NFTs will spawn the next Marvel or Disney, says Solana founder

In short

  • Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko told Decrypt that he thinks major and enduring franchise IP could emerge from the current NFT space.
  • He sees a potential evolution like that of online message boards in the 1990s, which eventually led to the rise of social media.

Could the next big entertainment franchise come out of the box? NFT market? That’s what Solana co-founder and CEO of Solana Labs, Anatoly Yakovenko believes, telling Decrypt at this week’s Mainnet conference that NFT projects could lead to significant intellectual property in decades to come.

“I think if you dream of launching the next Marvel or Disney in the next 20 years,” Yakovenko said, “it’s probably happening right now with these NFT sets.”

He described NFTs as the “dominant, breakout use case” right now for Web3 technology, and said that tokenized assets can be used as the backbone for all kinds of creations.

“The possibilities are endless,” he added, “and this is, I think, the best place to come up with a brand, or a new story, or a new lore for anything – games, movies, intellectual property, franchises, whatever you want. It’s just the beginning, but it’s really, really exciting.

Popular NFT projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunksand Axie Infinity have each generated billions of dollars in NFT transaction volume to date – and some of the most sought-after collectibles from the first two of these collections have sold for millions of dollars each.

An NFT is a blockchain token which represents ownership of a single item, including items such as profile pictures, sports and entertainment collectibles, and video game products. The market generated $25 billion in trading volume in 2021 and has continued this soaring pace through 2022, although May crypto market crash has impacted NFT’s sales and values ​​over the past several months.

While NFT projects that span hundreds or even thousands of unique profile pictures may be similar on the surface, some offer different types of commercial rights grants this could impact how holders can use their own images.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club, for example, allows each NFT holder to create and sell art and spin-off projects based on their own images. These rights have been used to create Ape branded apparel, alcohol and cannabis packaging, themed restaurantsand even virtual bands.

Meanwhile, a project like doodles retains its commercial rights with the original creators, so they build a brand in a more traditional way. On the other hand, a project like Nouns uses a “no rights reserved” or open source approach in which anyone, even people who don’t own the expensive NFTs, can use, modify and sell any of its images.

If Yakovenko’s prediction turns out to be correct, it will be interesting to see what kind of approach wins out: one in which owners (or the general public) can do whatever they want to proliferate the intellectual property, or one in which the original creators remain in charge of the project.

As co-founder of Solana, Yakovenko has a front row seat to the growing NFT market: Solana is the second largest NFT platform after Ethereumin terms of trading volume, and it has spawned valuable projects such as DeGods, okay bearsand Solana Monkey Business.

He compared the rise of NFTs to that of online forum communities in the 1990s, which spawned the social media platforms of the 2000s and the giants of today. Could an early NFT project similarly evolve into a massive franchise over the next two decades? Yakovenko believes him.

“I don’t know which direction it’s going to go, but it really feels like watching message boards in the 90s,” he said. “Like, OK, some of them will be Friendster, MySpace or Facebook, but it’s really, really hard to predict.”

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