What NFTs and Digital Assets Mean For Startups and Entrepreneurs

Suddenly, virtual value has become “real enough”

Joe Procopio
7 min readMar 8, 2021


image by pch.vector

Meme stocks are yesterday’s news. The hype machine on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) is at full tilt. So is there something of value here for an opportunistic entrepreneur?

After spending a couple months down a serious rabbit hole on NFTs and digital assets, I can give you a qualified definite maybe. I can even tell you where I think the more tangible and realistic opportunities are.

But I’ll also warn you that there is already a great deal of chicanery happening in the space, some of it going down right out there in public.

NFTs aren’t new, but they aren’t Bitcoin either

My entrepreneurial dive into NFTs and digital assets felt a lot like my time in the digital currency and blockchain rabbit hole of 2017. I have never invested in Bitcoin or any kind of digital currency, never had the FOMO. My fascination with both digital currency and digital assets stems from an entrepreneur’s curiosity for emerging technologies and emerging markets.

Back in 2017, I created my own alt coin, weighed the blockchain’s usefulness as a system of record, and poked holes in the privacy and flexibility promises of digital currencies. I played with all the business models, from ICOs to security tokens and everything in between.

I ultimately came to the conclusion that while there was a ton of promise in the blockchain, meaningful application of digital currency and digital assets was still some time off.

That time is not now, but it’s coming. NFTs are a step in the evolution of digital assets and thus, a step in fulfilling the blockchain promise. NFTs provide a system of record for both physical assets (Rally) and digital assets (TopShot, Rarible, Nifty Gateway), and always have. This isn’t new news.

What’s new — and what’s important to entrepreneurs — is that our collective brains are all starting to make that leap over the huge logic gap in how we determine the value of a digital thing.

In this case, we’re starting to answer the question: How do we assign value to something that doesn’t exist? Like a…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com