Crypto Tokens Go From Hype To Utility

Hypes like NFT and the metaverse are taking a beating in the markets. But the industry is seeing a shift from rapid speculation to projects based more on utility and sustainability.

These are confusing times for technology investors. Positive and negative messages alternate at a rapid pace. California venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz recently raised $4.5 billion for the ‘golden age of web3’. In that web3, users will own their own data and digital objects, thanks to blockchains that store their data on numerous computers.

One of the best known instruments are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), certificates of ownership on a blockchain. These give digital objects like art or virtual land a unique and marketable character. That’s important in the metaverse, a slowly evolving set of digital environments where we’re said to play, work, and hang out more and more.

The essence

  • Crypto tokens and metaverse stocks are under heavy pressure. NFT trading has fallen sharply. However, venture capitalists continue to herald a ‘golden age’.
  • The Web32 event in Antwerp revealed a wide variety of uses for crypto tokens.
  • In doing so, useful aspects of NFTs are often emphasized, such as financing individual artists and designers, dividing ownership, or fostering customer loyalty and building communities.

While venture capitalists are seeing mountains of gold, NFT trading is down 90 percent from its September peak. The prices of quite a few NFTs have crashed. At the same time, more than $2 billion worth of crypto tokens were still spent last month.

Things are not going well with big tech either. Meta Platforms, the company behind Facebook and, in its own way, also a defender of the metaverse, changed its stock tag from FB to META on Thursday. That can’t stop the turnout from being nearly half lower compared to the peak in 2021.

The 2000 bubble taught that investors can rip their pants off, but that doesn’t stop technological evolution.

If the metaverse and web3 are the new internet, are we experiencing a new dotcom bubble now? The 2000 bubble taught that investors can rip their pants off, but that doesn’t stop technological evolution.


That technological optimism was certainly present on Thursday in Antwerp, where the Web32 networking event was organized. This brings together professionals and those interested in web3. “We counted 369 visitors,” said co-organizer Ann Claes. She is also the co-founder of Mutani, which helps independent fashion designers take their work across the metaverse and onto the blockchain. The other co-founder, Shayli Harrison, advocated on stage for an ecological and socially responsible fashion in which the metaverse and tokens play an important role.

Photographers also see NFTs as a source of income to do their thing. Belgian-Greek photographer Johan Lolos, known on social media as lebackpacker and the driving force behind the NFTPhotographers platform, remains calm amid the slump in NFT trading. ‘Not everything in a gallery is sold during the first hour. Not rush.’

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The reality is that there is less volume and less advertising in the market.

samuel eggermont

Co-organizer Web32

“The reality is that there is less volume and less advertising in the market,” says Samuel Eggermont. He is co-organizer of the Antwerp event and co-founder of OG Studio. ‘But the real builders, the ones with a long-term vision, remain.’

The ease of use of web3 turns out to be a real site builder. Marijke Wouters of blockchain specialist Venly demonstrated the many steps a novice buyer needs to take to purchase an NFT. A company like Venly offers the possibility of drastically simplifying and securing the entire process. Its clients include the Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify.

It was also announced this week that US-based Salesforce, which offers customer relationship management software, is launching a cloud service for creating and selling NFTs. For example, consumer brands can use NFTs to give customers access to special events.

“The technology is useful for a lot of things that have nothing to do with quick speculation,” says Eggermont. “A club membership doesn’t have to sell itself or have a fancy profile picture, but useful experiences and apps can be built around it.”

For example, this year Creative Belgium (CB) awarded NFTs in addition to the traditional trophies for Belgian creative agencies. Professional performance is recorded on a blockchain. Those NFTs give access to events.

At Web32, the wide variety of token projects was particularly striking. These range from art and collectibles to socially responsible diamond trading and real estate division. As volatile as the markets are, the web3 world continues to test new applications at a rapid pace.

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