90% art, 10% music: WazirX on top NFT categories in India

Nischal Shetty of WazirX on top NFT categories in India, and why he is making room for influencers

With the setting up of homegrown platforms like WazirX and Terrain.art, the market for non-fungible tokens is booming. Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, admits it is still early days, not just in India but globally too. “What’s interesting, however, is that unlike what usually happens with new technology — where it is adopted in the West and then reaches us — NFTs have been on par in the country. We are creating our own platforms,” he says. Some questions answered:

Also read | Music: the gatekeepers are changing

What are the top categories that WazirX is looking at?

At present it is mainly 90% art and 10% music. But we won’t be restricting ourselves. People are expressing interest in exploring sports, spirituality and the like. We are also toying with the idea of converting real world art into NFTs. Another market is the influencer space. India has one of the largest networks in the world and, until now, they monetised mainly through sponsored content. NFTs can give the influencer economy a new opportunity. For example, a travel influencer can turn the first photo he or she clicks at a destination into an NFT. We are in talks with influencers who are bringing out books, to turn certain sections of it into NFTs. Poet and influencer Priya Malik is doing something similar with music.

(from left) Sameer Mhatre, Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon
 
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Are NFTs democratic?

Besides bringing in ownership and originality, NFTs are also democratising the ability to monetise one’s creativity. Just like blogging made everyone a writer, NFTs are making everyone an artist — opening up the field to meme and GIF makers, TikTok and Reel creators, podcasters, tweeters, etc.

For buyers, by giving it a copyright, they not only get an original piece, but they will also be able to sell it later [as prices appreciate] because it is one of a kind.

What’s next?

At the moment we only have fixed rates on WazirX. An auction tab is one of the most requested features that we are working on. We are also tweaking the way that we get artists on board, by building a referral system.

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