At the time of publication, Brenden Rearick had (directly or indirectly) no position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, submitted to InvestorPlace.com Publication guidelines.
From cryptopunks to auto insurance, Kevin O’Leary bets on the future of NFTs
Everyone has this filing cabinet in their house. You know the one, full of the minutiae of life: insurance papers, tax returns, birth certificates. No one finds this workbook fun – and certainly no one sees it as a hotbed of investment opportunities. But what if you could put those important documents on the blockchain, eliminating the need for the closet and making its contents instantly accessible from anywhere in the world? It turns out that this technology already exists and is taking the world by storm, starting with the art market.
This technology is in non-fungible tokens (NFT).
NFTs connect the virtual and real worlds in ways previously unimaginable. They represent a far-reaching technology, and many experts believe they are an increasingly permanent part of the human experience. Shark aquarium Star Kevin O’Leary is a famous investor who intends to push the boundaries of NFTs as he believes they will play a crucial role in the digitalization of physical assets.
There are a lot of investors who support O’Leary. Moving physical assets to a secure online ledger seems like a natural step in making the connection between the human experience and the online world. However, barriers to entry are high within this new space. NFTs are prolific and successful, but they are also, more often than not, confusing to new investors.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by NFT Bored Ape?
Perhaps that’s because many investors associate NFTs most closely with Bored Ape Yacht Club or EtherRocks, collectible projects that see individual assets selling for thousands or millions of dollars. Unlike the tangible items we collect – like baseball cards, crystals, or stamps – you cannot display an EtherRock in your house.
But O’Leary says investors may miss the point. Instead, think of an NFT as you would a physical painting – you can buy a print or a copy of a painting, but there’s only one person in the world who owns the real thing. An NFT is that original; everything else is imitation.
In this way, blockchain technology fulfills the role of the auction house. A digital original is secured and authenticated on the general ledger, creating a record of ownership. It also removes old school names like Sotheby’s, giving creators and buyers more independence in the market.
What if we go further? What if we pass digital art and video games and start symbolizing real world goods? The possibilities are endless, pointing to a totally paperless world. This binder in your home is filled with things to mark and undoubtedly made verifiable on the digital ledger.
It’s a grand future for an asset class that is still in its infancy. And this transition cannot happen overnight. On the contrary, as investors we can witness the evolution of NFTs as they move from something considered new to a technology that we use in our daily lives.
So what will the NFTs look like next year? And in the next three years?
Take a journey into the future of NFTs with the “Berkshire of Blockchain”
Kevin O’Leary personally tries to create the future of NFTs he wants through his investment firm, O’Leary Ventures. In fact he said Investor place on where he thinks the NFTs are heading in an exclusive interview.
“[The NFT sector] is nascent, âhe said. âYou really want to try and find visionaries who you think have stamina. Space is not [built for] transactions of the day; you have to have a long-term vision.
That’s why he took an investment in Immutable assets, which negotiates on Canada NEO Exchange. The company, which just celebrated its public debut, is the product of Jordan Fried, a crypto influencer and one of the founding members of the Hedera Hashgraph (CCC:HBAR-USD) network. Fried’s company, presented as the “Blockchain Berkshire”, is a particularly attractive investment thanks to its various cryptographic assets which affect, among other applications, NFTs.
O’Leary believes Immutable’s fate is to push NFTs towards mainstream adoption through its ownership of the NFT.com domain. The company and O’Leary both believe the immediate next step is social interaction. Thanks to the website, Immutable will be able to take advantage of this coming trend. It will not only offer users a way to purchase NFTs, but a way to interact with others.
âWe created a concept of using an NFT as a profile login authentication,â says Fried. âIf you are a collector, you can display all the NFTs you have in your possession and proudly display that you own them. ”
The product is intended to be a kind of social feed, like an Instagram account for example. Users can display their NFTs for their peers to see. Fried also says he wants to make the platform multi-compatible, allowing users to consolidate their NFTs in one place.
O’Leary says the idea is already catching on with future clients. Although NFT.com has yet to have a public launch, O’Leary has received calls from people looking to set up accounts. This comes as DTVs continue to attract consumer interest.
But on the longer-term path of widespread adoption of asset tokenization, what role does NFT.com actually play?
Cryptopunks, meet the auto insurance papers
If blockchain-based workbook is the end goal, NFT.com is blockchain-based trophy case. It is a way for investors to act as collectors, promoting their status through the NFTs they own.
Viewing the market this way, O’Leary is hoping that virtual trophy boxes expand to include more than rare Cryptopunks or Bored Apes. Specifically, he hopes to see blockchain trophy cases begin to feature tangible collectibles.
“[For example], watches are now treated like art, âsays O’Leary. “The appreciation of the aftermarket over the past four or five years has been extraordinary.”
For O’Leary, this creates a business case for collectors to symbolize certificates of authenticity for everything from luxury watches to original physical works of art and antique jewelry. They could even move records for things like houses and yachts to a public ledger.
“If I’m going to buy a [17-year-old] Patek World Time, I can’t buy this new watch, âsays O’Leary. “Because the watch is so precious and [has] so appreciated, there is a huge market for fakes.
The prevalence of counterfeit products, besides being frustrating for buyers, also adds unwanted fees to the equation.
“If I look at a [watch] in Hong Kong, gotta fly it to New York [to have it authenticated],” he says. “[The authenticator] take it apart, look, it costs thousands of dollars. If there was an NFT that had been created from this watch to authenticate it, I wouldn’t have to do all of that.
The future of NFT could be here in the blink of an eye
This is where the intersection between the trophy box and the filing cabinet is. O’Leary not only wants a platform to show off his token watch, but he wants a way to authenticate and secure it. And while not everyone is a collector of luxury watches or jewelry, it is a testament to the long-term evolution of the NFT world.
“The same thing [goes] for physical assets like auto insurance, âsays O’Leary. âIt’s so much faster and easier to [verify this type of information] on the line than to store papers in a safe somewhere.
While the shift to a truly paperless form of record keeping will take the rest of our lives, O’Leary and Fried believe that some of their ideas may show up “in the next 36 months.” O’Leary is certain that his investment in Immutable will be crucial to this revolution as well.
O’Leary’s ideas provide valuable insight into the future of NFTs, and investors should be very excited. A blockchain-based workbook may not seem glamorous, but it risks disrupting our approach to so many elements of digital life.