Getting started with NFTs for your brand

By Anastasia Samaras

The market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) reached $41 billion in 2021

A diverse number of brands are committing resources to integrate NFTs into their Web 3.0 strategies. Navigating a new space can be daunting, but we believe the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to entering the future of fan engagement and digital merchandise.

So how should your brand proceed into the NFT marketplace while protecting your image and consumers? Here’s how to get started.

1. Review your brand assets.

Look at your content and assets that have value tied to them. Art, film, music, tickets — virtually anything can be made into an NFT these days, but that does not mean everything should be made into an NFT. It is important to brainstorm and gather strong relevant content or media that you think could have a digital footprint in a way that aligns with your existing brand goals.

For example, the CryptoKick’s² patent by Nike pairs NFTs with physical shoe releases. A customer receives a corresponding NFT after making a purchase with a registered vendor. If the shoes are then sold or traded, the digital token is transferred alongside them. The NFT collection goes further to allow ‘breeding’ of two NFTs to create NFT ‘offspring’ that can be made into custom sneakers.

This innovative design approach is not tethered by the physical world and simultaneously generates exposure to a new digital fan base. Whether your business is a part of a niche market or a larger diverse community — with a solid approach, the NFT market offers a new way to capitalize on your valuable assets.

2. Select the appropriate NFT marketplace.

There are NFT platforms that specialize in particular sectors of the NFT market. For example, Rarible focuses on artists; NBA Top Shot focuses on the basketball fan community and their love for the sport; and Upstream focuses on fan engagement NFTs for athletes, musicians, and entertainers.

When choosing an NFT platform, you will need to take into consideration associated fees, gas fees, carbon footprint, and security. Gas fees are typically charged to creators and buyers by most NFT trading platforms for completing blockchain transactions. It’s also typical for platforms to charge minting fees, which are the fees associated with turning a digital file into an NFT.

The most common blockchain powering NFTs is Ethereum. Unfortunately, the surge in NFT traffic is causing increased congestion on the main Ethereum blockchain layer which is emphasizing challenges such as rising gas prices, scalability concerns, and a growing environmental effect.

NFT platforms have also faced scrutiny over authenticity, whereas people have begun to produce or sell NFTs they don’t own. This could lead to problems with brand image on NFT platforms where identity verification and other investor protections aren’t prioritized. Entities will have to keep all of this in mind when selecting their partner NFT marketplace.

3. Consider the user journey.

To continue to engage your fans you will want to make the user journey as seamless as possible. You do not want to dissuade your fans or consumers from participating in your NFT collections with tedious multi-step processes that require a level of blockchain knowledge just to get their foot in the door.

Finding a coherent, transparent platform that is open to all levels of experience will be one of the most important decisions throughout this process. When inviting fans to participate in your company’s NFT collection or airdrop, you have a responsibility to protect fans and invite them into a safe NFT marketplace and ecosystem.

NFTs on Upstream

Upstream, a MERJ exchange market, is the first securities exchange to offer both NFT and securities trading. We are a layer-2 Ethereum marketplace that has created a streamlined user journey with in-app wallet creation, integrated compliance checks, and no gas fees charged to users. This allows NFT creators to sell free, low-cost, or premium NFTs to consumers of all levels who can participate using cash, credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and the USDC stablecoin. Launching NFTs on Upstream can bring the power of digital merchandise to your brand and generate continuous NFT revenue streams.

Creating and selling NFTs on Upstream means…

  • Free NFT minting and no gas fees charged to you. This enables you to sell thousands of free, low-cost, or premium NFTs at no upfront cost to you. As a company built on Ethereum, we have always been forward-thinking when building out Upstream’s blockchain trading technology to address scalability, gas fees, and our environmental impact.
  • A seamless 3-step NFT experience for your fans to participate. Upstream keeps the process simple with in-app wallet creation, integrated compliance checks, and no gas fees charged to users so that you only need to focus on sharing the opportunity with fans. Leverage your personal brand to market the opportunity to fans while we take care of NFT structure, technology fees, minting fees, and gas costs.
Upstream Simplified User Journey
  • All personally identifiable information is secure and in accordance with the most stringent global data protection rules. For your fans, we’ve designed a next-generation user journey that pushes all blockchain intricacies under the hood. Upstream verifies all buyers and sellers to maintain a fair marketplace throughout your NFTs’ lifecycles. With all the news about potential incoming regulations, we are proud to have taken a proactive approach that protects creators and their fans.
  • The potential for continuous NFT revenue streams. Connect with fans through digital merchandise and reward-based NFTs, all from a user-friendly trading app where fans can claim or purchase NFTs using PayPal, Credit or Debit Card, USD, or USDC digital currency. Withdraw profits immediately after your NFT sales and enjoy continued engagement from a growing community!

How your brand could benefit from NFTs

NFTs transformed the market for digital assets by introducing a system of verified digital ownership. For brands, entering into this new space can be overwhelming, but at the same time, there is a chance of missing the opportunity to capitalize on the future of digital fan engagement.

With no signs of slowing down, NFTs are drawing the attention of notable athletes, musicians, artists, and celebrities. Audiences are eager to interact with their favorite celebrities in new, more engaging ways which NFTs could hold the key to. Holding a celebrity NFT, for example, might generate access to special never-before-seen content, virtual meet-and-greets, and let fans feel more connected to the initiatives of their favorite celebrities or athletes.

Digital merchandise, exclusive memberships, tickets, and other reward or collector items are just some of the ways NFTs can become sources of meaningful revenue for your business.

Curious brands, NFT creators, or sponsors can reach Upstream at Visit to learn more.


Chainalysis | 2 CryptoKick’s |

About Upstream

Upstream, a MERJ Exchange Market, is a fully regulated global stock exchange for digital securities. Powered by Horizon’s proprietary matching engine technology, the exchange enables investors to trade shares in IPOs, NFTs, U.S., and international dual-listed equities, and celebrity ventures directly from the app Interested issuers can reach the team at

About Horizon

Horizon is a fintech company that builds and powers global securities exchanges with an integrated suite of software for compliant issuance, management, and secondary trading of securities. Their in-house solutions combine Wall Street and Silicon Valley to power the next generation of securities offerings and trading in the U.S. and globally. Learn more at


Upstream is a MERJ Exchange market. MERJ Exchange is a licensed Securities Exchange, an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges, and a full member of ANNA. MERJ supports global issuers of traditional and digital securities through the entire asset life cycle from issuance to trading, clearing, settlement, and registry. It operates a fair and transparent marketplace in line with international best practices and principles of operations of financial markets. Upstream does not endorse or recommend any public or private securities bought or sold on its app. Upstream does not offer investment advice or recommendations of any kind. All brokerage services offered by Upstream are intended for self-directed clients who make their own investment decisions without aid or assistance from Upstream. All customers are subject to the rules and regulations of their jurisdiction. By accessing the site or app, you agreed to be bound by its terms of use and privacy policy. Company and security listings on Upstream are only suitable for investors who are familiar with and willing to accept the high risk associated with speculative investments, often in early and development stage companies. There can be no assurance the valuation of any particular company’s securities is accurate or in agreement with the market or industry comparative valuations. Investors must be able to afford market volatility and afford the loss of their investment. Companies listed on Upstream are subject to significant ongoing corporate obligations including, but not limited to disclosure, filings, and notification requirements, as well compliance with applicable quantitative and qualitative listing standards.

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