Picks & Shovels of the Metaverse

I ventured into financial markets in the most millennial way possible. In Pakistan, there’s no culture of investing in equity markets and since interest is frowned upon, not many investors dabble with money markets, saving accounts, or term deposits either. Hence, with lack of knowledge on equity markets, my first investment happened to be in Bitcoin.

In the next few years I started investing in many other cryptoassets and lost a lot of money. I learnt some expensive and painful lessons. My number one lesson being; the first and foremost goal of any investment is preservation of capital. The secondary goal is the return on investment.

After learning that lesson, I started analyzing most investments from the “picks and shovels” point of view, especially in up and coming technologies and disruptive innovations.

Instead of buying Cardano, or Stellar Luman, or Dogecoin, I realized I could be investing in $BNB, or most recently $COIN. This way I wouldn’t have to worry about which asset would do well as all trading activity on all cryptoassets generates a fee for Binance & Coinbase. Sure my return could be lower, but so is my risk. $BNB ended up generating a 60x return for me despite being a “safe bet” which is an order of magnitude larger than most unsafe bets in the cryptospace.

Most recently, NFTs have shook the world by the storm. But they are extremely difficult to value. They are also quite illiquid as they are non-fungible in nature. Part of illiquidity is solved by fractionalized art platforms like Fractional.Art as you can now buy small fungible pieces of a non-fungible art. The most recent example being Feisty Doge NFT (NFD) which is fractionalized ownership of photo of a Shiba dog and is trading at $51 million dollars at the time of writing, thanks to fractionalization and liquidity.

NFT space, for now, has fewer bluechip pick-and-shovel style opportunities. The largest NFT marketplace OpenSea doesn’t have a governance token, hence it’s not possible to get exposure to it. It’s also not a public company yet so you can not get exposure via equity market either. Smaller NFT platforms have governance tokens, but are priced way higher than the market share that they have e.g $RARE or $RARI.

There are also play-to-earn games in the NFT space. Since P2E games require players to buy NFTs in order to play the game, there’s a barrier to entry especially for those who can’t afford to buy at all. To solve this, guilds have been formed which lend their NFTs to scholar gamers who then play the games to earn, and share revenues with the guild. In this case, by betting on the guilds, you can also bet on the entire P2E gaming industry pick-and-shovel style. The largest guild right now is $YGG, but that also seems to be over-valued to me on current FDV relative to the number of scholars they have at the moment.

NFTs have also already spread across sports. With $CHZ powering sports fan tokens and collectibles for clubs like Paris Saint-Germain ($PSG) or Barcelona ($BAR), it can also serve as a pick-and-shovel bet on the sports NFT space.

For now, I’m merely observing the pick-and-shovels of this space as I’m confident there will be multi-bagger winners in the NFT space.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. To the maximum extent permitted by law, I disclaim any and all liability in the event any information, commentary, analysis, opinions, advice and/or recommendations prove to be inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, or result in any investment or other losses.

Leave a Reply