It is the technology that dares not speak its name.
Are you looking for NFT on Reddit or Instagram? You’ll have much better luck searching for “digital collectiblesrather. Remember when blockchain was briefly sexy? The Bitcoin mining company formerly known as Riot Blockchain was recently renamed himself as riot control platforms. World Economic Forum Head of Blockchain and Digital Assets, Brynly Llyr, even suggested that the crypto space is entirely rebranding itself around “decentralized systems.”
“For a while, we definitely don’t I want to call them NFT”, said NBA All-Star Baron Davis. Its photo and video rights management platform, SLiC Images, avoids any mention of the controversial technology.
Crypto – and all its associated jargon – are now toxic words. Where just once add the word “blockchain” in your name increased the valuation of your business, now crypto, Web3, NFT and the rest of the buzzwords that conjured up images of a brave new world are, at paraphrase Charlie Munger, rat poison.
Even the word “metaverse” – which was supposed to define the ultimate evolution of the decentralized web – was hijacked by Mark Zuckerberg in a attempt rotate Facebook (with somewhat radioactive results).
Although crypto is still top of mind for “a younger generation who are distinctly wary of non-traditional investments,” the industry needs a “judicious refocus,” said Katie Baron, head of retail at Stylus. , a trend intelligence company.
“I think these terms have become somewhat toxic – especially crypto and NFTs – in part because the initial binge was touted as synonymous with a brave new ultra-democratized world in which everyone could win big. by investing or creating digital assets,” she added.
For Dickon Laws, global head of innovation services at advertising agency Ogilvy, terms like “crypto” and “Web3″ have become toxic not just because of bad actors in the space, but because of ” the terrible product-market mismatch”.
“No one has made Web3 relevant or accessible to the masses, or really spent the time trying to figure out how it solves mass market problems or improves consumers’ lives,” he said.
Laws said the crypto “gold rush” of the past few years hasn’t taken off with the masses because it has failed to address the issues that “your neighbors, family and friends , your gym buddies, the people you meet on a dog walk can understand and relate to.”
The problem was compounded by the fact that brands and companies “did not follow their usual due diligence when making investments,” Laws said, meaning they hadn’t made long-term plans to support their investment in blockchain technology. “So while many titles have been generated for the ‘world premiere’, they don’t have answers for their stakeholders on what their money has been spent on and its impact, which means growth and l Continuous investing – good after bad – is a really tricky sell.”
NFTs, in particular, when they weren’t derided as environmental risks (subsequently fixed with Ethereum proceed to proof of stake) has become associated with the most disreputable get-rich-quick scams that have plagued crypto.
National geographic abandoned his NFT plans following widespread criticism on social media, while the gaming industry has grappled with continued and consistent pushback from fans, with title publishers including Towards And STALKER 2 forced to reconsider their plans to integrate NFTs into their games.
Rename or not?
So far, the rebranding of NFTs to “digital collectibles” appears to have been successful; millions of Reddit users collected their “collectible avatars”.
“Everyone says ‘digital collectibles’ works,” said Alexandre Tsydenkov, founder of the NFT Paris conference. “Is it better branding than NFT? I don’t know.”
“Every six months people come up with a new word,” Tsydenkov added. “NFTs used to be a has-been, now it’s metaverse. But now Facebook is rebranding to Meta, so we need to change. Before trying to rebrand NFTs as something else, he argues, space crypto needs to wait until “things have calmed down, and maybe NFTs can be in the mainstream without people understanding what NFTs are.”
So should all crypto companies consider renaming themselves and avoid using potentially off-putting words in their names?
Katie Baron thinks it’s definitely worth considering: “I would advocate either contextualizing it in [your company’s] other coms, or delete it. A lot of the more compelling metaverse builders don’t include it – look at Journee or AnamXR. Blockchain in particular – naming a company based on a shared, immutable ledger is a bit unsexy! »
Yet some big names in the games industry ignore hindsight and push forward; NFT Game Blankos Block Party Recently spear on the Epic Games Store, while Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix is without apologizing on its adoption of blockchain technology, the launch Symbiogenesisan NFT game built on the Polygon blockchain, in February 2023.
Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft is doubling down on the blockchain and shows no signs of stopping. Just this week, Ubisoft NFT launched of its popular Rabbids franchise in metaverse game The sandbox. “We understand where the sentiment towards technology comes from, and we need to continue to take it into consideration every step of the way,” said Didier Genevois, blockchain technical director at Ubisoft, said Decrypt in a 2021 interview.
He described the company’s blockchain push as an experiment “intended to understand how the value proposition of decentralization can be received and embraced by our players.”
In the long run, what we call this technology won’t matter, said Martin Raymond, co-founder of futures consultancy The Future Laboratory.
“I suspect a lot of the backlash we’re seeing is just bias toward novelty,” Raymond said. “I think it happens with every innovation cycle or technology cycle; if you think about biotechnology, the first time it was a Frankenstein’s monster, the next time it’s saving the planet.
Raymond argued that the Web3 terms used do not necessarily need to be renamed. “I just think they need to be detoxified,” he says. It’s a task for advocates who use technology, journalists who write about it, and the finance and banking industry that aims to leverage technology.
Agreed laws. “Web3 is about as relevant to the average person as the term ‘HTML’,” he says. “It’s a crucial technological evolution, but do we need to know what Web3 means, like most people need to know what HTML means? »
Users do not care whether a tool is an app, dapp, NFT, smart contract or IoT system. “What interests them is the benefit it brings,” he said.