- The NFT market initiated garnering the grandest attention on the news of Beeple selling his “Everydays: The first 5000 days” to an Indian-origin entrepreneur–Metakovan–for a whopping $69 million.
- Many are rooting for the NFTs to be the ‘giga-indulge-in’ factor for artists and collectors. While the former realizes the transparent and democratizing royalties and direct link with the community, the latter enjoys the essence of directly supporting the artists through minting/buying their artwork without the fuss of media intermediaries.
India gets acquainted with NFTs
- In 2018, India accounted for just 1% of world imports in art, compared with China’s share of 9%. Instead of this fact, India’s annual auction revenue in India grew by 29% in 2018.
- With Mumbai being India’s auction capital following the West’s two significant vendors—Christie’s and Sotheby’s, both chose this city to develop sales in the country and cater to India’s growing art market. Yet, despite the city of dreams being auction capital, many major art collectors seem to be from Delhi and Calcutta.
- NFTs started making noise in India in Q1 of 2021 with a variety of artists specializing in 3D, VFX, music and Film production, illustrative art; all barging in the city of digital art to gauge artistic possibilities with NFTs.
- Even Celebrities from Bollywood and Cricket gravitated towards Crypto & NFTs, with Amitabh Bachhan, Salman Khan (crypto), Sunil Gavaskar, and many others launching their projects in the space.
- With WazirX launching its NFT marketplace in June of 2021, digital artists zoomed into the space, with early ones to start going on to become India’s first verified digital artists. Over 1300 artists and 20,000 more are currently waiting to onboard to the marketplace.
- Through hosting a series of interviews with verified Artists on WazirX NFT Marketplace, and a community manager, interesting first-hand insights were gained about their NFT experience in 2021 to orchestrate a lookout of Indian space.
- The series of interviews featured, as mentioned above, artists and community manager—Frescoarts (Dev Majmudar), busibeast (Yash Gawda), Orangeintentions duo (Virti Jain & Ninad Lokhandkar) & Nikita Khatri (Community manager at Plutoverse.xyz). The collective insights gained were:
- Since the launch of WazirX NFT Marketplace, the first ones to start selling their art have immensely enjoyed the fruit of networking within the artistic community and get verified eventually.
- Launching out on WazirX, artists gained good traction in getting ‘found’ amid high gas fees and competition as found on OpenSea.
- On average, verified artists had the most responsive sales under the ticket size of $15-$50.
- Historically, Indians have not been collectors in particular or open to making art as an asset class. NFTs in India can only game up on a large scale if a utility is attached.
- For a small percentage of the collector community, high liquidity NFTs, with PFP (photo for profile) art and photos came out as the best performing categories.
- Since the Polygon integration with OpenSea in October of ‘21, many Indian NFT artists have either migrated selling their work or turned into full-time collectors on OpenSea for greater exposure, with no collectors and below-average selling price NFTs the least of the problems, unlike India.
- Entering the NFT markets has high technological complexity, fund conversion into crypto and transfer into wallets, and seemed to be a bigger hindrance in less participation in the NFT game field.
- There is a need for continuous education to build upon the awareness levels around NFTs in India by removing maximum barriers as possible to increase the sign-up ratio.
What followed the pandemic led to a massive increase in the gaming market in India. With a record 450 million gamers, the growth clocked 170% between 2020 and 2021. With collectors and creators experimenting with in-game NFTs, India is poised to respond well to the hype created by such games, which might be highly positive on account of sign-ups and indulgent behavior, delivering a potential product-market fit for NFTs in India.