Each year, the Oxford Dictionary selects their 'word of the year'. In 2018, it was 'toxic'. In 2019, it was - understandably - 'climate change'. In 2020, the flux the world was sent into by our new viral foe, COVID-19, generated so many neologisms that the British publisher decided to refrain from selecting one.

We're willing to bet that, if they were forced to choose an early winner for 2021, it would be NFT, or non-fungible token. This term, the concept behind which we've outlaid in our first post, went from zero to trending almost overnight.

It was undoubtedly spurred by the 'bull market' the entire investing world has been experiencing since the infamous 'Black Thursday'. On that day, the stock market and cryptocurrency scene almost collapsed amidst fears that the world was on the verge of turning into a scene from 'Contagion'. Charts across all assets seen as a store of value and speculative markets have since looked very appealing.

Throughout the year, liquidity holders have been desperately looking for new investment opportunities as interest rates plummeted and inflation reared its ugly head. It was only natural that in this market-wide search for new investment strategies, people would begin to see the potential of smart contracts and envision their real-world applications.

Another phenomenon that has characterized the pandemic months has been the near-complete obliteration of livelihoods that most independent artists have been subjected to. With cinemas shut, theatres boarded up, concert venues cordoned off and art galleries off limits it's been hard to make a living with creativity. While this might have encouraged the rapid uptake of digitalization in some areas, this comes with its downfalls. Chiefly, that digital art is never as profitable (or as secure) as its physical counterpart.

These two major paradigm shifts, both in the world of investing and in the art sector came conveniently in parallel. And the result has been an explosion of quick-rate NFT tech adoption across the board.

All sorts of entertainment assets have been tokenized and distributed through decentralized, Ethereum-based ledgers.

Last month, an NFT became one of the most expensive pieces of art ever auctioned when a Beeple creation sold for $69M at a Christie's auction. To put things into perspective, the same auction house only started accepting Ethereum for payments a couple of weeks prior.

It's not just assets classically intended as 'art' that have been selling like hot cakes. NBA's Top Shots have already developed a major network of collectors, with some having hoarded up to $20M in basketball trading cards. Singer Azealia Banks and her boyfriend released an 'audio sex tape' (that in itself is... inventive) which was initially sold for $17k... and listed for over $250M that the next day. You get the point: everyone has suddenly grasped that this technology might be the key to solving the debate around originality, scarcity, and ownership which the shift to digital art has caused ever since Limewire became a household name.

What can we do, though, with these precious assets once accumulated? Everyone knows that there isn't a collection that doesn't come with trading, comparing, and sometimes even playing. EtherCards' aims to solve this issue before it even comes up.

Providing both NFT creators and marketplaces with a set of tools to gamify and bring value to their art, it will entice users to keep engaged with their art through puzzle and ticket games. Built on partnerships with major players in the space such as Chainlink, Brave, and Rarible, and featuring an impressive roster of emerging artists, it is all but guaranteed to be the next step in the journey to NFT normalization.

You still might be in time to join us for the ride as an early adopter. The EtherCards’ launch sale will continue until April 8th (or until stock lasts). We’ve also just announced a series of bonuses and free upgrades that new and existing buyers can benefit from, check them out in our official blog before you dive into our community. We’re waiting for you!