What Does Gartner’s Hype Cycle Tell Us About the Future of NFTs?

In this post, you will learn how Gartner’s Hype Cycle for emerging technologies works.

In 2021, Logan Paul paid $623,000 for this NFT

Today, his purchase is worth around $10.

Paul will be able to get over this loss. But does this price crash means that NFTs are dead?

It is not so easy. In fact, we may be just witnessing a real-time hype cycle.

Hype-cycle refers to a model developed by Gardner Inc. to represent the maturity, adoption, and social application of technologies.

Peak of Inflated Expectations

When a new technology is developed, sensational media stories and inflated expectations will trigger immense publicity until a “Peak of Inflated Expectations” is reached

In the past, we have witnessed that with the internet boom in the 90ies. Expectations were high, but at the end of the decade, the dot com bubble crashed.

I remember at that time that most people thought that the internet is over.

At least the commercial internet.

Trough of Disillusionment

I was 13 at that time and recall some boomers saying: “Making money online is impossible”.

We all know how this went.

This phase is called “Trough of Disillusionment”. All the inflated expectations are shattered. The media stops hyping but starts hating and the masses redirect their focus to other things.

Still, some believers and dreamers will continue to build the technology behind the scenes.

Ignored by the public, the struggle to get funding. That forces them to work on implementations that offer real-life solutions.

While most solutions offered in the hype phase were castles built on sand. during this phase, the foundation for more sustainable development is laid.

Slope of Enlightenment

With time some new ways to use the new technology will crystallize. While most companies and people will still remain skeptical, some early adopters start investing again.

This is the so-called “Slope of Enlightenment”, and this was the stage of the internet in the early 00s when companies like Facebook were founded.

Plateau of Productivity

Before you know it, mainstream adoption starts to take off. If the technology has more than a niche market then it will continue to grow as was the case with the internet.


Of course, there is no guarantee that NFTs will ever reach this stage. Gartner hype cycle is a theoretical model, not a natural law.

On the one hand, NFTs might literally be just Jpgs you can save by right-clicking with your mouse, but on the other hand, they maybe will take over some niches like as proof of payment for concert tickets or club memberships, or something we haven’t yet thought about, or the world.

We don’t know. Time will tell.

The one thing you should take away from the hype-cycle model is the following:

Don’t write off new developments too early. It’s normal that your expectations will be shattered in the beginning stages of new technologies.

But most things aren’t that easy to kill after all.