It’s been a hell of a time lately, huh? We more than dipped from $4K ETH–it was a plummet, and not the refreshing kind. Projects have faltered and manufacturers are playing catch up. We all knew volatility was a part of the game, but the last few months have felt a bit more overwhelming than usual. And while not drowning, many swimmers have metaphorically left the beaches, pools and lakes.
That said, We believe that this bear market will pay off in the long run. It provides a moment to reset. A chance for companies and projects to apply lessons learned so that when things are back on the upswing they can take advantage. There is also the hope that some of the bad actors that have sprung up will use this time to exit so that those of us who are here to build can repair the damage done.
Rosier times are sure to return but now is the time to honestly assess where we are at and how we can use it to our advantage.
Winter in the Summertime?
If we’re being honest, even the most bullish of us knew this was coming. A major cooling off period for crypto after such a large boom was inevitable. Our take? It’s good when it rains. There is plenty of room for optimism for utilities built around NFT projects but we can also acknowledge the darker side that has been exposed over the past few months.
From both projects and collectors alike we have seen the fallout of greed and mismanagement. The greed is pretty clear cut – some have come to the space to take advantage. To enrich themselves without offering value. An inescapable phenomenon to which crypto was never immune. Any huckster who has cut bait and runs to the next grift in this period will have finally added value to the space. By leaving. Yes it is causing pain now, but in the long term, we will all be better for it.
As to what has caused so many projects to falter through possible mismanagement is a bit murkier. That is to say, sure mistakes were made but that doesn’t inherently mean that greed has been the root cause. A major theme (one we’ve explored here before) is that rather than under promising and over delivering, many projects have done the opposite to their own detriment. While this may appear deceiving (and in some cases was), it is hard to say that all intent was malicious.
Many looked to the future and wanted to be the group that brought it to the present. Filled with optimism and confidence, many projects were sure they would be able to follow their roadmaps and create the world they envisioned. As is often the case, plans change. Adaptability is key in business and unfortunately many did not leave themselves a pivot point. They found themselves with an imbalance of hype versus their final deliverable. The hope is that those who operated with good intentions try again. There is still time. We’re still early.
As gloomy as it has seemed at times, we’re still here. We’re not going anywhere. We firmly believe in the community that is moved by captivating digital art. We’re not tone deaf to the value of utility but ultimately that value only exists to the holder. Displaying the work, the art is (in our humble opinion) one of the best ways to open up the conversation around NFTs and blockchains. That’s why our optimism hasn’t waned. The art has its own worth and it deserves to be celebrated.
So Many Broken Promises
The hype machine has been strong. Manufacturers have had their own troubles meeting expectations that they themselves had set. Many have dealt with ripple effects from supply chain issues that have in turn caused delays fulfilling ship dates. Consumers have borne the brunt of the lack of quality control that this hasty delivery has required. These are folks who have already forked over a significant amount of money and waited patiently for anything in return. They have placed their faith in these companies and had that faith tested.
There are two divergent paths that have brought the digital art display world to this point and we feel it important to make the distinction between them. We are not here to tatter the credibility of any of these companies, so we won’t share our individual experiences with each. Though it should be said we experienced many of the same impediments that consumers faced through delivery and set-up. We believe that it would be more fruitful to discuss the aforementioned roads that companies took to their current situations.
First, the entrepreneurs. The fearless, driven folks who saw an opportunity and latched on to it. There are companies in the space that are largely self-financed. Without major investments propping them up, they have had to race to market. This where issues are much more forgivable.
These are people who have a passion for digital art beyond making money off of ancillary products. They didn’t have the cash to burn waiting for their displays to be perfect, they had to act. They will be the first to admit that it caused problems but they were able to keep themselves afloat while learning from their mistakes. Things will get better.
Second, those with hefty VC funding. For the brands that fall into this bucket, the excuses are next to none. They had the opportunity to use the income from pre-orders on further marketing, growing their visibility. While this is absolutely what one should do when their product is ready, doing so and having the same issues as the self-funded ventures leaves one to wonder just what in the hell is going on. Is quality control a priority or an afterthought? These companies would do well to better leverage their advantage (money) before the gritty entrepreneurs boot them from the space.
Tone Down the Hype
Boy were we riding a high! BTC & ETH were setting new records, celebrities were snapping up NFTs from major projects and promoting them through their channels. It truly felt like we were never going back, didn’t it? Well, that’s hype for you. People flush with cash were able to take gambles that would overextend most average folks.
What started out feeling like a new American Dream gave way to such a stark drop off that the skeptics concluded that they were vindicated in their naysaying.
We get it. We still hold that initial enthusiasm we had when we started. But the need for more measured marketing across the NFT space is immense. We need to be better next time in setting expectations and delivering on them. Not every project is going to the moon, not every display is going to be revolutionary. The need to get noticed must come from a place of sincerity. In this next wave, projects and brands alike would be wise to avoid the shouting from the mountaintops about being the next such and such that was a hallmark of this wave.
Non-Digital Displays – for Everyone or Just HODLers?
Enough doom and gloom. A fun thing that has sprung up has been non-digital displays. Things that bring all of this captivating art IRL. It may be a bit of a nesting doll in terms of interest, where people may not have the chance to encounter a piece until they have already made their first saunter into crypto. That said, anything that helps grow the adoption of NFTs and blockchains is a great thing in our book.
FLEXY NFTS creates acrylic prints of NFTs (you can check out our review to learn more) that give the artwork a new context without damaging the integrity of the piece. Keep an eye on our Phytigals page as we take a look at a number of brands that are bringing the blockchain to life in new and exciting ways.
Get Ready for the Comeback
Sure it’s been rough. Discouraging. Almost enough to make you go back to your day job. Almost. For as difficult as it has been, there are plenty of groups still building. Still trying to make good on their word and create the worlds they intended. It is all still very much possible.The key to making it happen is introspection. Companies need to take a hard look at where they struggled and improve.
Blockchain technology is not going to replace basic tenets of growing successful businesses. It does not provide a shortcut to prosperity, despite what some may be convinced of. It’s funny in a way, how the need for trust and transparency has been highlighted around technology that is the epitome of clarity.
Things will bounce back. Blockchains will still play a massive role in how we transact and interact in the future. NFTs will still help provide a foundation on which entire ecosystems are created. Artists will still be attracted to the ability to be in control of the monetization of their work. Projects will still be willing to give their artists the freedom to create and fill in the gaps around the work. As long as we learn our lesson now, we will still be able to convince top talent that it’s worth it to take the leap.
Here’s to taking notes and a hard look in the mirror. See you in October with our next DAFCO State of Digital Canvases and NFT Displays.
Digital Art and Frame Co is the authority on digital art canvases and NFT display, providing expert reviews and analysis on the market and its relationship to IRL and web3. We are building a network of Learn-Discover-Enjoy Hotspots nationwide to share the amazing potential of blockchain technology while celebrating stunning artwork. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, some links may be affiliated with DAFCO or a Hotspot.
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