January 17, 2022: According to venture capitalist Bill Tai, company stocks and real estate will be among the other things that get turned into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the future.
The tech investor told CNBC on Wednesday that “it’s going to happen” and it’s “not even a question.”
Instead, it is simply a matter of when it will happen at scale, Tai said at the Crypto Finance Conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
NFTs are the assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold on the internet. They’re designed to show that someone owns a unique virtual item, such as online pictures and videos or even sports trading cards. It’s currently not clear why anyone would want to own an NFT of a stock or what they would be able to do with it.
Over the previous year, the number of items turned into NFTs has proliferated. Everything from the world’s comprehensive web source code to Jack Dorsey’s first tweet has been sold as NFTs.
But some people are confused about why these non-tangible assets are being sold for so much money. In March, South Carolina-based graphic designer Beeple, Mike Winkelmann’s name, sold an NFT for a record $69 million at a Christie’s auction. In June, an NFT of the web’s source code sold for $5.4 million.
On Tuesday, Data from market tracker DappRadar published shows total NFT sales hit $25 billion in 2021 as the speculative crypto-asset boomed in popularity. Few of the world’s best-known companies, including Coca-Cola and Gucci, have also sold NFTs.
While few are concerned there’s an NFT bubble, Tai invested in start-ups such as Zoom and Scribd, said he expects more things to be turned into NFTs as the internet moves from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0.
“Web 1.0 was read-only,” he said. “Web 2.0 is read-write. Web 3.0 is the instantiation of a wrapper near everything that’s coming in and out of that screen so that it can move around. So it’s an internet of assets.”
“You can put land titles on there, real estate, art, drawings, anything,” he further said, which explained that everything can have an address that allows people to find it through a marketplace. “It’s the most efficient way from time to assign ownership of really any asset.”
Like many different NFT advocates, Tai is also interested in cryptocurrencies. He described the recent crypto collapse that saw bitcoin’s value briefly decrease to less than $40,000 on Monday as “yet another wobble,” but he’s optimistic it will bounce back.