[UNOPND Seminar — September 2022] NFT Market Awaiting the Next Cycle

Disclaimer: UNOPND hosts a monthly seminar to share market insights from various guest and in-house thought leaders. This article is an interpretation of these seminars. The seminar content reflect the presenters’ opinion only and may not represent UNOPND’s official view.

2022 was surely not the best year for NFT market as it went though significant decrease in trade activities with drop in prices of cryptocurrency. Yet, the market is transforming to prepare for the next cycle. During UNOPND’s monthly seminar in September, number of thought leaders joined and shared how NFT market is evolving and the direction it is heading.

  • Sangheyok Lim, Project Manager at UNOPND, discussed about how diversification of NFT marketplace shifting the paradigm, bringing both qualitative and quantitative growth of the market.

We sincerely thank all the presenters for their precious insights. Please read on for the summary of these sessions.

Let’s dive in!
Video Link

NFT Marketplace Paradigm Shift(1)

by Sanghyeok Lim


  • NFT marketplace ecosystem took a tectonic shift in 2022 as new NFT marketplaces — LooksRare, X2Y2, Sudoswap — emerged to break sol-system by Opensea

Changes in NFT Marketplaces

In this session, Lim mainly focused on general NFT marketplaces such Opensea, X2Y2, LooksRare, Magic Eden to discuss the overall shifts in the paradigm. There are, of course, art marketplaces and utility marketplaces, and they will be discussed in future seminar as well.

As most of you know, there had been a gradual decrease in NFT market volume, transaction counts, and user counts, as demand of NFT market dropped with prices of cryptocurrency.

NFT Overall Daily Volume

Theses are some observations from this market change:

  1. the percentage of decrease was in order of trade volume > transactions > traders

4 Phases of NFT Marketplaces

Lim suggested there are 4 phases of NFT marketplaces and explained why and how market changed accordingly. 4 phases are following:

  • Primordial period of NFT market (2017 ~ early 2021)
Opensea vs LooksRare vs X2Y2

What is notable here is how the chasers tried to stop Opensea from monopolizing the market. LooksRare, criticizing Opensea’s centralized system, tried to decentralize the marketplace by applying a reward system that returns trading fees to the token staker. In case of X2Y2, it also airdropped its token and lowered trading fees to 0.5%. Also, it made optional for the users to pay creator fee and provided bulk listing, which was not provided by Opensea, to increase convenience for the users.

As these chasers try to compete with Opensea by proving better functions and decentralizing the market system, discussion around marketplaces, such as issues on creator fees, function improvement, and decentralization model are becoming more active and visible.

What’s next?

Opensea is still leading the market in aspect of the organic trade volume, and it is unsure how long those competing marketplaces can hold on in this bear market. Still, it is worthwhile to take close eyes to following issues and changes on NFT marketplaces.

  • There is continuous effort of Opensea to improve it UX — Wyvern -> Seaport change, releasing NFT drops, OpenRarity, etc.

Preparing for Next Cycle: NFT Copyright in terms of Business Perspective

by GD Kim, COO at UNOPND


  • Projects need to understand NFT Copyrights as to protect their revenue and utilize their IP as business and marketing tool

Why NFT Copyrights?

GD Kim shared his personal opinion on the market. In next bull cycle, many services and products will come into the system, with larger institutions engaging in Web 3 businesses. Those businesses will focus more on real-life services and products, instead of focusing on the technological advancement itself. They will apply Web 3 technology to already proven business models or products from Web 2.

Then, why do we have to understand about NFT copyrights?

  • as commercial usage of NFT becomes one of special benefits for the users, it is important to set right license for the project from the very beginning

Examples of NFT Copyrights Application

Cryptopunk + Meebits


In the beginning, there were no guidelines for the IP use rights, so holders selected NFT license defined by Dapper Labs (https://www.nftlicense.org/). However, the usage was limited — commercial usage only under $100K profit, cannot change the artwork or use the IP to promote third party’s product. After Yuga Labs acquired Cryptopunks and Meebits, Yuga Labs took the IP and gave all rights to the users. (Yuga Labs own the IP and tbe users own all rights, title and interest in and to any derivative work)

BAYC + Doodles

BAYC’s Licensed Commercial Use Rights
Doodle’s Licensed Commercial Use Rights

Both BAYC and Doodles have shown good examples of business usage of NFT copyrights. BAYC allowed and granted holders of unlimited, worldwide license to use, copy, and display their NFTs. Their community actively utilized its NFTs to organically expand the IP ecosystem. Doodles, similar to BAYC, allowed commercial usage but set limit to $100K profit. It also did not allowed to change the original layer.

RTFKT (acquired by Nike)


In case of RTFKT, it applies different IP usage rights for different conditions. For example, holders of NFTs with Murakami traits are not allowed to use its IP as it is owned by Takashi Murakami. so there are stronger restriction on Murakami traits. This approach is questionable as RTFKT provide wearable partz that can be wore into avatars, but what if a holder wants to use his/her NFT that wears one wearable NFT with Murakami trait? Then, how the copy rights would be applied?

Key takeaways

  • Web3 projects giving IP licenses to communities became a common play

Direction of Open Metaverse from Web3 Perspective

by Kiheon Shin, Creative Director at Hashed


  • Ultimate direction of Web 3 industries would be creating an open metaverse

Last session was by Kiheon Shin, Creative Director at Hashed.

Shin started the session by describing metaverse that Hashed and UNOPND is trying to realize. It will be in form of open metaverse, which will eventually expand to the physical world we are living in.

Led by large tech companies, metaverse is moving beyond technical implementation to the stage of philosophical and existential concerns. Corporations have come up with their own method of realizing metaverse such as GLTF(GL Transmission Format), USD(Universal Scene Description), NVIDIA Omniverse, Unreal Engine, Unity, etc.

The physical-based real world will still be important as long as we are subordinate to the body, but as part of the real world gradually transforms its existence and value into a digital-based virtual world, some of the experiences and values that are important to us will begin with and end with the virtual world.

Then, to which direction are we heading for this open metaverse?

Open Metaverse in Web 2 Perspective

Shin explained there had been gradual progress toward creation of an open metaverse, and it is visible from Web 2 games.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate by Nintendo Switch

Super Smash Bros Ultimate by Nintendo Switch is one of best examples to show how Web 2 game industries had already used interoperability within its operational system. Within the Nintendo system, user avatars cross-play multiple games, for example in the Super Smash Brothers, they can play in a one world view with popular characters such as Pokémon, Super Mario, Zelda, etc.

However Shin pointed out that such interoperability can work only within the operational system made by Nintendo so it is completely controlled by the company. All the digital assets and IP usage is owned by the game developers.

In the case of companies that have secured a number of IPs such as Disney, after several failures, they recently introduced a game called Disney Dreamlight Valley, which connects popular characters and stories of Disney and Pixar with one another based on cross-platform. In the game, players can directly define and use their creations within the Disney world through their avatars. When multi-play functions are added in the future, interactions between multiple players will also be possible.

Niantic Lab’s Pokemon Go showed how such interoperability can be applied to the real world:

  • Ownership of the physical space in the real world can grow infinitely as it is repeatedly utilized within a number of virtual worlds.

How NFT bridges Web 2 and Web 3

Starbucks Odyssey

Web 2 industries are putting a lot of efforts to utilize NFTs.

  • Instagram’s digital collectable function allows to post your NFTs

These show the possibility of Web 3 mass adoption.

Shin points out that NFT will take important role in an open protocol, as it can operate seamlessly with its composability and interoperability.

Direction Toward an Open Metaverse from Web 3 Perspective

There needs to be six components to create an open metaverse in perspective of Web 3.

Ready Player Me
  1. Avatar — seamlessly represents the user across different platforms
  • e.g. Cryptopunks on Ready Player Me, Adidas - Oz world

2. Ecosystem expansion

  • e.g. Parallel Tommy Hilfiger clothes that both real-life user and virtual character can wear

3. Virtual space and writing tools

  • e.g. Spatial - a virtual meet-up platform for multi-play across multiple access environments, including desktop, mobile, and meta-quast (VR)

4. Utilization of NFT based on blockchain

  • e.g. Mona

5. Community-based scalability

  • e.g. Fabricant Studio x World of Women

6. Large scale/real-time access & communication

  • e.g. Yuga Labs / Otherside / Improbable / M2(Msquared)

Key Takeaways

  • Still, there are many different perspectives and interests around creation of an open metaverse, so it is still in a chaotic situation

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UNOPND, a startup studio powered by Hashed, is incubating innovative metaverse and NFT applications.

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UNOPND, a startup studio powered by Hashed, is incubating innovative metaverse and NFT applications.