Listen to the first segment of our new Twitter Spaces series on NFTs, blockchain, and trading on Upstream

By Anastasia Samaras

Last week, the Upstream team launched a new Twitter Spaces series, ‘Upstream Up Close’, featuring 10–15 minute conversations about NFTs, blockchain, and trading on Upstream. The first episode focused on NFTs in pop culture and trends, which explored the evolving world of NFTs from digital to physical collectibles, metaverses, and brands entering the space.

The conversation was with Vanessa, Upstream’s Head of Marketing, Amanda, Client Success Coordinator, and Anastasia, Digital Marketing Specialist, who shared their insights on the interesting NFTs emerging in pop culture.

The conversation delved into the “phygital” trend, which bridges the digital and physical worlds with the purpose of providing a unique interactive experience for the users. Also emphasized throughout the discussion was the wider digital shift, with the younger generation leading the adoption of web3 technologies and the creation and trading of NFTs, as they have grown up with virtual ownership and digital collectibles.

Key points discussed throughout the conversation:

  • NFTs in pop culture are evolving rapidly and are part of a broader cultural shift towards online fan engagement, digital rewards, and decentralized communities.
  • Phygital- the concept of using technology to bridge the digital world with the physical world with the purpose of providing a unique interactive experience for the users. This NFT trend of bridging physical with digital makes a lot of sense for reaching the everyday fan. Phygital NFTs can really help people wrap their heads around the concept and value of NFTs. At their core, NFTs represent digital ownership on the internet, which is where a huge part of our identities now live. We can see online personas wearing their favorite digital merch or showing off their collections in a metaverse just as they would in the physical world.
  • Using digital replica NFTs of physical items can foster a trading community under a brand’s umbrella for authenticated items to be sold and traded online, then redeemed for the physical item. A lot of the time people purchase collectibles with the purpose of reselling them Upstream enables this.
  • Any media can be tied to an NFT which invites artists to release songs, films, videos, and audio NFTs as well. This authenticity enforced by a blockchain can create scarcity and value in the digital world.
  • Since Upstream focuses primarily on fan engagement NFTs across sports, music, and entertainment we wanted things to be made accessible to people of all ages. It’s important to note that on Upstream we allow children under 18 to safely participate in NFT trading with custodial accounts where the minor’s account is tethered to their parent or guardian’s verified account. Using Upstream’s new Account-Management feature, parents can easily transfer funds, NFTs, and securities to the child’s Upstream blockchain wallet. They are then free to safely collect and trade NFTs and securities. Giving NFT access to fans of all levels marks what we believe to be a novel step for the industry!
  • Former NBA All-Star and Memphis Tigers Coach Penny Hardaway, who has one of highest selling NBA sneakers in the industry, is coming out with his first NFT campaign on Upstream selling redeemable NFTs. Penny Hardaway is also a proud Upstream brand ambassador.
  • Redeemable NFTs on Upstream enable buyers to redeem an item or experience while still being able to hold or trade the underlying digital collectible. Upon redemption, the NFT unlocking the item or experience is replaced with an evolved NFT that can be held as a collector’s item, proof of attendance, proof of authenticity, or for future trading.
  • We see NFTs integrating nicely with the younger generation who has grown up in a digital world where online gaming and virtual worlds are the norms. Games like Roblox and Fortnite have introduced them to the concept of a metaverse, which really is just a virtual space where users can interact with each other and digital assets. In these games, players are purchasing and customizing their characters with wearable collectibles and skins, which has increased their understanding and appreciation of digital assets.

Word of the segment: Non-fungible token ‘NFT’

NFTs “or non-fungible tokens” represent ownership of a particular digital or physical item. The ownership is recorded on a blockchain that can’t be altered, meaning you’ll always have verifiable proof of this ownership. At their core, NFTs represent digital ownership on the internet, which is where a huge part of our identities now live.

Listen Now
Listen here:

If you missed the episode or you’re interested in learning more about NFTs in pop culture and trends, listen anytime, anywhere by clicking the link above.

Upstream is a MERJ Exchange market. We’re the first regulated securities and NFT market powered by blockchain technology. We built our NFT market for the 99% of the world that may not know what NFTs, gas fees, or Metamask are. We simplified the process to create, purchase, and trade NFTs with a few clicks all from our user-friendly trading app. No gas fees are charged to users, no upfront costs, and you create your blockchain wallet directly in the Upstream app.

Stay tuned for our next episode, which will be on the evolution of NFTs coming out this Tuesday, May 9th at 11 am EST!


This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell securities or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities in any jurisdiction where such offer or solicitation is not permitted.

NFTs have no royalties, equity ownership, or dividends. NFTs are for utility, collection, redemption, or display purposes only. Anyone may buy and sell NFTs on Upstream.

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