The use of renewables materials for industrial applications is becoming impellent due to the increasing demand of alternatives to scarce and unrenewable petroleum supplies. In this regard, nanocrystalline cellulose, NCC, derived from cellulose, the most abundant biopolymer, is one of the most promising materials. NCC has unique features, interesting for the development of new materials: the abundance of the source cellulose, its renewability and environmentally benign nature, its mechanical properties and its nano-scaled dimensions open a wide range of possible properties to be discovered. One of the most promising uses of NCC is in polymer matrix nanocomposites, because it can provide a significant reinforcement. This review provides an overview on this emerging nanomaterial, focusing on extraction procedures, especially from lignocellulosic biomass, and on technological developments and applications of NCC-based materials. Challenges and future opportunities of NCC-based materials will be are discussed as well as obstacles remaining for their large use.