India joins global craze for NFTs as race for virtual collectibles heats up

In the past four years since they first came into existence in 2017, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have carved up a niche that has been growing rapidly as an increasing number of people are willing to pay for virtual collectibles. Global sales volumes of NFTs have galloped to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, making an eightfold increase from the previous quarter, data from market tracker DappRadar showed.

Though India was slow off the mark, celebrities from the world of Bollywood and cricket are now consumed by the concept of NFTs. They are launching digital memorabilia as non-fungible tokens. Bollywood superstars such as Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan are planning to launch NFTs soon.

While Bachchan’s NFTs will include autographed posters of his movies, Khan has been building excitement on his Twitter account by telling his 43 million followers about the planned NFT launch. “Amitabh Bachchan’s NFT auction will be a major event to witness because it will act as a curtain-raiser to understanding if Indians are willing to open their wallets for a digital creation by their favorite star’s collection,” says Monica Makhija, a market analyst working in Gurgaon.

With celebs entering the market, it’s an innovative way for fans from all around the world to own the NFT of their favorite Bollywood actor and also collectibles from their films. Fans tend to do crazy things for superstars.

Other celebrities and even sportsmen are not far behind. Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik is auctioning a digital art reel from a cricket match where he hit a match-winning six on the last ball for around 5 ethereums, a digital currency, worth around $20,000. But he has yet to receive any bids.

Though, others have had success. One of India’s top fashion designers, Manish Malhotra, recently sold NFTs of digital sketches of some of his most famous creations for $4,000 apiece. Malhotra’s website shows one can purchase some of his bridal wear outfits at a lower price range of $2,500-$3,500.

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