3 min read

The Next Phase for NFTs

The NFT market has cooled off significantly since this time last year. Trading volume on OpenSea has plummeted 88% from around $3 billion in September 2021 to $350 million in September 2022. Many people feel that NFTs were a crypto sideshow whose time has ended. Others like Gary Vee still are fighting for NFTs.

I’m bullish on the technology. And I think there are still some bright spots showing why this technology is so promising and essential for our future.

LaRussell Sells Out

LaRussell is a rapper from the Bay Area who has been on a steady rise for the last year or so, but recently has had many viral social videos of his high-energy, backyard performances (as seen below):

LaRussell is an independent artist without any ties to major record labels. By all accounts, he’s growing how independent artists grow – taking a grassroots approach with his backyard shows and gaining support locally before globally.

He’s found his audience. And what’s interesting is that he’s monetizing in the most independent way – through NFTs.

LaRussell sold his last album “I Hate When Life’s Going Great” as an NFT on a platform called EVEN. There are a few fascinating things about this NFT sale:

  • It was sold at a “pay what you want” price, which is a great way to capture the upside value of super-fans without pricing out the less serious fans. He also approaches tickets for shows and merch with the same pricing structure.
  • The sale featured a lottery for album royalties, giving 50 album buyers a chance to win lifetime royalties of the album, which is possible thanks to the NFT and crypto wallet.
  • There was no explicit mention of the album being an NFT, which ensured people wouldn’t get caught up in the technicalities and nerd-talk and instead focus on supporting LaRussell’s art.

The result was that he sold 1,200 albums in 24 hours, which is a huge accomplishment for an independent artist. Actually, it was such a success that LaRussell decided to give away all of the future royalties to his fans, which will likely incentivize people to participate in his next NFT album.

That last bullet point, in particular, is the critical point of this entire NFT success story.

Making NFT Sales Easy

LaRussell sold NFT albums without it feeling like an NFT sale at all. You didn’t have to connect your crypto wallet. You didn’t have to transfer any crypto funds. There was no gas fee. All of the friction that normally goes into an NFT sale wasn’t there.

He used a platform called EVEN to streamline this all.

EVEN generates a wallet on the Polygon chain for you just through your email address. You can purchase the album with a credit card because they’ve integrated with Paper.xyz on the payment processor. This made buying an NFT incredibly convenient. And I’ll bet most people didn’t even know they were buying an NFT.

Still, the album exists on the Polygain chain and utilizes the ERC-721A standard, which means owners can transfer it to their Ethereum wallets.

Not to mention, because his album buyers now have a crypto wallet, he has a direct way to communicate and reward his community. So if he wants to airdrop concert tickets or backstage passes to his fans, he can. If he wants to share his streaming royalties, then he has a wallet to send those to automatically via a smart contract.

(Another music NFT platform that specializes in fostering the relationship between musicians and their fans is Sound.xyz.)

Overall, I think this is where NFTs are (and should be) heading. They are making a transition into the background of our lives. They are entering the infrastructure level of the Internet.

In the same way that HTTPS gives us added browser security without us consciously needing to think about it, NFTs will give us the added benefit of scarcity and ownership of digital assets without any extra effort from the user.

We still have a ways to go in making NFTs easy. However, the next platforms to win in the NFT market are platforms like EVEN, which make interacting with NFTs seamless and effortless.