- Non-fungible tokens are roaring back to life after a period of cooling off and a 70% price slump.
- Jefferies, which recently hosted several panels on NFTs, shares the key opportunities in the space.
- It also names 14 stocks that have exposure to the NFT opportunity as it becomes more mainstream.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Just as investors are ready to dismiss non-fungible tokens as a stimulus-fueled bubble, NFTs are roaring back into the spotlight.
While the average prices for NFTs plunged almost 70% in early April from a February peak of around $1,400, the total sales of such digital art and collectibles have soared to more than $2 billion for the first quarter of the year, according to Nonfungible.com.
Amid growing interest in NFTs, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, said on Tuesday that it’s launching in June a marketplace that will allow investors to buy, sell, and trade NFTs.
On Wednesday, Coinbase-backed startup Alchemy, which all major NFT platforms such as Dapper Labs use to connect to ethereum, announced an $80 million series B funding round. Led by hedge fund Coatue and venture capital firm Addition, the fundraising values Alchemy at $500 million.
Even meme celebrities are cashing in on the NFT boom. Twenty-one-year-old Zoe Roth, who was the subject of a viral meme that shows her smirking while firefighters put out a house fire, has made close to half a million dollars by selling the original image of the meme as an NFT.
4 NFT takeaways
As excitement around NFTs continues to build up, the investment bank Jefferies recently hosted a series of panels that explored legal ramifications around NFT licensing and rights, marketplaces and exchanges, as well as digital showcases.
“Our single biggest takeaway is that physical ownership means something; so too will digital ownership,” analysts led by Stephanie Wissink said in a Wednesday research note about the panels. “NFTs feel very sub-culture, but could quickly become mainstream based on an ecosystem of modern technologies making access, utilization, and expression of ownership easy and friction-free.”
Wissink points out that because the value of digital assets is correlated to the community, gamers are among the first group to adopt digital assets as they interact in a closed ecosystem. The same dynamic can take place in cryptocurrency-powered NFT marketplaces where users buy, sell and swap digital assets.
Another benefit of NFTs is the recurring royalties to creators, which can be collected even on secondary sales, but it also comes with the risk of being limited to one marketplace.
“For example, if an artist creates an NFT, sells it, and that buyer sells it again, the artist could/would financially benefit from that secondary sale,” Wissink said in the note. “However, today, that recurring royalty applies only as long as the asset remains on the same marketplace/exchange. Once the NFT is transported away, the royalty chain breaks.”
NFTs also have the advantage of evolving with the trend because their embedded code or underlying smart contracts give them the flexibility to transition into new tech.
“In contrast to physical collectibles that are static in nature, NFTs are dynamic in that they can be pieces of content (music, movies, clips), they connect creator/artist to owner (a leverageable relationship), and there can be future experiences/access/social cred tied to that token,” Wissink wrote.
Interestingly, the panelists agree that the NFT “bubble will pop” at some point, she said, but they also concur that the underlying technology will survive and unlock new opportunities.
To that end, Jefferies has compiled a list of 14 stocks of companies with exposure to the NFT opportunity. Their tickers, market caps, and year-to-date returns (as of Wednesday) are listed below.
Market cap: $13.35 billion
Year-to-date returns: 3.7%
Market cap: $7.56 billion
Year-to-date returns: 25.5%
Market cap: $799.45 million
Year-to-date returns: 102.14%
4. Spin Master
Market cap: $4.179 billion
Year-to-date returns: 40.97%
Market cap: $11.96 billion
Year-to-date returns: 781.72%
6. Take Two
Market cap: $20.33 billion
Year-to-date returns: -15.2%
7. Activision Blizzard
Market cap: $73.04 billion
Year-to-date returns: -0.1%
8. Electronic Arts
Market cap: $41.37 billion
Year-to-date returns: 1.7%
Market cap: $55.87 billion
Year-to-date returns: -16.87%
10. Warner Music Group
Market cap: $19.76 billion
Year-to-date returns: 4.1%
Market cap: $91.48 billion
Year-to-date returns: 20.32%
Market cap: $861.91 billion
Year-to-date returns: 12.8%
Market cap: $41.97 billion
Year-to-date returns: 23.6%
Market cap: $1.72 trillion
Year-to-date returns: 5.8%
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