The NFT market around the world is diverse and has many different needs. We’ve seen in a previous post how the Southeast Asia region is very keen on NFTs. But Latin America is also up there in interest for cryptocurrencies and NFTs. As a region that has suffered the wrath of inflation over the years, they have found in NFTs an asset that can help them cope with the times. And because they are priced usually in cryptocurrency, they help the citizens of the region face the challenge of a local currency that usually depreciates in value, and of a continual rise in the cost of living.
According to Statista, Brazil is home the second largest NFT-user base in the world. In a chart provided by NFT Now, all three of Cuba, Colombia and Curaçao appeared in the top 10 of countries most interested in NFTs. And in this additional chart you’ll find that it is actually Venezuela and Peru who are accompanying Brazil in the ‘top 10’ list of countries with highest adoption rate of NFTs. Colombia and Argentina are barely outside of that list. So the point is clear. Latin America is very interested in blockchain, Web3, NFTs and all things crypto.
So what we have is another region that has faced a lot challenges on the economic front. And even though Latin America has not had a big Internet adoption because of the connection speeds and reliability, when it comes to using something that has meant some sort of financial protection, the adoption rate has been relatively high. So the NFT as an asset that protects wealth is a common use case in this part of the world.
Another use case for NFTs has been fan tokens and collectibles. Football (soccer in the U.S.) is very popular in the region. And sports has been one industry where NFTs and crypto tokens have been used to enhance the fan experience. This is particularly true in markets such as the Mexican and the Brazilian, where there is a massive Football following and there is very big population.
In Brazil, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF, the acronym in Portuguese) launched a NFT collection based on the national teams. That includes the men’s and the women’s teams, plus the under-20’s a and under-17’s age groups.
Still in Brazil, we find that football teams (clubs) are generally fan owned, so they usually elect a board of directors every few years. This is something that can be enhanced by fan tokens and NFTs. If you own some sort of share that allows you to vote in the decision making process, why not tie that to a NFT?
But what if the landscape is different, such as in Mexico? In this league, teams are usually owned by private capital. Atlas and Santos Laguna, both teams that compete in the Mexican top tier Football league (Liga MX), launched a fan token. With this token, fans can get involved in decisions through the sports fan token platform Socios.com. So even though teams are no longer fan-owned in Mexico, with NFTs you can give back some decision-making power back to the fans. It makes sense, because football in its origins has been about community and fan ownership. Crypto and blockchain has the potential of decentralizing power. So whether you refer to your organization as a Football Club or as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), what matters is that it is the community that has to become empowered. And this is what happened when NFTs and sports come together. At least it is one use case.
Of course, being a very populous region, it has a very unique and strong cultural mode. One that is not represented enough as culture and arts are highly centralized. The hubs for arts and culture ten to be located in U.S. and Europe. So the region’s artistic potential runs the risk of being indefinitely untapped. Until now, when artists can use NFTs to elude traditional gatekeepers.
It’s very telling that one NFT art gallery from Argentina, Kephi, has been getting a lot of exposure. This is because now, through this art gallery, Latino artists are able to access other interesting markets and get the recognition they deserve. It’s a way of getting the mass-scale aspect of Internet, and making sure that Latino artists are getting their fair share.
Even though there is a lot of interest in NFTs, the vast majority of blockchain users in Latin America use the Web3 for amassing crypto and protecting their savings. So a foreign collector might see an opportunity in market that is full of artwork supply, but still low in demand. One of the main successes of Kephi Art Gallery has been exporting the Latino NFT art into other more mature markets. Like the Asian market.
Latin America is, without a doubt, a market to be vigilant of its evolution. It has a high promise of growth, with a big population. Latinos have a high adoption rate, firstly of cryptocurrencies due to the currency issues that have emerged in the region; and then of NFTs as they have looked for ways to invest those cryptocurrencies and further earn in crypto.
As is the case with many aspects of the Latin American economic landscape, there is a lot of untapped potential. And once it is tapped, those with sufficient vision to have gotten in early will surely be rewarded.