Two major barriers for NFT adoption are authenticity and user experience. A new platform out of Sweden attempts to solve both.
Mass adoption of NFTs remains low despite the surge in interest after precedent-setting sales such as Beeple’s First 5000 Days and PAK’s The Merge – selling for nearly $70 million and over $91 million respectively.
But only 7% of the U.S. population are active NFT owners, and only 25% are familiar with NFTs. Buying an NFT is a byzantine process that can take days for inexperienced users, sometimes requiring multiple calls to “that friend who knows about crypto”, or dozens of Google Searches to understand what a wallet is, what a blockchain is, and what gas fees are.
“Our team has extensive experience in lowering barriers to entry in this space. Buying an NFT should be easy. Users shouldn’t need to go through the superfluous step of buying crypto to do that“Serod Nasrat, CEO of Wintermads
On the flip side, we have NFT natives – users who are firm believers in NFTs, crypto, and Web3. They’re community-driven and often vocal about projects they consider inauthentic. To them, NFTs and Web3 are philosophical movements more than an investment.
NFT natives insist on quality, and the influx of NFTs into existing marketplaces makes it challenging to find that quality. The rise of natively created NFT marketplaces on different blockchains only adds to the confusion.
Porsche bulldozed into the NFT space with overconfidence and learned quickly that Web2 branding means nothing in Web3. The luxury brand sold only 16% of its NFT collection, and suffered enormous backlash from the Web3 community, which derided the project as a cash grab.
NFTs go far beyond an NFT’s price.
For artists, NFTs also rekindled the hope that they could regain power in a world dominated by technologies that had eroded an artist’s ability to earn a living. NFTs symbolise an opportunity for artists to shine as artists.
That idea remains strong in the NFT community, but with a lack of dedicated curation to let the cream rise, these artists might struggle to gain the recognition they deserve.
Failing to lower barriers to entry for newcomers also contributes to keeping promising artists in obscurity.
And then there’s the UX factor. New users wanting to buy an NFT must navigate a labyrinth of complexities, including passing the necessary KYC and AML checks to purchase crypto, which is only necessary because the crypto-fiat offramp is considered a currency exchange – a regulated activity.
People visiting a marketplace expect to take out their credit cards and walk away with a product. Years of UX studies aren’t going to be suddenly disproven because “blockchain is such an awesome technology.”
Swedish startup Wintermads solves both problems
Swedish startup Wintermads is on a mission to solve both problems by reducing friction during the purchase process, and providing quality collections of superlative NFTs that have been curated for specific markets.
“Our team has extensive experience in lowering barriers to entry in this space,” Serod Nasrat, CEO of Wintermads, tells NFM, “and we’re dedicated to doing that with Wintermads for both new and experienced users. Buying an NFT should be easy. Users shouldn’t need to go through the superfluous step of buying crypto to do that.”
As a result, Wintermads has implemented an ingenious solution of letting users pay directly with fiat currency for NFTs, something unheard of in other marketplaces. The closest those marketplaces come to achieving this is by letting users buy crypto – not NFTs – with a credit card. Even then, they only do this for a small number of collections.
“We also want to help the incredibly talented pool of NFT creators, and match them with the right audience,” Nasrat says. “Popular collections elsewhere aren’t necessarily popular in the Nordics, so we’ve partnered with regional agencies who know how to communicate with the Nordic audience. Our focus on regional markets is something completely overlooked by the larger NFT marketplaces.”
Every NFT on Wintermads is handpicked from hundreds of collections by an in-house veteran art seller highly familiar with the NFT space.
The company is still in early stages, but might be defining a model that all successful NFT marketplaces will eventually follow.