In recent times, Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, have taken the world by storm. Everyone from independent creators to big brands on the planet is getting in on the action, and for good reason – NFTs are versatile enough to be used for token-gating access to music festivals, issuing limited-edition collectibles for fans, selling never-before-seen artwork, and much more. However, one interesting trend in the NFT space is that some NFT projects prefer to be called ‘Digital Collectibles’ instead of using the NFT label.
For instance, social media platform Reddit recently rolled out collectible avatars featuring its beloved mascot Snoo. Though these tokens are based on blockchain technology, are non-fungible, and have even earned millions on NFT marketplaces, Reddit prefers to call them collectable avatars rather than NFTs. Similarly, the Rolling Stones, in collaboration with OneOf, are set to launch a new NFT collection featuring never-before-seen images of the band from the 1960s to the 1990s, but they have opted to use the phrase ‘Digital Certificate of Authenticity,’ rather than ‘NFT’.
So, why do some companies and public figures choose to distance themselves from the NFT label? One reason could be that NFTs are still a controversial asset class, with endless videos and articles denouncing them as a scam, fad, or worse. Companies don’t want to be associated with something that could be seen as a cash-grab or a not-so-legitimate venture. Additionally, mainstream companies that embrace NFTs are sometimes viewed as ‘selling-out’, which is one more reason why they avoid the NFT label.
However, these efforts to sidestep the NFT branding only increase the stigma around NFTs, pushing their visibility towards the sidelines and dampening morale. One of the ways the NFT sector can respond to this naming debacle is for projects to continue boldly carrying the NFT label. The companies with more skin in the game will probably not back down and will not distance themselves from the word NFT lest they alienate their core customer base. Some, however, might see this name debacle as a chance to ‘rebrand’ the industry.
The decision to call these digital collectibles instead of NFTs ultimately comes down to stigma rather than financial viability. What companies and public figures need to realize is that by distancing themselves from the NFT label, they only increase that stigma and make it harder for NFTs to be seen as legitimate ventures.
Whether or not the NFT-but-not-NFTs naming trend endures remains to be seen, but the future of NFTs depends on several factors like recovery from the bear market and less backlash against NFTs.