Over the past two decades, from the dot-com boom in the late 1990s that ultimately led to the dot-com bubble in the year 2000, several new technology investment trends have emerged, including the artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and – most recently – NFTs or non-fungible tokens.
NFTs are unique, one-of-a-kind digital tokens that cannot be traded (non-fungible). Holding an NFT associated with a certain digital asset indicates that the holder is the rightful owner of that asset and that information lives on the blockchain.
Some of the most notable NFT sales of the past year include a digital print by Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, whose work sold for $69 million at Christie’s auction house; Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sold for $2.9 million; and the original “Doge” meme that sold for $4 million.
Jump on the NFT train
As the popularity of NFTs has exploded, a number of home brands have jumped on the trend, hoping to cash in on the growing market and promote their new products as well. NFTs have become associated with digital collectibles and some brands, in an effort to attract more customers, have attempted to launch exclusive NFT versions of their products.
Among them are food brands like McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), Yum! Taco Bell and Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB), owned by brands (NYSE:YUM), as well as fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Nike (NYSE:NKE).
In October, McDonald’s launched its first-ever NFT, offering a limited number of NFTs called MCNFTs to celebrate the return of the McRib to its menu in November. McDonald’s stock gained just over 1% after the Oct. 28 announcement.
Taco Bell followed the trend ahead of McDonald’s by auctioning off 25 NFT GIFs on the Rarible NFT Marketplace in March 2021. Yum! The brands stock barely moved after revealing its foray into NFT collectibles.
Nike, meanwhile, joined the NFT movement by taking a different route by acquiring an NFT collectibles studio called RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”). The deal, announced in December, also failed to support the company’s share price, falling slightly the day after the company revealed the decision.
Mixed stock market response
The muted stock market reaction to news of companies immersing themselves in NFTs has suggested that traditional investors have yet to fully buy into the NFT hype. On the contrary, they may perceive these digital tokens as another marketing strategy with a short lifespan.
While the relationship between NFTs and stocks remains complicated at this stage, it is interesting to note that the New York Stock Exchange has moved closer to this new form of investment. In February, the NYSE filed an application to register the term “NYSE” for an NFT marketplace, suggesting that the intertwining of NFTs and investing is just beginning.
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