EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS: Seasonal Insights on NFTs Past, Present, and Future (Part 2)

Interviews with Jordan Belfort, Brock Pierce, Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, VaynerNFT, and other leaders in the NFT space.

The whir of people and activity, bright lights and decoration, and general festive air that used to punctuate the holiday season in the now-archaic shopping malls across the U.S. now seem replaced with the hustle and bustle of more NFTs coming to market. Every week brings news surprises directly to our inbox, for those of us who are on the mailing lists for new projects.

Multi-platinum recording artist, Pia Mia, came back from her stint as one of the judges at Miami Art Week inspired to release Birth of D1AD3MA, an NFT collection on OneOf which included the early release of her new song “Whole Thing”.

Sarah McDaniel, Playboy cover girl in 2016, dropped a limited edition of NFTs last week, this time not leveraging her image as a model, and only five of the 82 pieces have been collected. The NFTs are based on a short animated film, Kerfuffle. The difference in reception between Kerfuffle and her NSFW.app drops has not escaped McDaniel who said in a statement:

“My first NFT drop sold out in seconds because it leveraged my image and notoriety in the modeling world,” McDaniel said of her NSFW.app collection on OpenSea. “But the Kerfuffle drop has artistic power. It spotlights the empty culture and false beauty standards that generate a darker side to our society.”

Perhaps McDaniel anticipated the difference in responses – if so she made a Kerfuffle with the contrast in the drops themselves. 

VaynerNFT, beyond supporting the very successful VeeFriends series, seems determined to dominate the space through sheer volume and variety of drops. This week they partnered with Coach on the launch of its first collection of NFTs featuring eight Coach Holiday animals.

VaynerNFT also released the Pepsi Mic Drop genesis NFT collection about which Gary Vayernchuk was naturally very enthusiastic:

"I love that Pepsi is embracing one of the most significant technology shifts of our lifetime. NFTs will change the culture of value creation forever; this is an exciting moment for the brand to build loyalty & bring immense value to its community & fans,” Vaynerchuk said. 

But in the hubbub of holiday shopping for the latest and shiniest new certificates of digital ownership, we return to our review of the leading minds in the NFT space and their view, with all respect to Charles Dickens, on the spirit of NFTs past, present, and future.

Jordan Belfort

Investor, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Author

Past - What brought us here?

“I posted a tweet saying 2021 is the year of the NFT. And I got some pushback from people saying, no, this is just the beginning. Next year is the year of the NFT. People are really passionate about this stuff. 

I think it has to do more with what's going on with web 3 and this push towards taking back power from centralized institutions. Web 2 is all about the big platforms like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, they organized what was this incredibly large, massive information that was web 1 and made it easy to use. But everyone that gave all the information lost power. Some people struck it rich, but most people didn't make any money. They were the contributors and content creators, but they didn’t get compensated fairly for it. 

So that I think what's really underpinning this next movement where wealth is spread to the people who actually contribute to the creation of information. And what makes that possible is  NFTs. NFTs are like your authentication of ownership of any given asset or piece of information. They allow the individual to go out and create content, put it out into the world, and use smart contracts to get compensated for little bits of information over time…  it creates this landscape where the average person can start to get paid for creating content, and that's what's behind it. 

I think it's going to very quickly evolve… you'll see many, many things tokenized – real estate, titles, and anything can really be tokenized, a great portion of the economy can be tokenized,” Belfort said.

See more: NFT Release Calendar

Present - What brought us here?

“I think that what you're seeing right now is a hyper-growth phase. When you have this first wave of adoption there is a lot of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and it's speculative hot money… And we see that often happen early on and something gets hot.
And it's because the hot money it's a lot of speculative investments… Some projects are just looking for quick cash and those will probably fall by the wayside. But I think what you're going to find is a lot of the better projects where there was something of value or some utility behind it, will continue to thrive over the long term…

I haven't launched anything myself. I've been buying NFTs and I've been approached by everybody under the sun to launch NFTs, but I want the market to get a bit more mature. And also I'm looking to do something very special,” Belfort said.


“At some point in the near future, the SEC is going to get involved in this space. They have to. I think what they're going to be looking at is how many of these NFT projects are really about the future work of people who are essentially creating… value in a decentralized community. If they are not driving forward the value of a project, then that fails the Howey Test, which is what the SEC uses when they take action against someone. 

So be very careful about getting involved in these projects that could really have the regulatory hammer come down on them in the next six months…  That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, make your own decision, I think the NFT space is going to be massive in 2022. So there's a lot of money to be made and a lot of fun to have there. Just be careful,” Belfort said.

Brock Pierce

BROCK PIERCE, Bitcoin Foundation Chairman

Past & Present

“NFT has been the theme of the year and Webster’s Dictionary acknowledged it as the 2021 ‘Word of the Year.’  It has taken a few years to get to this point – ownership of digital art as NFTs first began a few years ago – but the enthusiasm surrounding NFTs is expanding the horizons and driving innovation surrounding the ownership of unique digital assets,” Pierce said.


“Looking ahead, the market does need to have some caution and there will likely be a correction next year, in many of the NFT projects that are ‘hype’ and without real communities behind them.  

There will, however, be many new projects launched, some of which will capture the right balance of innovation, community, and utility, and will drive interaction with DAOs and metaverses,” Pierce said.

Griffin Cock Foster

Co-founder of Nifty Gateway

NFTs past: What brought us to this incredible point in NFTs in 2021?

“Looking back, the most remarkable part isn’t that NFTs grew the way they did – it’s that it took so long for something like this to come into fruition. At Nifty Gateway, we’ve seen and worked with hundreds of artists who had enormous followings, creativity, and devotion, but were denied meetings at traditional art galleries. In hindsight, it’s clear that there was tremendous demand from the public to collect their work and participate more deeply in the communities they created. Blockchain innovation was just the technological breakthrough that allowed it to happen,” Foster said.

NFTs Present - what should people be focused on right now?

“Right now, as always, it’s essential for NFT projects to focus on the long term. Those of us who have been in crypto for a while have seen many swings up and down, but as a five-year average, things look quite rosy indeed. This level of volatility is not uncommon for breakthrough new technologies. If we look back, we saw tremendous volatility when the Internet was first introduced for commercial use in the 1990s, and going back much further, we saw tremendous volatility when oil was first discovered and put to use in the Pennsylvania oil fields of the 1870s,” Foster said.

NFTs Future - is the growth sustainable?

“I predict in 2022, we will continue to see growth.  However, I will also stick to the mantra that prediction is hard, especially about the future. It’s unclear what trends will dominate in 2022, and it’s unclear what to expect, other than the unexpected. 

I believe that 10 years from now, NFT collecting and trading will be at least 100x more popular than it is today. It’s captured the art world – and that is only the first inning. We couldn't be more excited for the future,” Foster said.

Avery Akkineni

President of VaynerNFT

NFTs past: What brought us to this incredible point in NFTs in 2021?

“2021 was a watershed year for NFTs, with millions of new users flocking into the space, driven by key culture-makers and moments – particularly across art, sports, entertainment, and gaming. This year, NFTs truly entered mainstream consciousness,” Akkineni said.

NFTs Present - what should people be focused on right now?

“Successful NFT projects have a few things in common – a dedicated community, elements of utility, and unique use of NFT technology. While there is no set formula for what works, community buy-in is the most important variable to success,” Akkineni said.

NFTs Future - is the growth sustainable?

“We're still in the very, very early days of NFTs, and 2022 will bring a plethora of new NFT use cases. However, in the long-term, NFTs are here to stay, and in the short-term, we'll see an advancement of current technology, particularly as a larger number of users engage in the NFT space,” Akkineni said.

John Crain

CEO of SuperRare Labs

NFTs past: What brought us to this incredible point in NFTs in 2021?

“2021 has been an incredible year for the space and we’ve seen more than $200M in sales on SuperRare. I think this growth has been driven by the popularization of digital art and creatives who have been looking for new business models that work in a digital context. What makes NFTs so compelling is that they create an ownership layer for digital objects… When we started in 2018 it was very challenging to get folks to understand what we were doing. This year has been so validating in that the general public started to understand and embrace the implications and vast potential of this new market,” Crain said.

NFTs Present - what should people be focused on right now?

“2021 has been such an incredible boom year, there is sure to be a market correction and we’re prepared for that. Going forward, I think NFT projects need to focus on creating value and expanding the ecosystem… We’ve seen a lot of newcomers and we need new tooling and new use cases, not more of the same ideas and models being rehashed,” Crain said.

NFTs Future - is the growth sustainable?

“Overall, I don’t see things contracting in 2022…  I believe that 2022 will be a year of utility, with the goal being to create a more general user-friendly experience. I think we’re going to see better display technologies including analog and digital. We’re also looking to create an easier onboarding experience, which will open up new opportunities for users without a lot of crypto experience (so they don’t need to manage a wallet for example.)  We are also excited to see the technology continue to expand to new industries like fashion, film, and music, which really took off in 2021,” Crain said.

More Leading Voices in NFTs

There are so many use cases for NFTs, just within art and collectibles alone, that it’s hard to give the full picture with a single chorus of voices, even in a two-part article.

For example, Desiree “aka Dzikt”, artist and co-founder of Girlfrens NFT collection sees NFTs as a means to raising money and awareness for charity, specifically for those afflicted with cancer. 

“Looking at this through the lens of a charity-focused NFT project, this community piece is something that is often overlooked by newcomers but becomes the key element that draws people in and keeps them engaged… Millions are being raised for charity through NFTs, it is a completely new avenue for causes to receive funds and more are being onboarded into crypto every day through platforms like the Giving Block,” Desiree said.

But while Desiree and other non-profit NFTs we have written about see a chance to raise funds for charity, other project leaders see NFTs as just a step toward the realization of a digitally verified and decentralized metaverse.

To Ori Levi, CEO of NFTrade, 2021 might well be the year of the metaverse’s inception as much as the year of NFTs.

“2021 was the year of the metaverse, the first presence of digital life, and although we are still far from a mainstream metaverse, NFTs presented, for the first time, the ability to have status and be a member of an elite group of people online…  GameFi presents a new opportunity for the world, and the NFTs associated and usable in games and metaverses can go for significant value if they can present a fun and scalable game. ,” Levi said.

Dylan Katz, CEO of 2CrazyNFT platform, looks forward to a future more even market where digital ownership and encounters are just as valid as RL assets and experiences.

“In the future, we can hope to see NTFs in another more reasonable market that is available to the overall population, and simultaneously these NFTS will be Just authentic. Eventually, our virtual encounters will become compelling partners to certifiable encounters,” Katz said.

Anndy Lian, Chairman, Asia at BigONE Exchange concurs as to the importance of the Metaverse in the future of NFTs.

“I think NFT is the key and connector. NFT + Metaverse, NFT + Defi, NFT + SocialFI are some combinations that will do well in 2022. There are still many combinations to come. So, stay creative and innovative in 2022. I foresee 2022 as a year for stronger adoption,” Lian said.

In what very well may be a world first, Artentik, the marketplace for Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa (SCML), Portugal’s 500-year-old organization that serves as keepers of the Museum and Church of Sao Roque in Lisbon will be dropping what is believed to be a Holy Thorn from Christ’s Crown of Thorns as an NFT on December 27th. I suppose it’s not too early to begin to think about Easter – if you have that kind of foresight for the bunny day. 

*Cover image modified from J. Leech, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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