Top 14 Types of NFTs in 2023

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, with the NFT market growing to over $37 billion in value as of early 2022 according to DappRadar. As collectibles like CryptoPunks and Bored Apes took off, the NFT phenomenon spread across industries ranging from art to sports to gaming and beyond.

There are now many different types of NFTs available, each with unique characteristics and use cases driving the growth of this nascent market. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top 14 categories of NFTs that are expected to be popular in 2023.

Digital Artwork NFTs

Digital art NFTs encompass a vast range of original artwork minted on the blockchain. This includes digital paintings, pixel art, 3D models, illustrations, CGI, and more. Artists can create limited edition digital artworks with unique ownership and provenance established via NFTs.

The headline-grabbing sales of select art NFTs like Beeple‘s collage NFT "Everydays" for over $69 million have demonstrated the immense value that can be unlocked by tokenizing art on the blockchain. Dedicated NFT art platforms like SuperRare, Foundation, and Nifty Gateway have emerged to allow digital artists to showcase and auction their tokenized artworks.

As blockchain technology provides a frictionless way for artists to sell their work without middlemen, NFT art platforms are empowering a new wave of digital artists. In 2023, more artists across mediums are expected to release limited edition NFT artwork, driving this category forward.

Music NFTs

The music industry is being disrupted by music NFTs that create new direct monetization opportunities for artists. Songs, albums, EPs, and music videos can be minted into NFTs and sold or auctioned. Holding the NFT of a song can potentially entitle the owner to royalties from that music.

Platforms like Royal allow musicians to sell their music as NFTs that continually generate royalties for the holders based on streaming revenues. This has the power to shift more earnings potential to artists rather than centralized streaming services.

Music NFTs are expanding with different utilities like unlocking exclusive content, prizes, access to the artist, and more. Artists stand to benefit from having more control over selling their music directly to fans. As music NFT adoption grows, 2023 could be the year they go mainstream.

Photography NFTs

Photography is another creative medium that can be transformed by NFTs. Photographers now have the opportunity to auction off individual photos or entire collections as NFTs. Since the image file is baked into the token metadata, photographers can include royalty conditions in the NFT smart contract code.

This means they can continually earn from secondary sales whenever the NFT is resold on a marketplace. In early 2022, photographer Justin Aversano made history selling his photo "Twin Flames" for over $2 million, setting the record for the most expensive photo NFT ever sold at the time.

For photographers, NFTs present a new way to monetize their work and tap into the crypto art collector community. As the technology develops further, more photographers are expected to offer their best shots as exclusive NFTs.

Collectibles Like CryptoPunks and Bored Apes

Blockchain collectibles kicked off the entire NFT revolution, with generative collections like CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club developing fervent fanbases. These projects feature algorithmically generated avatar collections with unique, appealing designs and personalities.

Owning one of these coveted NFT collectibles has become a status symbol, both as a display of belonging to an exclusive community as well as an investment. Legendary sales like CryptoPunk #5822 for over $23 million have demonstrated the extreme value certain collectors are willing to pay to secure rare pieces from these projects.

In 2023, existing top collections are likely to continue driving high dollar sales. At the same time, new generative avatar projects will attempt to replicate the magic of collections like the Bored Apes. There is no sign of diminishing interest in blockchain collectibles.

Meme NFTs

Memes have taken over pop culture, spreading virally across social media as humorous images that capture a cultural moment or emotion. Now, some of the most famous meme images like Doge have been turned into highly valuable NFTs.

The original Doge meme image of Kabosu the dog was sold as an NFT by creator Atsuko Sato for around $4 million in 2022. This demonstrates the power of memorializing iconic memes as NFTs that could appreciate in value as they gain historical significance.

Other viral meme images like Side Eyeing Chloe and Overly Attached Girlfriend have also fetched six figure sums when sold as NFTs. As memes hold such importance in internet culture, more historical memes are likely to be snapped up by collectors to own a slice of digital history.

Sports NFTs Like NBA Top Shot

Sports fandom is being reimagined with sports NFTs that capture highlight moments as video clips known as “moments”. NBA Top Shot pioneered this with its marketplace for licensed highlights from NBA history as cosmetically enhanced NFT clips.

The most expensive NBA Top Shot moment sold so far is a legendary LeBron James dunk highlight that fetched over $200k. Sports fans globally have flocked to collect their favorite moments and players from basketball history through Top Shot.

This model is now expanding, with platforms like NFL All Day launching for American football highlights. As more major sports jump in, 2023 could see exponential growth in sports NFT trading volume as fans try to “catch ‘em all”.

Game NFTs – Cosmetics and Game-Altering

The multibillion dollar gaming industry is embracing NFTs in different ways, including via in-game cosmetic assets and game-altering tokens. Cosmetic NFTs can alter the appearance of in-game assets like characters and weapons.

Play-to-earn crypto games like Axie Infinity also have in-game NFT items that can boost your gameplay and earning potential when collected. Players can often trade these gaming NFTs between themselves, introducing open economies into games.

As online games continue moving towards digital ownership and decentralized models, expect more integration of NFTs into major gaming franchises. The play-to-earn sector is also booming, with titles like The Sandbox carving out land plots as NFTs.

Social Media NFTs

Social media has given rise to defining cultural moments, memes, conversations, and content. Turning these digital artifacts into NFTs has immense value, proven by the $2.9 million sale of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet as an NFT.

Tweets, Instagram posts, viral YouTube videos, and other social content of historical significance can be minted into NFTs by their creators. These then become blockchain-based records of internet history and culture. Iconic figures like Tony Hawk have also sold NFTs of memorable social media posts.

As social media matures, we may see more key moments and conversations memorialized on the blockchain. 2023 could bring wider adoption of social NFTs beyond early individual experiments.

Community NFTs

Owning select NFTs can grant you membership access and privileges in certain communities. For example, the Flyfish Club sells NFTs that will give owners access to membership benefits at their real-world private dining clubs.

MusicFund issues tokens that let holders vote to collectively decide how to distribute funds each month to various musicians. Other examples like Lurkers provide holders with access to exclusive group chats and spaces.

Community NFT projects offer new models for coordinated action and unlocking shared value. With the massive reach of crypto networks, community NFTs are set to become bigger in 2023.

Domain Name NFTs

NFT domain names are censorship-resistant blockchain websites mapped to easy to remember wallet addresses like xyz.crypto. Services like Unstoppable Domains are selling domain NFTs linked to sites stored on decentralized storage.

This allows for creating uncensorable internet identities and websites tied to your domain NFT. As Web3 grows, crypto native domain NFTs give users sovereignty over their online presence and assets.

Name spaces are developing rapidly, with .crypto, .nft, .wallet, .x, .bitcoin, and more extensions available to purchase as NFTs from various providers. In 2023, mass adoption of blockchain domains could begin in earnest.

Fundraising NFTs

NFTs provide a new tool for charities, startups, creators, and other causes to fundraise by selling specially designed tokens and collectibles. For example, UNICEF is offering their first NFT collection to support their various philanthropic initiatives globally.

Individual creators can also design inventive NFTs to crowdfund specialized projects and ideas. The benefit is unlocking new capital from the crypto community while also engaging key supporters through ownership.

In 2023, expect to see more mission-driven NFT drops as the technology unlocks new models for backing causes through digital ownership and investment.

Software License NFTs

NFTs can serve as functional licenses and keys, granting holders access to software, tools, applications and more. For example, developer community ApesTogether grants all holders of their NFT lifetime access to their software tools and resources.

Music studio tools, game engines, 3D modeling software, and all types of apps can integrate NFTs as license keys. Ownership of the NFTs can be configured for different license terms from free trial to lifetime unlimited access.

Software NFTs introduce new ways to transparently distribute and manage access. Companies could further tokenize software subscriptions, features, and other benefits into tradable NFT license tokens.

Virtual Land NFTs

Virtual land and real estate is being sold across metaverse worlds through blockchain-based ownership representations. In decentralized virtual worlds like The Sandbox, land plots are available as NFTs that users can purchase to build experiences and assets.

Major brands like Adidas have already bought virtual land plots as NFTs, spending millions to secure prime spaces. As the open metaverse evolves, more organizations and individuals will want to purchase digital land keyed to geographic coordinates.

Demand is surging, with top metaverse real estate selling for millions of dollars. 2023 could see the first major virtual land rush as major tech and consumer brands compete for space.

Hybrid NFTs

One key trend as NFTs evolve is the combination of multiple capabilities into hybrid forms. For example, a music NFT release could incorporate artwork and also grant the holder access to exclusive experiences.

Community membership NFTs are also fusing benefits like physical and digital asset ownership. Hybrid NFTs merge the most compelling aspects of multiple categories for enhanced value.

Categorizing NFTs will become more difficult as hybrid NFTs become more complex and advanced. 2023 could mark a key inflection point with next-generation, feature-packed NFTs combining multiple media, utilities, and benefits within a single token.

NFT use cases have expanded dramatically since CryptoKitties launched the crypto collectibles craze back in 2017. From multimillion dollar art sales to unlocking new creator economies, NFTs are now driving value across industries.

This list of the top 14 NFT categories provides a snapshot of the state of the market currently. However, if past trends are any indicator, we can expect even more surprises and innovative applications of NFT technology through 2023 and beyond.

User-controlled digital ownership, enabled by NFTs, is opening fascinating new windows into what‘s possible online. As platforms become more advanced and blockchain adoption grows globally, the next generation of NFT capabilities will likely be even more expansive and game-changing than anything we‘ve seen so far in this fast moving arena.

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