Brian Nguyen calls himself a “whale”. It is a cryptocurrency term used to describe collectors of high-value non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Nguyen, his adviser to the Los Angeles-based venture his capital, said:
But lately, the 28-year-old hasn’t turned his attention to popular, off-the-shelf NFT collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks. He’s buying Reddit Collectible Avatars, his new NFT initiative for community-based social platforms.
Reddit’s NFT marketplace called Vaults is already a $10.5 million marketplace after only four months. With 2.3 million Reddit avatar owners, the number of active users on the platform is Beyond It’s on OpenSea, which claims to be the largest NFT marketplace. Reddit’s collectible avatar is a variation of his Snoo, the website’s signature mascot, designed by artists working in the platform’s comics and digital arts sub-communities. They range in price from $10 to $100, are commonly available, and can be purchased with a credit card.But Avatar sells out quickly and is priced high price in the secondary market.
Nguyen estimates he has spent over $100,000 on Reddit avatars so far, mostly through purchases on OpenSea. He’s particularly interested in his collection of Reddit avatars called Midas Touch, and he’s already bought five golden avatars for $15,000 each.
NFT gives users social power within their community
Reddit avatars are used as profile pictures for Reddit users, giving the image a glow-like effect when commenting on forums. “People don’t know who you are when you post on Reddit, but with his expensive NFT, you get more credentials,” Nguyen said. Not only does he see Avatar as a long-term investment, he calls it a “social flex”, similar to driving an expensive Ferrari or Lamborghini. And in terms of being instantly recognizable, Nguyen said an avatar’s profile picture is the equivalent of a verified blue check mark on Twitter.
Twitter verification system in progress change Under new CEO Elon Musk, social media platforms could take cues from Reddit avatars and adopt similar ones in the future, according to Andrea Baroncelli, a professor at City University of London who studies the field of cryptocurrencies and NFTs. There is a nature. “It’s a new tool and it’s very flexible. It’s great for community engagement,” he said.
Reddit chose to store NFTs on a blockchain called Polygon because of its low cost and sustainability efforts. press release“The system is easy and efficient,” says Baronchelli. “And the fact that the fees are low is very appealing.” According to Baroncelli, the use of credit cards for payment ties the abstract concept of blockchain to real, everyday use. , further simplifying the process. “Simplicity is very important,” he said.
According to Merav Ozair, a blockchain expert and professor of fintech at Rutgers Business School, a key part of Reddit’s amazing NFT success is the platform’s community. The majority of NFT and blockchain users discuss their activity on platforms such as Reddit, in addition to Telegram and Discord. “Here’s where to find them,” said Ozer. “Reddit is creating something for the community itself.”
Although Reddit isn’t as widely used as social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, Ozair said the avatar concept could eventually make its way to those platforms. January, Twitter announced NFTs could be used as profile pictures for members of the Twitter Blue subscription service Instagram launched in August test It is a “digital collectible” and allows a small number of creators to share their NFTs on the platform. “Now, after Reddit, they may have a business model of how to do that,” he says Ozair.
Despite the popularity of NFTs, Reddit refuses to use crypto terms.
Another factor in Reddit’s success is various companies promoting avatars as a way to incorporate NFTs. “This is a theme I see all over the place. Avatar creation is being talked about right now by JP Morgan, Microsoft, big fashion designers and others,” he said. February, JP Morgan became We were the first bank to enter the Metaverse, creating a lounge where people can participate as digital avatars in the blockchain-based world of Decentraland. Microsoft in October announced A “mesh avatar” for Microsoft Teams. Meeting attendees are replaced with digital versions of themselves.And in 2021, Gucci partnered Use social media app Zepeto to create a 3D avatar that can wear a Gucci outfit.
Ozair says NFT avatars are particularly useful when it comes to social media, as they can be used as a form of authentication. “It’s one of a kind, so if I own it, only I own it and no one else can pretend to be them. It has great power.”
One notable aspect of Reddit’s new initiative is the absence of the phrase “NFT” or other cryptocurrency jargon. “They chose a good path in branding,” said Arun Sundararajan, a professor at New York University who specializes in digital technologies. “Right now, there are certain complex associations in people’s minds about NFTs.” In recent months, cryptocurrencies and NFTs have been associated with him. scam and tight finances recession.
Staying away from this kind of terminology has made the process less scary for consumers, says Sundararajan. “Reddit is holding the hand of its users, and it seems like a more natural purpose in the blockchain world.” Later, user-generated websites such as WordPress and social media platforms emerged, said Sundararajan. “That success was driven in part by the fact that people didn’t want to deal with uncertain technical details.”
While it has been surprisingly difficult for users to access NFTs, Reddit has simplified the process with easy-to-understand terminology, integrated new markets into familiar platforms, and empowered consumers with the actual technology behind avatars. “I don’t think a lot of Web3 companies have learned that yet.”