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The Rise of Consumer Crypto

Although non-fungible tokens are often misunderstood and even derided, they remain a general and flexible solution for establishing and tracking ownership in the digital domain. As a superior solution to existing technology in many areas of the consumer economy, their widespread adoption is all but inevitable.

CAMBRIDGE – Since its inception with the launch of Bitcoin in 2008, blockchain technology has gone through numerous cycles of public attention. Over time, growing interest and investment in the best-known cryptocurrencies has led to greater acceptance, as highlighted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) in January. While blockchains and their associated “crypto” assets have yet to be adopted by a truly broad base of consumers, that is starting to change, owing to a shift in how these technologies are being used.

Contrary to what mainstream media coverage often suggests, for many people, the value of these innovations lies not so much in cryptocurrencies as in blockchain-based digital goods such as virtual sneakers, gaming assets, and membership passes – all managed by way of non-fungible tokens. As we explain in our new book, The Everything Token, NFTs – often misunderstood and even derided – are a general and flexible solution for establishing and tracking ownership across all manner of digital assets. (We both personally hold NFTs and other digital assets and advise companies with interests in this sector.)

NFTs are already being used in a wide range of contexts – from course credentials to coffee rewards – and they are poised to reshape the management of everything from concert tickets to health-care data. Since these are business contexts that affect consumers’ everyday experiences, NFTs may start to drive widespread consumer adoption on a scale that previous crypto applications have not.