While CryptoKitties made some ruckus with the normies back in 2017, we didn’t see Jimmy Fallon ask Twitter for help in naming his NFT cat. He did seek the Internet’s assistance in naming his ape in November, though, joining the ranks of mainstream celebs who aped in on the NFT craze.

But believe it or not, NFTs are not just about the ape jpegs. The media is abuzz with chatter about Metaverse, Web 3.0, and blockchain. Pundits are breaking spears on whether our digital future would be a corporate-controlled surveillance hell, or a decentralized realm built on privacy and ownership. And NFTs will most likely be a major building block for either option, one way or another.

So don’t rush to dismiss the technology as a fad. As we speed ahead into the next chapter of the digital era, here are some of the most exciting projects building it up day by day.

Kryptomon: Gotta mint ‘em all!

Kryptomon, another gaming project, takes inspiration from the Pokémon franchise, adding a CryptoKitties twist to create a game based on the idea of living NFTs. In the first stage of the project, players buy NFT eggs that eventually hatch out into their own Kryptomons—exotic little monsters that each have unique attributes. Players have to take care of their monsters, the same way it works with a Tamagotchi toy, for them to grow and develop. Players can also breed their Kryptomons to get better and rarer—meaning more valuable—little monsters.

The next phase of the project will bring players the gameplay any Pokémon fan knows and loves. Kryptomon owners will be able to send their pets to battle other players or computer-controlled opponents, winning valuable in-game rewards and gaining experience. From there, the project will work on fleshing out its own larger Metaverse and release a mobile version of the game.

Kryptomon was designed and built with support from AAA game developers and major investors such as Simplex. Just recently, Kryptomon added Playtika’s CPO Raz Friedman and former Playstation CTO Shinichi Okamoto to its advisory board. In December 2021, the project held a real-world treasure hunt that saw players dispatch on a quest to search for Kryptomon eggs, and similar events are to follow. With a plethora of updates and features slated for release in 2022, the game has a lot in store for its users, including daily missions and quests, player-versus-player tournaments, and scholarships.

Spielworks: Making NFT gaming mainstream

Spielworks builds out an ecosystem for NFT and blockchain games. Its live products include the Wombat Wallet, a free, simple, and user-friendly wallet app gamers can use to hold their fungible and non-fungible tokens, and the Womplay service. The latter brings the play-to-earn model, popularized by games like Axie Infinity, to non-blockchain titles such as Raid: Shadow Legends and World of Tanks. With the service, users can earn reward tokens for playing the supported games and convert them into crypto.

In December, Spielworks announced the live open beta test of its own NFT game, the Wombat Dungeon Master, where users send wombats to explore a dungeon in search of NFT rewards. The game will include multiple RPG features, including character progression and upgrades with NFT items, and is built to introduce players to a wide array of partner projects, such as Uplift World.

The project has been growing by the day over the past year, announcing integrations with the leading blockchains, including Polygon, WAX, and Ethereum. It has added support for multiple projects, both gaming and DeFi, such as exchanges, staking platforms, and others. Moving into 2022, Spielworks is set to keep up the momentum and continue expanding its gaming and DeFi ecosystem with more partnerships and integrations.

Metarex: Who wants their own dino?

Blockchain’s meteoric rise to fame has given rise to companies moving everything on-chain, from payments to commodities trading and social media. Metarex does that with dinosaurs, or to be more precise, a fossilized Tyrannosaurus Rex dating back millions of years. It’s a museum-grade fossil, meaning more than 20 percent of its original bones have been recovered. There are only about 32 museum-grade T-Rex fossils in the world.

Metarex issues a collection of NFTs representing high-quality images of the bones making up the fossil; their holders also get a stake in the online IP rights for the corresponding bone. The project is planning to mint tens of thousands of NFTs for collectors to buy and treasure.

The funds raised as part of the project will be used to buy the T-Rex from the private collection currently holding the fossil and transfer it to a museum. The team is using smart contracts to automate this transaction, guaranteeing it fires off as soon as the target amount has been raised. A team of professional paleontologists will supervise the transportation of the fossil, which will enable researchers to access the fossil for scientific purposes.

Monoverse: The more dinosaurs, the better

Monoverse, a blockchain play-to-earn gaming ecosystem, also allows users to get their own dinosaurs—as pets, in a Tamagotchi-style game called Frutti Dino. Users can hatch and take care of their NFT dinosaurs, train and upgrade them, send them raiding, make them fight other players’ dinosaurs, and breed them to get more powerful and rare dinosaurs. The game comes equipped with a developed DeFi ecosystem, including a marketplace, wallet, and token exchange.

Another game the project supports is Hero Fighters Battle Royal, a simple and user-friendly battle royale that allows users to face off in duels or take on a whopping 20 opponents in an engaging battle. The gameplay is based on the rock-paper-scissors system, making for quick, but strategic matches, offering users rewards based on how high they get on the ranking system.

The company also caters to art connoisseurs, working on its Pieta—a social platform with NFT functions designed to promote digital art. As the digital art scene embraces NFTs as a distribution method, the technology is set to play more and more of a role in the art world, which makes Pieta a likely success for the company.

Xmanna: Reinventing sports fandom

For all the sports enthusiasts, Xmanna is building a full-fledged Metaverse experience that will bring them closer to their favourite teams. With three distinct products geared toward fans, leagues, and developers, Xmanna created a unique interactive platform bringing a whole new level of engagement to live games. Following its new partnership with David Beckham-owned MLS team Inter Miami CF, the company is ready to take on the wide world of sports.

Fans are using their phones more than ever during games, disconnecting from the moment and loosening their bonds with their favourite teams and players. Xmanna’s fan loyalty platform uses bespoke blockchain-based gamification features to foster an interactive experience for fans at home and in the stadium. Built on the Polygon network, it enables users to connect with teams in a fun and engaging way by playing games and earning collectibles using crypto or fiat currency.

Xmanna’s next steps include launching stadiums within the metaverse and selling NFTs that represent access rights to specific seats within the stadiums. Buyers can purchase lifetime season tickets to unlock exclusive features and perks within the digitized stadium. This enriched loyalty program goes beyond avatars, collectibles, and merchandise as seat owners will gain access to private concerts and other Metaverse entertainment events through Xmanna.

MultiNFT: All the rage in the metaverse

MultiNFT brings NFTs and music together into a full-fledged experience that will take its users straight to the roaring mosh pit or high-octane rave in the Metaverse. Founded in 2018 by musicians with deep connections in the metal and techno communities, the agency leverages their experience in the music industry to build a Metaverse experience that feels and sounds like a real live concert. To this end, MultiNFT recently finished building a three-story nightclub called Rage in the Festival District of Decentraland, an open-source 3D-virtual world platform. Rage will serve as a hub for Metaverse and NFT enthusiasts as well as musicians, artists, and their fans. In the nightclub, they can enjoy live music from world-famous DJs and buy NFT collectibles including art and in-game wearables.

Its user base expanding rapidly, MultiNFT is set to launch its native token, $MNFT. This token will serve as the primary currency in MultiNFT’s ecosystem and will be used to reward participants and NFT holders, facilitate liquidity pools, and unlock early access to special content including rare drops. The $MNFT can also be spent at arcades and events including live music performances.

With the launch of the native token, connections in the music industry, and plenty of experience with real-life shows, MultiNFT is creating a unique virtual space that seamlessly blends gaming with authentic live music.

OVR: NFTs for virtual landowners

OVR does today what Facebook wants the Metaverse to do tomorrow. The platform brings to the table a plethora of tools for organizing interactive VR and AR experiences for live events, Pokémon GO-styled games, tourism, and other industries. Its app allows users to visit live shows with their avatars based on facial scans and renders 3D objects for AR experiences with high precision using the camera on your phone.

The project has crowd-sourced a detailed map of the physical world, breaking it down into thousands of hexagons to which advertisers and VR/AR experience designers can add their content. To do so, though, they must be in control of this specific zone, and for that, they need to buy its NFT, called OVRLand, in an auction. NFTs work as certificates of ownership for the virtual land lots corresponding to real-world areas, in other words, enabling the owner to include ads, experiences, and events to the areas for which they have NFTs. OVRLand owners can also lease their spaces out to marketers and event managers.

OVR grants users an easy-to-use and convenient interface that enables users with even minimal design skills to work with 3D assets. It offers third-party developers an SDK, helping them build experiences and apps utilizing its VR/AR platform. The project runs its own native token, $OVR, listed on a multitude of popular exchanges, including PancakeSwap and UniSwap.

Written by Jason Rosenstein, Founder and CEO at Portion