Venture capitalist Bill Tai knew NFTs would be big following Cryptokitties launch and offers this advice for new investors

Cryptokitties.
, by the same company behind Top Shot, was one of the first popular versions of NFT collectibles. CryptoKitties

Venture capitalist and avid kite surfer Bill Tai said he knew NFTs would be big when he discovered the feline-centric blockchain game called CryptoKitties.

“Cats and the internet have always been a great thing,” he told CNBC at the Crypto Finance Conference in Switzerland Wednesday. “And when I saw the CryptoKitties exchange, I just knew that it was going to be something someday.”

CryptoKitties are some of the earliest NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, in existence. Since the launch in November 2017, hundreds of thousands of players have collected, sold, and bred new colorful ethereum-based internet cats.

NFTs, which are digital pieces of art tied to blockchain technology, have since boomed in sales. In 2021, sales topped $41 billion amid an explosion of interest in CryptoPunks, a surge of new entrants, and major one-off bids, like the $69 million sale of Beeple’s “Everydays.”

Tai, who has an MBA from Harvard, was an early angel investor in DapperLabs, the company behind CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot. He told CNBC that NFTs are the future of assets, adding that stocks and real estate will be one of the many things turned into digital collectibles.

“It’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s a question of when. You could put land titles on it, real estate, art, anything. It’s the most efficient way over time to assign ownership of any asset.”

As for how to begin investing in NFTs, he advised people should look for things they care about that have a strong community backing. Digital collectibles, he said, give a persona and “an emotive feeling to a digital asset. It makes it very real to the person who buys it.”

“So if you see a strong community behind something, it’s worth investigating,” he told CNBC.