Gen Z is the generation of the ‘click’ transaction. We make our most monumental and our most trivial decisions with a swift click. We apply to college and purchase a car with the same motion as we look for love and order a latte. While convenient, this form of decision-making to procure, like, and match has stripped the proportionality from the decision and hence, the transaction. The fact that making a life-altering investment, such as renting a house, can be done with the same degree of ease and efficacy as ordering a salad perpetuates a disregard for value and currency.
Couple this disregard with the growing prevalence and relevance of crypto and you have countless Gen Z’s clicking away purchasing NFTs, the item du jour, without thought. To put this discussion into context, a study conducted by Civiscience in April 2021 found the majority of people interested in NFTs are between the ages of 18 and 24, predominantly Gen Z. And the world of NFTs is certainly not a small one. OpenSea, the world’s largest trading platform has a market cap of $13.3 billion.
As I sit in my college coffee shop or stroll around campus, I overhear the few who have taken out their headphones talking about the crypto they have just purchased or the NFTs they plan on acquiring. I’m guilty of engaging in quite a few of these conversations myself. The theme of discussion is not whether the Genesis Zed Run horse is superior to the Legendary. Rather, it is that people are openly saying they don’t understand how NFTs work. Despite this, we are acquiring them, whether it be a $2 purchase or a $1000 purchase, because a combination of Tik Tok and our peers have deemed the NFT as the new “it” item. It’s rather troubling to think the next generation of investors does not even spend the time to research the investments we are pouring dollars into.
The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, has always stressed the importance of knowing what you’re investing in. Buffet doesn’t allocate capital based on what’s trending on social media. Rather, he researches the industry, the management team, the growth potential, a depth of analysis foreign to many Gen Z investors. Buffett's approach is the antithesis to Gen Z’s approach to NFTs, a cycle that resembles the investment patterns in meme stocks whereby people purchased stocks without any fundamental basis.
As Gen Z enters the world of investing our own money, our laziness and decision to make investments based solely on what is trendy might be more detrimental to success than a plunging stock price. To be even more specific, in the context of NFTs people should be researching the sustainability of the token and asking themselves whether the product will create value over time by generating transactions over time. Yet few are doing this analysis. For example, the typical Gen Zer is simply buying crypto, then purchasing a Zed Run horse to race in the metaverse impulsively as there has been a drop. Instead, one should look at the exchange rate between dollar to bitcoin, research past horses that have performed well on “Zed Run Horse Stats” platform, and compare similar horses to the ones they are considering buying. This is just one example showing the leg work that should go into making an investment.
Ignorance, when it comes to investment, is not bliss. Crypto is a new language, and, as with any language, you don’t go from being a novice to fluency overnight. Yet most of us members of Gen Z are going from utter ignorance to engaging with the “language” as if we use it daily at our place of work. The only difference in situations is to work in a foreign language, you have no choice but to learn that language whereas in the latter case, there is no one forcing you to understand the basics. Laziness is not a problem that can be fixed imminently. But, Gen Z, we need to do better. If we spent a quarter of the time reading about NFTs as we do talking about them, we would be in a far better position to ensure we are making intelligent investments.