NFTs and The Psychology of Collecting


These same concepts apply whether your business wants to build its own NFT marketplace, or simply drop a one-off at OpenSea. It ultimately facilitates the design process, letting your company develop an NFT that engenders strong demand in the market.

Since digital items typically boast high availability, how do you create a perception of scarcity that builds value? Additionally, modern marketing theories note that digital products lack many of the pleasures found in collecting. Given this situation, understanding the psychology of the digital consumer gives your company the greatest chance of success. Let’s take a closer look.

A Modern Definition of Collecting

A whitepaper from Wales’s Cardiff University.pdf) (Prifysgol Caerdydd), provides meaningful insights on the collection of digital goods. The paper defines collecting as “the process of actively, selectively, and passionately acquiring and possessing things removed from ordinary use and perceived as part of a set of non-identical objects or experiences.” This definition plays a critical role in understanding what drives your potential customers to purchase an NFT from any marketplace.

The characteristics of a collection include three critical attributes:

  • The unity of the collection holds more value than the sum of the individual items.
  • Its selectivity means it contains sharp boundaries that avoids duplication.
  • The items in a collection are rarely used for their intended purpose.

Building Elusiveness and Authenticity

Your business’s ultimate goal for its NFT strategy needs to focus on creating a pleasurable collecting experience for customers. Two central concepts feed into this approach.

  • Elusiveness defines the scarcity and difficulty in acquiring a digital good.
  • Authenticity describes the perception of that digital good as the “real thing.”

Achieving both of these points with your company’s NFT puts it on a track to building true value.

Elusiveness when considering an NFT describes the timespan between the awareness of a digital good and purchasing it. Creating distance between the two becomes critical in generating desire for the good. Scarcity generally builds that hunger, but with limitations. Other characteristics, like location and skill, also matter depending on the nature of the NFT. Finding the sweet spot combining all the aspects of elusiveness is important!

Authenticity directly relates to a good being an original as opposed to a copy or imitation. It also describes the connection between the customer and the digital good. The Cardiff University whitepaper notes four characteristics to these connections: Indexical, Iconic, Historical, and Patina. As with elusiveness, designing an NFT that combines all four characteristics offers the greatest potential to build value.

Ultimately, your business needs make the psychology of the NFT collector an important point when designing your digital good and marketplace. Simply stated, being able to hit as many of the characteristics of elusiveness and authenticity as possible provides the best chance to generate value.

Be sure to check out our video on NFTs and The Psychology of Collecting which goes into more detail on the points covered in this blog, especially the specific characteristics of elusiveness and authenticity. Of course, the whitepaper linked earlier is a must read! If you have any other questions or need help on your next NFT marketplace connect with us. Our technical and business expertise makes Gigster the perfect partner for your organization.

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