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NFTs are seeing a multibillion-dollar surge, and gig workers are benefiting

'It’s been pretty nonstop'

Stefan Prodanovic started playing with visual design at the age of 13, co-creating digital games with a school mate who worked on the coding. He had no idea the pastime would evolve into a pretty profitable company in his adulthood. Prodanovic now makes $20,000 per month by making artwork for non-fungible token (NFT) collections.

The 25-year-old Bosnian graphic designer, who has been a top-rated seller on Fiverr — an online marketplace for professional freelancers — over the last three years by generating logos on the website, recently forayed into NFTs after being contacted to work on a collection for a project last year. His monthly revenue more than quadrupled once he extended his Fiverr services to include NFT-specific artwork, and he has had to add people to keep up with the demand.

As the gig economy expands, freelancers like Prodanovic have been able to transform side hustles into lucrative businesses. And the rapidly expanding Web3 world is opening up even more chances for freelancers to earn money by delivering services connected to NFTs, the metaverse, and cryptocurrencies.

"NFTs are still an undiscovered field, and there are so many people wanting to get into it, and I'm glad I can be a part of it," Prodanovic said.

According to a recent poll, 64 percent of U.S.-based freelancers utilizing Fiverr's website have already earned from offering NFT-related services. The company's research also shows a 278 percent increase in the number of employees on the platform offering gigs for NFT-related services between Q3 and Q4 of 2021, with global freelancing earnings in similar tasks increasing 374 percent over the same time.

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, which are one-of-a-kind crypto assets sold and exchanged using blockchain technology, burst into a $27 billion sector last year — and all indications are that this is only the beginning. According to Jefferies, the NFT industry might reach $35 billion in 2022 and more than $80 billion by 2025. Anecdotally, the forecast looks to be backed as well: big corporations such as Disney (DIS), Gamestop (GME), and Nike (NKE) have recently offered related positions as they build up teams to concentrate on NFTs and the metaverse.

When Fiverr saw an increase in searches and tags for NFT-related work on its website last year, the firm established NFT jobs as a distinct category to offer a more professionally-structured manner for sellers and buyers to interact on such projects. According to Hornug, the types of employment available include game creation, visual design, architecture, social media management, and authoring articles about NFTs. Fiverr now offers services under NFT Artwork, NFT Services, and NFT Marketplaces.

According to the poll, 54 percent of respondents believe they may make an extra $2,600 to $5,200 per month by monetizing abilities connected to blockchain technology.

Prodanovic told Yahoo Finance that he's on track to make $30,000 this month by selling his art at three different pricing points. The basic version costs $500 and includes one base art that may be used for 100 NFTs. The ordinary price is $1,000 for one base art that can produce 1,000 NFTs, and the premium price is $2,500 for one base art that can produce 10,000 NFTs that can be used and minted for a collection.

In the United Kingdom, Adam Javaid, 26, and Sam Pitman, 23, hope to earn $50,000 on Fiverr this month by building smart contracts, or the code that puts NFTs into the blockchain — and that's only two weeks after adding the service to their offering.

Javaid and Pitman, college friends, both left full-time jobs in cybersecurity and used Fiverr to help launch their e-commerce and digital marketing businesses. They started transitioning into blockchain-focused gigs six months ago, after Facebook's rebranding to Meta resulted in an increase in inquiries from prospective clients for Web3-related services.

Pitman said that they have converted their firm to a Web3 emphasis and are hoping to grow outside of Fivver and perhaps create a physical location in the near future.

"In the long run, it's not going to be simply tiny initiatives," Pitman said. "These modest initiatives are excellent for us, but there will be far bigger ones when corporate firms grasp the real-world use of a true NFT."

Pitman has already received attention from larger, more established customers. Recently, a well-known Miami nightclub approached them about developing a series of NFTs.

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

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