Love them or hate them, nonfungible tokens are making serious headway worldwide. According to a Reuters report, sales of the crypto investment assets soared from just $13.7 million in the first six months of 2020 to a whopping $2.5 billion in the first half of last year. With Japanese game companies, in particular, beginning to embrace NFTs, 2022 could be the digital assets’ biggest year yet.

Primarily associated with images and video files, NFTs are data sets in a digital ledger that prove ownership. They’re not exactly new, with the first NFTs being launched in the mid-2010s. However, there is confusion over what NFTs represent, even among investors. They don’t necessary grant ownership or rights to physical pieces of work, most of which can still be freely disseminated online. People have reportedly paid as much as $69 million for a single NFT — and yet the same image can still be saved on a computer with a simple right click, free of charge. In their simplest form, NFTs are digital receipts and, ultimately, that’s what people are buying, not the work itself.

Still, there seems to be a market for NFTs, and some of Japan’s biggest game companies are eager to cater to it. In a New Year's Day letter, Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda referred to 2021 as “Year One” of NFTs and, without going into specifics, showed support for the technology, writing that he looked forward to when digital goods were “as familiar as dealings in physical goods.”