2024 Ecosystem Predictions — NFTs and the Power of Community

Contributed by Josh Stanley, Cartwheel Studio

We conducted a video interview with Josh, and asked ChatGPT to summarize his prediction, and this was the result: 

TL;DR: The rise and fall of NFTs highlighted the potential of community-driven perceived value, offering established retail brands an opportunity to harness communities for unique retail experiences, alongside key trends like hybrid shopping, AI personalization, and sustainability.


The fluctuating fortunes of NFTs in 2021 and 2022 underscored the significant impact of community-driven initiatives. Small, aligned communities rapidly expanded, fueling demand for digital assets despite their inherent lack of value. This phenomenon, driven by a mix of perceived value and speculative behavior, reveals the potential for retail sectors to harness community power. By leveraging the power of these “pop-up” communities, established brands can create unique experiences and unlock new forms of perceived value, leading to innovative demand-generation strategies.

The current market, and its thought leaders, overestimate the desire for individual personalization. Contrary to the “personalization hype”, humans strongly prefer belonging and identification with groups stemming from a deep-rooted tribal mentality. True personalization should focus on facilitating connections within niche communities, where individuals strive to find where they belong or their place within workplace sub-groups, education segments, or within broader societal groups.

The speculative NFT craze of 2021 and early 2022 showcased a unique aspect of this community dynamic as rallying points for individuals to align with novel, often ephemeral brands. These digital membership tokens represented more than just speculative assets; they were symbols of shared beliefs and communal identity. The excitement generated by these ‘clubs’ demonstrated the untapped potential for brands to foster and capitalize on community bonds.

In conclusion, the rise of NFTs and the enduring power of communities indicate a significant opportunity for brands. Establishing and nurturing community connections can lead to a loyal, engaged customer base. While some luxury brands have begun exploring these possibilities, there remains a vast, largely untapped potential for more extensive, resource-rich enterprises to innovate and lead in this space. The future of branding and customer engagement lies in effectively integrating brand identity with community values, creating a new paradigm of brand evangelism and loyalty.


Q: ChatGPT, What are the most relevant trends for operating a retail store?

A: Here are the most relevant trends:

  1. Hybrid Shopping: To cater to both online and in-store shopping.
  2. Frictionless Delivery: Ensuring a smooth delivery process for online orders.
  3. AI and Personalization: To provide a tailored shopping experience.
  4. In-store Efficiency: Streamlining the in-store experience for efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  5. Social Commerce: Leveraging social media platforms for marketing and sales.
  6. Sustainable Shopping: Reflecting the growing consumer interest in environmentally responsible products and practices.

These trends are crucial as they address the current consumer expectations for convenience, personalization, efficiency, and sustainability in their shopping experiences.

About Josh:

Josh Stanley is an experienced leader, serial entrepreneur, and digital product expert based out of Northwest Arkansas. Josh is currently Co-founder and CEO at Cartwheel Studio. Prior to Cartwheel, Josh was a linchpin in years of double digit growth at RevUnit, and led the organization as President through a private equity transaction in 2019. In addition to his recent experience, Josh has co-founded six technology businesses and spent over a decade at Fortune 500 ecommerce companies.