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India is home to a record 11 NFT companies, but few know or care yet

Interest in non-fungible tokens (NFT) is gathering pace in India but slower than elsewhere in the world. An NFT is a digital asset that is written in computer code and recorded on a blockchain ledger. It can be used to prove ownership and authenticity of an asset, either physical or digital, as explained in a recent report by Esya Centre. 

New research from NFT Club, a resource platform focused on the technology, shows that India hosts 11 NFT companies, which is the third highest globally. (The US has the largest number — 91 — of NFT companies, including five of the 10 highest funded globally.)

Indian film actors including Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Rajnikanth have launched their NFTs, as have cricketers such as Rohit Sharma. NFTs give their fans a chance to own an authentic piece of their art and legacy.

However, the technology does not command a wide following yet. “Despite being home to one of the highest numbers of NFT companies, India came out bottom in terms of interest, with just 254 searches per 100,000 population,” the report said.  

Taiwan, Australia and Canada are among the countries where people are most interested in NFTs. 

Taiwan had 9,629 NFT-related searches per 100,000 people over the past year, while Australia had 8,198. 

Lack of awareness

Experts say there is still some confusion over the exact purpose of an NFT.   

“Despite some very loud enthusiasm from groups of tech and art enthusiasts, NFTs are still met with confusion by a considerable number of people. This hesitancy is only natural, as it is difficult to become excited by something if you’re not entirely sure what it is,” the research noted. 

In India, there are also questions over the 30 per cent tax on virtual digital assets, which would include NFTs, and how it will impact consumer sentiment. 

However, industry players believe that the NFT market in India is growing and there is more awareness about it among customers. 

Younger enthusiasts

“The trend for trading in NFTs is slowly picking up. People in India are seeing what’s happening in the US. The younger generation — 18 to 30 years old — are very interested in NFTs,” said Ramkumar Subramaniam, CEO of GuardianLink, an NFT technology enablement company. 

The company has over one lakh active trading wallets, of which about 60 per cent is from India, he said. 

While the NFT market has largely been led by artists, celebrities and sportstars, the trend for game and utility NFTs is catching on. 

According to Subramaniam, art and collectible-based NFTs constituted about 40 per cent of the market last year while games and utility NFTs was 60 per cent. This year, games and utility NFTs are likely to make up 70-80 per cent of the market. 

Globally, the NFT trend is picking up and the term was even chosen ‘word of the year’ in 2021 by Collins Dictionary. 

According to the DappRadar 2021 report, the NFT space experienced one of the most impressive expansions overall, amassing over $23 billion in trades during the year. The floor market cap for the top 100 NFT collections was at $16.7 billion. 

Published on

June 03, 2022

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