Love ’em or hate ’em, NFTs can survive thanks to the communities that drive them

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NFTs have suffered everything from ridicule and scams to a broad dip in demand due to the crypto winter. Sometimes it almost feels like some of the projects in the space are kept going simply on hopes and dreams. Still, the sector has persisted through the downturn, and recent momentum in crypto has investors, community members and spectators alike becoming interested in NFTs again.

Sure, NFTs get a lot of heat for all the silly apes, rocks and JPEGs that people spend millions on, but there’s a widespread belief in the industry that there’s ample value underlying the concept and the various use cases it brings.

“I think NFTs are just cultural artifacts of crypto at this point. When people have fun, it’s easier with a JPEG than just a token,” Ilja Moisejevs, co-founder and CEO of NFT marketplace Tensor, told TechCrunch+.

Most people are holding on to their NFTs regardless of their monetary value, according to Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands. Making money from NFTs validates their holders’ conviction, but Siu thinks there are more important factors driving the persistent ownership.

Similar to the reason people buy diamonds, there’s a sense of value in investing in NFTs because it makes users look good or enhances their social standing, Siu said.

“Some are basically just fraternity clubs; just people having fun with similar interests,” Moisejevs said. “It’s not a crazy idea, but NFTs make [the experience] more powerful by bonding them together. You either lose money together or make money together.”

And it seems there are more people jumping to be a part of the “make money together” group: In the past 30 days, there have been about 120,000 more NFT buyers than sellers, and sales volumes have increased 72.7% to about $1.66 billion, according to NFT aggregator CryptoSlam.

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