Company stocks and real estate will be among the many things that get turned into non-fungible tokens in the future, according to venture capitalist Bill Tai.
The tech investor told CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal on Wednesday that “it’s going to happen” and it’s “not even a question.”
Instead, it is simply a matter of when it will happen at scale, Tai said at the Crypto Finance Conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
NFTs are “one-of-a-kind” assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold over the internet. They’re designed to show that someone has ownership of a unique virtual item, such as online pictures and videos or even sports trading cards. It’s currently unclear why anyone would want to own an NFT of a stock or what they would be able to do with it.
Over the last year, the number of items being turned into NFTs has grown rapidly. Everything from the source code of the world wide web to Jack Dorsey’s first tweet has been sold as NFTs.
But some people are confused as to why these non-tangible assets are being sold for so much money. In March, South Carolina-based graphic designer Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, sold an NFT for a record $69 million at a Christie’s auction. In June, an NFT of the web’s source code sold for $5.4 million.
Data from market tracker DappRadar published Tuesday shows total NFT sales hit $25 billion in 2021 as the speculative crypto-asset boomed in popularity. Some of the world’s best-known companies including Coca-Cola and Gucci have also sold NFTs.
While some are concerned there’s an NFT bubble, Tai, who has invested in start-ups like Zoom and Scribd, said he expects more and more things to be turned into NFTs as the internet moves from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0.
“Web 1.0 was read-only,” he said. “Web 2.0 is read-write. Web 3.0 is the instantiation of a wrapper around everything that’s coming in and out of that screen so that it can move around. So it’s an internet of assets.”
“You can put land titles on there, real estate, art, drawings, anything,” he added, explaining that everything can have an address that allows people to find it through a marketplace. “It’s the most efficient way over time to assign ownership of really any asset.”
Like many other NFT advocates, Tai is also interested in cryptocurrencies. He described the latest crypto collapse that saw bitcoin’s value briefly fall to less than $40,000 on Monday as “yet another wobble” but he’s optimistic it will bounce back.
“I don’t know when it’s going to go back up, but it’s going to go back up,” he said, adding that cryptocurrencies are at the crux of institutional acceptance.
Elsewhere, Seba Bank CEO told CNBC that bitcoin’s price could nearly double to $75,000 this year as more institutional investors start to embrace it.
“Our internal valuation models indicate a price right now between $50,000 and $75,000,” said the boss of the regulated Swiss bank which has a focus on cryptocurrencies. “I’m quite confident we are going to see that level. The question is always timing.”