What are Nifties to Gaming and Why Are the Winklevii getting into Collectibles?
In fact, why should gamers care? Well, “nifties” actually refers to digital and blockchain-based collectibles like CryptoKitties, one of which was sold for $170,000 in 2018. In fact, by December 2017, players had spent nearly $7 million buying CryptoKitties, activity which at one point fuelled an Ethereum blockchain peak in activity via 3.2 million CryptoKitty transactions.
“Nifties” is also a reference to NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. These are blockchain based tokens, similar to cryptocurrencies, but an NFT is unique and cannot be replicated. An NFT is not directly interchangeable with another as each is different. Each CryptoKitty NFT represents ownership of a different and unique cat. In contrast, bitcoin is a fungible token, or cryptocurrency, you can exchange one bitcoin for another bitcoin and what you have is still one bitcoin.
Why should gamers care about crypto-tokens and NFTs?
Gamers mostly come from Millennial and Generation Z age groups; the very same age groups interested in anything digital. These age-groups were instrumental in achieving cryptocurrency’s boom and will be one of the most interested demographic groups in digital collectibles. But, not just this, NFTs and the tokenization of assets offers massive potential for gaming and esports.
In-game assets and items like skins and accessories can be tokenized and turned into NFTs and blockchain-based digital assets with their own identities. They can then be taken out of a game, stored in a digital wallet, and ported to a new game. For gamers, who spend a fortune within free-to-play games on skins and items, only to lose their investment when they move onto the next trending title, this is an attractive benefit. Games that allow this kind of porting may find market resilience long term if gamers feel they can switch to something new and switch back again.
Winklevoss twins buy a crypto startup founded by another set of twins
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss competed as rowers in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, then they climbed to fame and fortune suing Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing their ConnectU college social network idea.
The Winklevoss twins, now major investors, got into bitcoin in a big way and by April 2013 reportedly owned 1% of all bitcoin. These holdings are worth around $1 billion today. As well as their own cryptocurrency projects, including the Gemini exchange, the twins have now bought their first company.
Gemini Trust Co, owned by the “Winklevii,” has bought Nifty Gateway for an “undisclosed” sum, as per Bloomberg. The startup was founded by, also identical, twins Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster. Tyler Winklevoss told Bloomberg:
“You can’t make this stuff up, there are so many great parallels, it was just the right fit.”
Nifty Gateway allows consumers to pay for “nifties,” or NFTs, using a credit card instead of using cryptocurrencies. So far, the nifties available are from Open Sea marketplaces, Cryptokitties, and Gods Unchained games. But eventually this may be expanded to include almost any asset turned into an NFT, that could be tokenized or used to represent fractional ownership of art and property. As well as NFTs for physical collectibles like comics and toys and other digital collectibles like digital art.
The Winklevoss Twins believe the market for nifties will become as large as the collectibles, art, and gaming markets combined. The video games market alone is expected to be worth over $150 billion in 2019. Tyler Winkevoss says:
“We believe in this future where all your assets will be on a blockchain and you may want to buy, sell and store them, and Nifty fits that vision.”