At a panel on the “Future of NFTs” in SALT New York on Tuesday, speakers offered a wide range of views on the effect of the Ethereum Merge on NFTs and what the future of NFTs might look like.
The panel featured TIME President Keith Grossman, Emily Yang (aka Pplpleasr) of pleasrDAO, Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot and UnicornDAO, John Caldwell of Wave Financial and UnicornDAO, and writer and NFT trader Andrew Wang.
Caldwell doubts if the shift of Ethereum to a proof-of-stake mechanism will have any impact on the NFT market.
He said that in a post-merge world, “anything on Ethereum” would be considered “ESG-compliant” (environmental, social, and corporate governance). He believes that this is just a corporate talking point.
“I don’t know if financial institutions really care, except for this ESG rating, which they kind of have to do” he said. “But, you know, financial institutions have done great off of things that are horrible for the environment forever. I don’t think this is an exception.”
On trading Ethereum NFTs, Wang said, “I hate that this might make me look bad, but the fun I had with NFTs and the people I was meeting always made the environmental costs a kind of afterthought.”
Tolokonnikova added, “A lot of people hated me for fucking with NFTs.” She hopes that the merge will make people “hate her” a little less.
Talking about the current bear market, Caldwell said that people might “give up on” NFTs completely. He pointed out that in “18 and 19, people gave up on crypto completely, and they will give up on NFTs again.”
Wang supported his view, adding, “I don’t know if you would call this an extended bear market, [but] it’s definitely at the point where even I no longer believe in WAGMI, unfortunately.”
However, Caldwell does think that NFTs will make a comeback. He said that, “You won’t even know you’re using NFTs, but they’ll be back” during the next bull cycle.
Grossman’s prediction about the future of the NFT technology was that “slowly but surely, we’re gonna move from what’s a spec state—where people are talking about the tech—to an experience state, where people talk about, like, ‘Oh, I went to Starbucks and I got XYZ.’”
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