I love art. In Spring 2020 I booked a trip to Florence, Italy. I’ve always longed to see masterpieces like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, a flame-haired beauty riding a clam-shell and Michelangelo’s statue David, contemplating his impending battle against Goliath.
Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly we were locked down. All flights grounded until further notice. With no prospect of travel in the foreseeable future, it was time to find another outlet for my art obsession and the cash sitting idly in my wallet.
That’s when I discovered crypto art and immediately fell down the rabbit hole. Embarking on a spending spree, in a matter of months, I amassed over 100 NFTs and became a well-known collector in the community. It was addictive but great fun.
But I have a confession to make… my money is all gone. I now find myself in the same position as the NFT creators. In order to feed my habit, new collectors must be found to buy my art.
The NFT community is a welcoming space for collectors. The trouble is, in many ways, it’s still an underground movement. There's a lot of work to onboard traditional artists to create NFTs, but not the same initiatives to encourage new collectors. For a thriving marketplace, we can’t have one without the other.
Unlike cryptocurrency which can be traded at any time, the unique nature of non-fungible tokens makes them challenging to trade. One bitcoin is identical to another, but in the NFT marketplace, you are taking a punt on the potential success of an individual creator’s career. Therefore, it’s important to remember the first rule of buying art. ‘Only buy art you like.’ With this mindset, even if the artist does not go on to become successful, you still own a cool piece of art that has value for you.
I started thinking “What would attract new people to start collecting NFTs?” This caused me to embark on a quest, to get more collectors. I reached out to crypto influencers on Twitter who have 10s of thousands of followers, encouraging them to highlight NFT collecting to their audience.
I spoke to collectors to find out what first got them interested. In many cases, they were already into crypto, or a prominent DeFi person they were following on Twitter like Anthony Pompliano first raised their awareness. Sometimes it was as simple as seeing someone wearing a cool t-shirt with a crypto art design. I also collaborated with collectors to write a blog with tips to help onboard collectors into the space. I spoke at NFT community events in the metaverse. Everyone I spoke to was eager to know the secret of finding more collectors.
You may be asking yourself, 'What can I do to help?' Here are a few things we could all do:
Think about different price points to appeal to a variety of collectors’ budgets. #1/1 sales for well-off collectors and editions for those with a limited budget.
What is your target audience when creating an artwork? Is it offensive or sexist and if so should it be minted in a NSFW marketplace? Or is it for everyone?
We need to help drive awareness to encourage fresh collectors to buy our art on the secondary market.
Show off your collection, tell people how much you paid for pieces, how much they are now selling for, the return on investment, and market liquidity. This will attract more people to fall down the rabbit hole.
Each wave of new collectors will lead to further appreciation of the market. The current wave of collectors is tapped out and may not have more money to spend.
Make your website user-friendly with options to connect to a variety of wallet types and appeal to the wider community of crypto enthusiasts including fans of various blockchains.
Think about the diversity and balance of the art/collectibles you're featuring on your platform to cater for all collectors. Include a curated section with recommendations to help collectors find NFTs within their taste and budget.
Funding an NFT purchase in crypto is a challenge to anyone outside the crypto-sphere that new collectors just don't want to deal with. Choosing the right time to buy crypto and ensuring you have enough to stay in the bidding or to snap up a popular drop is a pain. An option to make payments 'source agnostic' e.g. using a credit card or bank transfer could be attractive to newbie collectors.
Widen your circle of friends on social media, follow people who are NOT in the NFT community. People who collect things like sports memorabilia or are into crypto, blockchain, AI, traditional art galleries, traditional investors. Like/comment on/share their posts.
Tweet about benefits of collecting. If you see a success story like someone selling an artwork for a profit on the secondary market, retweet, and tag a bunch of influencers. If any of them like the post, DM them with more info and ask for their support to share the message with their audiences. That return on investment is going to attract people to fall down the collecting rabbit hole.
It’s early days and prices are still relatively cheap. Point out that some of these creators will be famous, so investing now could pay huge profits in the future.
Remember many potential collectors may like art but have no understanding or interest in crypto. Sophisticated and big money buyers may already understand the art world in general. So to attract these people, emphasize the benefits of the space (e.g. proof of ownership and market liquidity) compared to the traditional art market.
Much like David, the NFT community is small in comparison to the Goliath that is the traditional art market. I have every confidence that by working together to spread the word to these untapped markets, we’ll turn the fledgling NFT movement into the mainstream art and collectibles world of the future.
Look beyond people already in the NFT community and sell the benefits of collecting. Imagine the perfect, easy-to-use, non-pretentious NFT art marketplace.
Share in the comments. What features you would like to see?
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