Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been making their way into nearly every facet of society, leaving no stone unturned. The popularity of these digital collectibles knows no bounds and has crossed over from blockchain-native circles to traditional sectors of the economy. Everyone from gaming company GameStop to auction house Sotheby's has moved off the blockchain sidelines and emerged with their own respective NFT platforms. NFTs can take the form of art, video, or even virtual land in the metaverse, to name a few types.
Most recently, the Associated Press (AP) has found its NFT niche — digital photography — for which it plans to launch its own marketplace. Think of an NFT marketplace as eBay back in the day, where items can be bid upon or sold for a flat crypto-based price, only it's for digital collectibles. The AP's platform will capture compelling moments from around the world caught on camera. According to the announcement, starting on Jan. 31, the AP will showcase its “award-winning contemporary and historic photojournalism” in a first set.
For any collectors who have always wanted to get their hands on a digital version of one of the AP's Pulitzer-Prize winning images, now's their chance, as these photos will be included in the new agency's maiden collection. Just don't wait for a signed physical copy to arrive in the mail, as NFTs are 100% digital. The AP's set will focus on the following themes:
Among the images that will be included is one of an ash-covered home amid the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Spain's Canary Island of La Palma, depicted below.
— AP CorpComm (@AP_CorpComm) January 10, 2022
Another image, which dates back to 2006, features a Jewish settler clashing with local security officers in the Israeli outpost of Amona in the West Bank. This photo is among those that received a Pulitzer award.
Nuts and Bolts
An NFT marketplace is a platform on which users can buy, sell or trade NFTs on the blockchain. OpenSea is the current leader, and it also lets users mint their own non-fungible tokens on blockchains like Ethereum, Polygon, and Klatyn.
As for the AP's NFTs, each one will contain “a rich set of original metadata” that will reveal information about the photograph to the owner, including the “time, date, location, equipment and technical settings used for the shot,” according to the announcement. The AP is minting its NFTs on the Polygon blockchain, a protocol known for being energy efficient and Ethereum compatible.
The AP's version will support traditional and cryptocurrency payments across credit cards and digital wallets like MetaMask. Eventually, the AP will expand its support to more crypto wallets, including Fortmatic, Binance, and Coinbase. Adding to the anticipation, the AP has created a waitlist for users who want to get their hands on these digital collectibles first. The news agency is taking a page out of the book of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which is similarly launching an NFT marketplace and whose waitlist currently hovers at 2.8 million.
NFTs have been selling like hotcakes even as prices for the most popular items have soared into the six-digit range, sometimes higher. For its part, the AP says the price points on its digital tokens will vary. As a not-for-profit news cooperative, the AP's sales revenue will be directed back into their cause of journalism.
The AP Is turning to a company called Xooa, which specializes in this sort of thing with its cloud-based white-label product, to build out the NFT marketplace. If the AP is successful, it wouldn't be surprising to see other publications jump on the NFT bandwagon. The National Geographic's famous cover of Afghan girl Sharbat Gula from 1985 comes to mind.
— National Geographic Magazine (@NatGeoMag) October 4, 2013
NFT Market Landscape
The world has embraced NFTs across several different use cases. For the most part, NFTs are used as digital collectibles, with more than three-quarters of the market share, followed by art in a distant second, games, utilities, sports, and metaverses, as per NonFungible.com data.
The market has grown like wildfire, with Ethereum-based NFT sales reaching nearly $6 billion in last year's third quarter, as per NonFungible.com. For all of 2021, total NFT sales were an eye-popping $25 billion, as per DappRadar data.
The AP will be competing for the attention of collectors who have flocked to cartoon-like digital avatars created by projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, the minimum price for which is now 77 ETH (close to $250,000), and CryptoPunks, one of which just sold for $3 million, or 900 ETH.
— MoonPay (@moonpay) January 7, 2022
Whether the AP's NFTs will see those types of sales numbers remains to be seen.
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Featured Image Credit: AP