NFT avatars are more than just digital art. They are unique assets with intrinsic value and a large collectibility factor on the secondary market. But that's not the only reason they're popular:
A Sense of Community
Creating a sense of community is one important reason for the success of NFTs. An NFT avatar is also a ticket to access an exclusive community. For example, a Bored Ape NFT grants access to the Bored Ape Yacht Club Discord channel and a series of perks and exclusive benefits. It's also an indication of membership to an exclusive club. Many NFT avatar projects build community chats on social media, thus further enhancing the group feeling and the asset's reach and value. NFT collectors who own an NFT avatar are proud of this ownership, often displaying them as Twitter avatars.
NFT avatar projects can also reflect the values the owner stands for. For example, the World of Women collection is driven by unique ownership clubs with different royalty tiers. It also has the vision to empower women through art and diversity. A WoW NFT avatar is a badge that demonstrates that the owners also stand by a specific value that can have a viral impact online.
People often intrinsically want to belong to a particular group or community and identify with them. This aspect is one of the core values that NFT avatars provide.
An NFT avatar is also a reflection of the owner's digital status. For instance, an OG CryptoPunks avatar's price has grown so much since its debut, thanks to the hype created around it. Given such a price, owning an NFT Punk and displaying it signifies that the owner has a real investment in NFTs. Users of other NFT avatars also reflect a sense of digital identity as part of an evolving NFT phenomenon.
NFT Avatars in a Metaverse
The core of NFT avatars is the community, which is the foundation for a metaverse – a digital world with its own forms of identity, audience, and governance. NFT avatars are slowly evolving to a stage of maturity in this regard, as evidenced by the various use cases of NFT avatar collections. Many projects are working to implement additional utilities, including royalties, character upgrades, and gamification.
One of the more notable projects is The Sandbox project. The Sandbox collaborates with NFT avatar projects that allow collectors to use their avatars in the metaverse. Examples include Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gutter Cats, Hashmasks, and more. Through the interoperability of NFTs, users can turn 2D collectible images into 3D playable avatars that are animated and express whole interactions within The Sandbox.