be more excited to see brands start to build on the Rare Circles platform, and the new uses and applications of NFTs that will follow.
One application that we are particularly intrigued by is an NFT-based consumer loyalty program. Picture a new streetwear brand launching a loyalty program that allows its 2,000 most fervent customers to buy an NFT that gives them access to exclusive merchandise and discounts. If the brand grows in popularity, so too might the value of the NFT associated with its loyalty program. This creates an opportunity for early adopters to financially benefit from the brand’s growth in popularity by trading their NFT. In the past, tracking and verifying ownership would have been overly complex, particularly for secondary sales. With RareCircles, all brands will be able to build these types of consumer experiences.
And if there is anyone who understands the needs of brands and their consumers, it’s Ethan Song and Nick D’Urbano, the founders of RareCircles. Ethan previously founded Frank & Oak, an apparel brand that was an early pioneer of D2C retailing strategy, which he sold in 2020. Nick also comes from the world of retail, as a former VP of Spring and Head of EMEA at Victoria Secret.
Ethan and Nick are building Rare Circles into an essential enabling technology that will lower friction and increase access to the creation of new consumer experiences powered by digital ownership and NFTs. We are thrilled to be partnering with them in their Seed round of financing and beyond!