AI, Digital Gene Editing & Fusion: What Comes Next for NFTs
The fusion of AI, CRISPR and blockchain will usher in a new era.
Crypto moves in cycles, and this year heralded the explosive arrival of an entirely new digital asset category—non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Just like 2020’s expansion of decentralized finance (DeFi), NFTs have unleashed a bonanza of new use cases, experimental projects and creativity across the board. Unlike DeFi, NFTs have invaded mainstream culture to such a degree that Collins Dictionary named ‘NFT’ as their word of the year for 2021.
What started off as pixelated 2D avatars (glorified profile pics), NFTs have now entered a maturation stage of their life cycle. Possibilities such as enhanced utility, aesthetics and diversification into a wide range of other sectors, including music and gaming, are now hitting the next generation of NFTs, which are aptly called Living NFTs.
The Next Frontier: NFTs and CRISPR
One of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in a century is causing scientists, and the general public, to reconsider what is possible. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) tech is genome-editing technology that effectively enables the rearrangement of the human DNA in order to remove harmful genes, or potentially add beneficial ones. CRISPR is revolutionizing medicine by allowing doctors to move away from a one-size-fits-all method of treatment to being able to target cures based on a person’s own genetic make-up.
While CRISPR might be stealing the limelight in the medical and biotech sectors, the technology is being explored for applications outside of human health. Space exploration, wildlife and ecology management, climate geo-engineering and even blockchain are experimenting with how CRISPR can improve lives and push technology to new frontiers.
Despite CRISPR’s revolutionary barnstorm, it’s not the first time in human history that we’ve been in a situation where new technology essentially allowed us to “play god.” Two decades ago, Tamagotchis burst onto the scene, allowing children (and their adult caretakers) to steer the life course of the precursor to (entertaining) digital assets. In this example, we can see how CRISPR technology can be used within NFTs or Web3 gaming.
What Tamagotchis were not able to do was evolve, earn income or interact beyond their plastic confines. They were precursors to NFTs, but not the same. CRISPR technology changes this equation. After all, a genome is just code. Hear me out, but CRISPR technology will allow developers and hackers to insert preferred code into existing digital beings—from those still-plastic-confined Tamagotchis to Bored Apes.
Applying CRISPR to NFTs
CRISPR simulation algorithms, when combined with artificial intelligence (AI), can be applied to blockchain—it will allow users to level up and grow their NFTs based on interactions with others in the community. Combining CRISPR and AI effectively means players will be able to edit the very building blocks of their NFT, which they will then be able to use to develop their NFT creature by interacting with it, participating in the community and interacting with creatures developed by other users.
Combining the two is a matter of developing two separate blockchains, one focused on CRISPR, one on AI—and then splicing the results together to generate a unique NFT. With the customization elements brought about by gene-editing and breeding, people can mix and match their NFT creations in an effort to generate the best characteristics. These will elevate their creatures into unique hybrids comparable to the lion-headed, snake-tailed chimera of Greek mythology.
In 2022, Anybody Can Be a Mad Scientist!
In the space of around 12 months, we have gone from CryptoPunks to AI-generative artwork, such as Abstratica. In December 2020, hardly anyone was talking about non-fungible tokens—the vision—and the profits–were just not widely shared. A year into this revolution, most of the crypto community sees the value and possibilities of non-fungible tokens. From music to property deeds, everyone is seeing the use cases of publicly verifiable scarcity. What people are not talking about is how do we take existing digital art and gaming NFTs to their next stage—what is the evolution of this space?
Looking at the history of how CRISPR came to be, it’s evident that it was not just an innovation sparked within the siloed walls of genomics researchers. It involved collaboration with experts in robotics, chemistry and philosophy. This same symbiotic relationship will come to fruition in 2022 with NFTs. By using outside technology, we can innovate in this space and turbo-drive blockchain use and adoption and the expansion of the metaverse.
The Future Is Fusion
The fusion of AI, CRISPR and blockchain will usher in a new era of NFTs. The popularity of NFT gaming skyrocketed in 2021, with DappRadar tracking a peak volume of more than $500 million on November 8, more than a 7,000 percent rise since June. It is currently pushing a daily volume of around $80 million; it is clear that even with a huge reduction since November’s peak, the trajectory of NFT gaming is heading upwards.
With more and more innovation every day around blockchain gaming, it is only a matter of time before it goes mainstream. Spurred on by a combination of tech giant Facebook’s commitment to its much-vaunted metaverse and more people realizing blockchain gaming is here to stay, the developments are set to provide gamers, traders and scientists alike with an abundance of entertainment, earning and experimentation opportunities.
This is an entirely new frontier, all enabled by the collision of transformational technologies. As mega corporations like Nike, Disney and Marvel take a plunge into the metaverse economy, it is pivotal to breathe life into the components that will make them exciting.
NFTs are the building blocks of the metaverse, and it is paramount they evolve and have the capacity to reflect our physical lives digitally. It’s time to splice things up.
Marc Seal is CEO of Sortium and founder of CryptoGene. He is a successful entrepreneur and seasoned technologist focused on applying blockchain and NFT technologies to the digital sports and entertainment spaces. He has led innovative teams to build world class products with partners such as Disney, Marvel, Fox, Lucasfilm, Toho, MLB and more.