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NFTs are seeing a billion-dollar boom – and gig workers are cashing in

NFTs are seeing a billion-dollar boom – and gig workers are cashing in
Written by Publishing Team

When Stefan Prodanovic began experimenting with graphic design at age 13, jointly creating digital games with a school friend who worked on the coding, he never could have anticipated the hobby would turn into a rather lucrative business into his adulthood. Today, Prodanovic is earning $20,000 a month creating artwork for non-fungible token (NFT) collections.

The 25-year-old graphic designer from Bosnia, who has become a top-rated seller on Fiverr — an online marketplace for professional freelancers — creating logos over the past three years using the website, recently forayed into NFTs after being approached to work on a collection for a project last year. Once he expanded his services on Fiverr to include NFT-specific artwork, his monthly income doubled and he had had to hire workers to keep up with the demand.

As the gig economy continues to grow rapidly, freelancers like Prodanovic have managed to turn side hustles into money-making careers. And the fast-growing world of Web3 is providing even more opportunities for freelance workers to generate income from services related to NFTs, the metaverse, and cryptocurrencies.

“NFTs are still an unexplored area and so many people are trying to get into it, and I’m happy I can be part of that,” Prodanovic said.

Fiverr found that 64% of US-based freelancers using its website have now profited from selling NFT-related services, according to a new survey. The company’s data also reveals a 278% surge between Q3 to Q4 of 2021 in the amount of workers on the platform listing gigs for NFT-related services, with worldwide freelance earnings in those jobs jumping 374% in the same period.

Visitors read about Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, during the opening weekend of the Seattle NFT Museum in Seattle, Washington on January 29, 2022. - Using the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) transform anything from illustrations to memes into virtual collectors'  items that cannot be duplicated.  (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

Visitors read about Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, during the opening weekend of the Seattle NFT Museum in Seattle, Washington on January 29, 2022. – Using the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) transform anything from illustrations to memes into virtual collectors’ items that cannot be duplicated. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s not just freelancers trying to be part of the NFT marketplace,” Yoav Hornug, group manager for creative verticals, told Yahoo Finance. “On the demand side, we see more businesses ordering these services.”

NFTs, unique crypto assets sold and traded using blockchain technology, exploded last year into a $27 billion business — and signs point to that being just the start. Last month, investment bank Jefferies forecasts the NFT market could top $35 million in 2022, and over $80 billion by 2025. The projection appears to be supported anecdotally, too: major companies including Disney (DIS), Gamestop (GME), and Nike ( NKE) have listed relevant jobs in recent months as they build out teams to focus on NFTs and the metaverse.

Once Fiverr began noticing an uptick in searches and tags on its website for NFT-related work last year, the company added NFT gigs as a standalone category on the website to create a more professionally-structured way for sellers and buyers to connect on such gigs . Hornug said that the type of gigs are wide-ranging and include game development, graphic design, architecture, social media management, and writing articles about NFTs. Currently, Fiverr has services listed under NFT Artwork, NFT Services, and NFT Marketplaces.

Of respondents to the survey, 54% said that they can see themselves earning an additional $2,600 to $5,200 per month monetizing skills related to blockchain technology.

Prodanovic told Yahoo Finance he’s on pace to close the month out at $30,000, selling his work at three different price tiers. The basic costs $500 and offers one base art to use for 100 NFTs. The standard costs $1,000 for one base art that would make 1,000 NFTs, and the premium is $2,500 gives a customer one base art that can make 10,000 NFTs that can be used and minted for a collection.

In the UK, Adam Javaid, 26, and Sam Pitman, 23 expect to rake in $50,000 on Fiverr this month creating smart contracts, or the programming that deploys NFTs onto the blockchain — and that’s just after adding the service to their lineup of offerings two weeks ago

Javaid and Pitman, college friends, both left full-time jobs in cybersecurity and used Fiverr to help create their e-commerce and digital marketing business and began transitioning into blockchain-focused gigs six months ago, after Facebook’s rebrand to Meta resulted in a jump in inquiries from prospective clients for services related to Web3.

Pitman said they transitioned their agency to a Web3 focus and are looking to expand outside of Fivver in the near future and even open a physical office.

“It’s not just going to be small projects in the long term,” Pitman said. “These small projects are great for us, but there will be much larger scale ones when corporate companies start understanding the real-use case behind an actual NFT itself.”

Pitman is already getting interest from bigger established clients. Most recently, a prominent nightclub in Miami solicited them to create a series of NFTs.

“It’s been pretty nonstop,” Javaid said. “It’s looking great for business.”

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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Publishing Team