Beyond Finance: The Search for Meaning in NFT Communities

Picture of a bored ape yacht NFT

The Elements of Value Pyramid is a framework developed by Bain & Company in 2016, which identifies the various elements of value that companies can offer their customers beyond just functional benefits. When we apply this framework to the broader NFT landscape, it becomes clear that NFTs offer inherent value beyond just financial gain.

The NFT Landscape

As we look at the NFT landscape, we can see how different NFT communities are leveraging various elements of value to attract and retain their users. From functional values like making money and Connecting, to emotional values like Fun/Entertainment, Rewards, Badge Value, and Access, most NFT projects live somewhere in the middle of the pyramid. Some NFT collections, however, break through to life-changing values like Affiliation and Belonging.

But after a certain point, values like Provides Hope, Self Actualization, and Self Transcendence go beyond finance and speculation, requiring a belief in something greater than oneself and financial interests. It’s at this point where the NFT landscape can ring hollow.

In our digital age, we’re not short on knowledge and opportunities, but we’re desperate for meaning. The financialization of everything is problematic, and we need to question whether art is only valuable when it trades at a high volume or whether the ultimate goal of life is to hold millions of dollars in blue-chip NFTs.

The way forward

To onboard the masses, NFT-based communities need to think about the elements of value at the top of the pyramid and move towards stronger ideologies that provide meaning and value beyond just financial gain. We need to see a movement towards clearer and more passionate ideologies that motivate holders beyond financial speculation and social status-seeking.

The future of creating value for NFTs lies in striking a balance between the functional and emotional elements of the Elements of Value Pyramid framework. NFT-based communities need to think beyond financial gain and develop stronger ideologies that provide meaning and value to their users. As the industry evolves and matures, we can expect to see more emphasis on life-changing and social impact values, leading to a greater focus on community and purpose-driven NFT projects. Overall, the key to creating value for NFTs lies in building communities that align with users’ emotional and spiritual needs while also providing a platform for financial gain.

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