Is NFT Worlds Making a Comeback?
I wrote about NFT Worlds and $WRLD in March last year and was bearish about its prospects. Specifically, I discussed the risk of Minecraft's banning of NFT Worlds, which unfortunately happened in July 2022. As a result, NFT World's floor price tanked to 0.5 $ETH and had not recovered until last week, when it climbed from 0.5 $ETH to 2 $ETH.
So what were the reasons for the pump? What is team building behind the scenes? And is NFT Worlds making a comeback?
First of all, props to the NFT Worlds team for not rugging after the Minecraft ban. Instead, they continued to build, and there have been signs of early success. I am very impressed.
NFT Worlds will release its own game. The team has also developed MetaFab, which helps game developers to integrate blockchain/crypto into their games.
The NFT Worlds team discussed these two ideas immediately following the Minecraft ban, and they are turning these ideas into reality.
The recent pump in NFT Worlds is mainly due to the series of good news from MetaFab.
The project announced collaborations with Fantom, Arbitrum, and Treasure DAO. RTFKT (Clone X) CTO hopped on board as an advisor. And game developers' early reviews of MetaFab have been generally positive.
MetaFab is a suite of developer services for people building games or gamified applications. They can use MetaFab to enable in-game currencies, digital collectibles (NFTs), etc., while the game operates and feels the same as a non-crypto game. MetaFab handles all the blockchain-related features on the back end.
For example, players still log in with a username/password combination in a MetaFab-powered game, but MetaFab creates and manages custodial wallets for them on the back end. The players need not worry about seed phrases, gas fees, etc. while enjoying benefits like retaining digital ownership of their in-game characters and items, whose records are stored on a public blockchain instead of a centralized server. Games pay for the gas fees, similar to how web2 games pay for server costs.
However, such gas fees could add up quickly and outweigh web2 server costs because using blockchains is still expensive. New solutions like Arbitrum Nova are emerging to reduce gas fees to a minimal amount so that on-chain gaming does not cost $100 per hour. But whether they work as intended remains to be seen. If these underlying infrastructures cannot be improved, then MetaFab's use cases will be limited.
MetaFab provides a frictionless onboarding experience for both developers and gamers. Traditional game developers can take advantage of blockchains without learning to write smart contracts. Players can enjoy a crypto game without dealing with the complexities of managing wallets and executing transactions. MetaFab could become the critical piece of infrastructure that leads crypto to mass adoption.
The relationship between MetaFab and NFT Worlds is that MetaFab is like a game engine, while NFT Worlds is like a game built on top of that engine. Fortnite and Unreal Engine are the web2 analogy. Epic Games developed both. While Fortnite is an insanely successful game built on the Unreal Engine, many other third-party developers use the Unreal Engine to create their own games.
In addition to progress made by MetaFab, NFT Worlds have short to medium-term catalysts that may trigger a run independent of macro sentiments.
NFT Worlds will release its own game. According to official leaks, it will be similar to Minecraft but with improved developer experience. It is also free.
It's easy to fade NFT Worlds' new game now. Competing with Minecraft seems like an impossible mission, even for Tom Cruise. But remember that Minecraft was one man's work at the very beginning.
I would be more bullish if NFT Worlds were not building a better Minecraft. I agree with Chris Dixon that doing brand new things is much better than doing old things better. Adding crypto features into a Minecraft-like game is unlikely to lure Minecraft players away from the original game.
The team has yet to announce the exact timing of the game release. In the meantime, NFT Worlds plans to rebrand itself with a new name and updated documentation and will airdrop more loot boxes to holders.
Most of the NFT Worlds are staked. Very few are listed for sale. Right now, 1% of the collection is listed, and the floor is 1.5 $ETH. We are only 20 sales away from a 2 $ETH floor. Therefore, we could see rapid jumps in the floor price when milestones are achieved.
There were at least 50 metaverse-themed NFT collections, but Otherdeed, Sandbox, Decentraland, and NFT Worlds are the only ones remaining with meaningful volume. While NFT Worlds may never be as good as Minecraft, bettering Sandbox is enough to trigger a 10x.
NFT Worlds Genesis Avatars (0.08 $ETH floor) provides a more affordable entry into NFT Worlds. The whitelist mint price was 0.4 $ETH in May 2022. However, it must be pointed out that NFT Worlds introduced the Genesis Avatars despite having released the Gray Boys collection, which was widely regarded as the official secondary collection to NFT Worlds.
However, $WRLD is tiny compared to the other three behemoths in the metaverse/digital land sector, all of which have market caps larger than one billion dollars. The potential is enormous.
The rather significant percentage of locked $WRLD tokens is concerning, which poses sell pressure one cannot ignore.
Yuga Labs has shown that designing effective sinks for $APE is possible through purchasable boosts in Dookey Dash. Although use cases for $WRLD are limited, the future is bright. The play-to-earn model works if a segment of the player base is earning to play.
NFT Worlds still occupies huge mind space. 3.2k people tuned in to their Twitter space on July 27, 2022. Half a year later, 2.3k people tuned in to their Twitter space last week. NFT Worlds was a free mint. Whoever has been with the project since the beginning is still around to shill it as much as possible.
It is impossible to predict whether MetaFab and NFT Worlds will be a long-term success. But a project usually does not need to deliver actual working products to pump. Marketing narratives based on a few attractive selling points are enough. NFT Worlds (MetaFab) has those near-term catalysts, as discussed above.
The team has consistently shown that they deliver results. And they are active day in and day out on Twitter and in Discord, which is great for marketing the project among crypto-native degens.
Finally, everyone loves a comeback story.