Collecting items requires being rigorous and setting clear goals before moving on to the purchase. This practice has existed since the dawn of time and has become a craft.
Thanks to digital scarcity made possible due to the blockchain, it is now possible to pursue digital collectibles like NFTs.
But what are NFTs Collectibles exactly?
To avoid confusion with the “NFT Art” chapter of this Academy, it is necessary to clarify that collectibles should not be categorized as art. Although it is possible to collect works of art, the use of collectibles in the NFT ecosystem is far removed from what art is.
It’s a fine line, but it does exist. To fully understand what differentiates collectibles from art, we invite you to read our two previous articles in which we dive into NFT art:
If virtual collectibles are to be separated from art, it is for a reason: NFT collectibles have been created to be used and are usually attached to a project. Even if artists have previously worked on the visual aspect of the collectibles, the purpose of their existence is not solely to be considered art.
We have seen several ways to develop projects around this segment: some have the sole purpose of serving as a collector’s item, others belong to other segments such as video games.
In 2021, shortly after the success of Bored Ape Yacht Club, LarvaLabs’ Meebits project was also sold out in less than a day. These two sales were the prelude to a trend that would last all summer: Pictures for Profile (PFP).
Pictures for Profile (PFP) are avatars that have been generated through an algorithm. The characteristics that constitute each avatar are created upstream and can take several forms:
Some of the features are rarer than others, so avatars that possess them will be more sought after. For BAYC and Meebits, the characteristics were defined randomly during the mint.
Before BAYC and Meebits, it was mostly CryptoPunks that served as Profile Pictures signifying OG status in the NFT space. Displaying these made it possible to publicly show your inherent belonging to the NFT community. But with the arrival of newcomers to the ecosystem since the 2020 lockdowns, the desire to ‘be part of an NFT community’ has broadened.
Then came the “NFT Summer” with so much PFP-type project creation that the market became flooded. We were able to see in our NFT Q3 2021 report the trend of selling, at a loss, some NFT projects such as collectibles.
Collectible card NFTs have only one purpose: to be collected. They can represent players of well-known sports, key moments in life, or historical events.
On the Wax blockchain, for example, it is possible to find IPs known as Hot Wheels or MLB. On Ethereum, the Oncurio project offers collectibles from Mars Attack, Heavy Metal, or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Badges are also collectible NFTs but have a different purpose than cards. They are usually used to reward users after completing a number of tasks. This is the case with the Microsoft Azure program that distributes NFTs to reward learning efforts on its platform. Before them, it was Gitcoin that was already doing this with Kudos.
Generally, the NFTs that can be used in video games are equipment such as weapons or armor. There are, however, some NFT use cases related to the video game environment.
The best example is the trading card game Gods Unchained, where several card qualities exist:
The quality of the map will not change anything in the gameplay during the game. This feature is primarily for collectors.
Another interesting example of use comes from the game Illuvium. It aims to be a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) using NFTs and blockchain as the center of the game. For their presale, NFTs are promotional badges and emotes to use in the game!
Another form that NFTs can take as a collector’s item is ‘skins’. The appearances of certain weapons or characters are also assets to collect. In the game Lightnite inspired by Fortnite, a marketplace allows you to exchange different appearances of weapons that can be used in the game. This is also the case for the Battle Royale-style game Blankos which has its own marketplace.
It is important to remember that “real ownership” is a notion strongly rooted in the identity of the crypto universe. Collectors like to own things as diverse as they are varied, so it’s natural to find this behavior in the NFT ecosystem as well.
Collectible NFTs, therefore, take many forms and are not just randomly generated avatars. As we saw above, they can also be video game items. But one of the major things that makes a real digital identity is the personalization of your avatar, including NFT wearables.