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The Benefits of Fractional NFTs

August 31, 2023

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded in popularity over the past few years. From digital art and collectibles to virtual real estate and gaming assets, NFTs are shaking up multiple industries. However, the high prices of desirable NFTs put them out of reach for many people. This is where fractional NFTs come in.
Fractional NFTs allow people to own a portion of an NFT, making them more accessible and opening up new opportunities. In this blog post, we’ll explore what fractional NFTs are, their use cases, and the benefits they offer compared to whole NFTs.

What are Fractional NFTs?
A fractional NFT represents partial ownership of an NFT. Let's say there is a rare CryptoPunk NFT worth $100,000. This is far too expensive for most people to afford.
With fractional NFTs, that single CryptoPunk can be divided into smaller pieces, like 100 shares worth $1,000 each. Now, 100 different people can each own 1/100 of the CryptoPunk NFT.
So in summary:

  • Fractional NFTs split a single NFT into multiple shares or tokens
  • Each fractional token represents partial ownership of the underlying NFT
  • Owners of fractions share rights to the NFT based on the percentage they own

This opens up NFT investing and collecting to more people by reducing the buy-in cost.

What is an Example of a Fractional NFT?
One of the most well-known fractional NFT platforms is Fractional. art.
Here's an example of how it works:

  1. An artist mints an NFT of their artwork called "Golden Gate Bridge"
  2. The NFT is listed on Fractional. art for $100
  3. Fractional. art programmatically splits the NFT into 100 fractions each worth $1
  4. Collectors can buy the fractional tokens on the platform with a minimum purchase of $1
  5. Ownership and rights to the underlying NFT are divided based on the number of fractions each collector holds

So instead of one person owning the "Golden Gate Bridge" NFT for $100, now 100 people can own a piece of it for just $1 each. This makes the artwork much more accessible.
Many other fractional NFT platforms work on similar principles, slicing up digital assets into more affordable pieces.

What is the Use Case of NFT Real Estate?
One of the most promising use cases for fractional NFTs is virtual real estate. Full virtual land NFTs can be extremely expensive, with premium plots going for hundreds or even millions of dollars.
Fractional real estate NFTs allow investors to buy into coveted areas like Metaverse boroughs or virtual world parcels at a lower cost. Even owning 1% of a highly-valued piece of virtual land could be lucrative as the metaverse grows.
For example, Republic Realm bought a virtual Atari gaming world called Atari Island in Decentraland for $900,000. They fractionalized it into parcels, with the cheapest plot costing around $20. This allowed over 1,600 individual investors to get a piece of the valuable metaverse land.
Virtual real estate is still speculative, but fractional NFTs make it possible for more people to get exposure to this emerging digital asset class. The fractions can be traded freely, creating secondary market opportunities.

What is a Fractionalized NFT?
Fractionalized NFTs and fractional NFTs refer to the same concept - splitting an NFT into smaller ownership shares.
Some key points about fractionalized NFTs:

  • The fractions act as ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum, while the underlying NFT is an ERC-721 token
  • The fractions represent ownership rights and access to the original NFT based on the percentage owned
  • Fractionalized NFTs allow shared ownership of NFTs without having to split the asset itself
  • On-chain standards like ERC-1155 (multi-token standard) enable NFT fractions functionality

For example, fractionalized CryptoPunks are ERC-20 tokens that represent partial ownership of CryptoPunk NFTs. Each fraction tracks ownership of the punk graphic, commercial rights, and the ability to display it.
Fractionalizing creates smaller bite-sized tokens rooted in scarcer assets like top NFT collections, metaverse land, and more.

What is an Example of a Fractional Share?
Fractional shares are a traditional finance concept similar to fractional NFT ownership.
With stocks, fractional shares represent owning part of a single share of stock.
For example:

  • Company XYZ is trading at $500 per share
  • An investor buys 0.5 fractional shares for $250
  • They now own half of one full $500 share
  • The investor gets dividend payments based on owning 50% of a share

Fractional stock programs from brokerages like Robinhood, SoFi, and Charles Schwabb increase equity access for small investors. Someone with just $100 can own slivers of expensive stocks like Amazon.
Similarly, fractional NFTs split expensive digital assets into accessible bite-sized interests. Owning 0.1 of a rare NFT can be easier than affording a whole one.
Both fractional shares and NFTs benefit smaller investors by removing high entry barriers. Fractional ownership is a powerful concept that's expanding from stocks to alternative assets.

What is an Example of Fractional?
Here are some common examples of fractional ownership and assets:

  • Fractional real estate - own part of a property through crowdfunding
  • Fractional art - own sections of a large piece of art
  • Fractional sports cards - own fractional interests in rare collectibles
  • Fractional stock shares - own portions of full shares
  • Fractional NFTs - own percentages of NFTs
  • Timeshares - shared ownership of vacation properties
  • Fractional yacht ownership - co-own and share yachts
  • Fractional private jets - own hours on a private jet

Anything scarce and expensive can potentially be fractionalized. This makes ownership more flexible, accessible, and liquid. Instead of one person owning something outright, fractions enable shared ownership.

Benefits of Fractional NFTs
Now that we've covered the fractional NFT basics, let's dig into the unique advantages they offer compared to whole NFTs:

More Affordable Entry Point
The number one benefit of fractional NFTs is reduced cost. As we saw earlier, dividing a $100,000 NFT into 1,000 $100 fractions drastically lowers the buy-in price.
Affordability opens up investing and collecting opportunities to more individuals. Whole NFTs with high price tags can exclude many from participating.
Fractional NFTs have no minimum investment amount. Platforms let people own fractions starting at just a few dollars. This is perfect for small investors and collectors.

Access to Rare and Elite NFTs
Another major perk is accessibility to rare blue chip NFTs. Items like Bored Apes and CryptoPunks are attainable only for wealthy crypto holders. Their prices can run into the millions!
With fractionalization, anyone can own a piece of elite NFTs. Every day investors couldn't dream of buying a whole $200k CryptoPunk. But snagging a 0.5% fraction is possible and offers exposure to a top brand.
Platforms focusing on blue-chip NFT fractions give broader access to sought-after digital assets. The ability to own fractions of rare collectibles adds more diversity to portfolios.

Greater Liquidity
Fractional NFTs tend to be more liquid than whole NFTs. It's easier finding buyers for smaller $50 or $100 fractions than $50k+ full NFTs.
Lower transaction costs also improve liquidity. Trading a $100 fraction triggers much lower gas fees than transferring an entire NFT.
With fractional real estate NFTs, for example, investors can cash out of individual parcels while keeping ownership in larger metaverse properties. This piecemeal liquidity isn't possible when holding full virtual land plots.
Overall, the bite-sized and affordable nature of fractional NFTs attracts more users, buyers, and sellers. This results in more active secondary markets compared to many whole NFTs.

Shared Ownership Experience
Owning fractionals creates a shared experience around coveted NFTs. Instead of a single whale owning an asset, a community of holders share rights.
Fractional platforms often have social features that let fraction holders chat, collaborate, and jointly manage assets. Shared custody can make owning NFTs more fun and engaging.
For real-world collectibles like cars or watches, fractionalization enables new social dynamics. Small groups can co-own an asset and coordinate sharing it.
Shared interests strengthen communities around valuable NFTs and digital goods. This communal aspect is unique to fractionals.

Potential for Investment Gains
Although risky and speculative, fractional NFTs offer investment upside potential. If the value of the underlying NFT rises, the increased demand applies to all fractions.
Let's say you own 1% of a fractionalized Bored Ape currently valued at $300k. If that Bored Ape later sells for $500k, your 1% stake price effectively doubles as well.
Despite just owning a sliver, your fractional interest gains value aligned with the NFT itself. This turns fractions into leverageable plays on rising blue chip prices.

Governance Rights
Most fractional NFT platforms grant governance rights proportional to the percentage owned. Major decisions about the underlying NFT are put to a fractional holder vote.
For example, owners of a fractionalized metaverse parcel could vote on whether to develop virtual buildings on the land. This ability to weigh in on asset use cases isn't possible when owning tiny slivers of stocks.
Allowing fractional owners to vote, make proposals, and share management decisions helps engage the community. It also reduces centralized control by fractional platforms.

Overall - More Participation in Web3
At a high level, fractional NFTs promote wider participation in web3 and decentralized ownership models. By lowering buy-in costs, fractionalization makes the blockchain more inclusive.
With whole NFTs and many tokens, wealth tends to concentrate among a few early movers and crypto whales. Fractionals enable a more distributed user base to benefit from digital asset growth.
For creators, fractional NFTs unlock new direct-to-consumer revenue streams. Fans can directly support artists and causes by buying affordable tokenized creations.
Widely available fractional NFT investing and collecting could be a game changer for mass Web3 adoption.

Evaluating Fractional NFT Platforms
As fractional NFTs gain traction, more platforms are launching to allow minting and trading fractions. Here are some key factors to evaluate:
Security - Does the platform use leading security and custody solutions?
What measures prevent fractional scams?

  • Team - The team's blockchain expertise and track record with asset fractionalization.
  • Underlying Asset Quality - Top platforms secure rare, sought-after NFTs and virtual lands for fractionalization.
  • Community Trust - Strong support and usage from collectors, metaverse enthusiasts, and NFT influencers.
  • Ease of Use - Smooth onboarding, accessible trading, and intuitive user experience even for crypto newcomers.
  • Social Features - Ways to engage with other fraction holders like forums and collaborative management.
  • Fees - Fractional platforms should charge reasonable fees for minting, transactions, and other services.
  • Technical Implementation - Ideally utilizes standards like ERC-20, ERC-721, and ERC-1155 to integrate well across web3 apps.

The fractional NFT space is still young and evolving. But picking trusted platforms with strong technical chops and community ties is key, like with any crypto sector.

Fractional NFTs expand access and open up opportunities in Web3. By splitting expensive blue chip NFTs into more attainable pieces, fractionals enable broader participation. While risky as a speculative asset class, fractional NFTs allow smaller investors to gain exposure to rare digital goods.
We've only scratched the surface of use cases like fractional virtual real estate and collectibles. New metaverse and NFT projects can consider fractionalization to drive consumer adoption. Overall, fractional ownership models have the potential to make Web3 more inclusive.
Consider adding fractional NFTs as a small portion of your crypto portfolio. Shop for deals, track promising collections and join vibrant communities co-owning coveted digital assets. Just like their whole counterparts, fractional NFTs are an exciting new frontier.

NFT Marketplace Development is one of the promising blockchain development services to help brands kick-start their journey in the NFT space.


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