Note: For the purposes of respecting the value of the assets, I will not be sharing any images on this post. This is also to say there is nothing else stopping me.
Non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) have garnered much discussion over the past few months. NFT’s are irreplaceable media, often providing limited ownership or rights upon purchase. Their transactions are based on blockchain.
To explain how this works, let’s look at baseball card collecting. The sport is popular, and some of the collectibles are rare or sentimental, therefore, some are exceedingly valuable. Whether a card is genuine or fake can be determined using many processes, from using black lights, to the examining printing dots under a magnifying glass. Couldn’t you just appreciate pictures of the cards and save yourself millions of dollars? Collectors would tell you that isn’t the same.
Similarly, NFT’s are of limited supply, often modern artwork. Genuine NFT’s are backed by blockchain, a cryptographic network that verifies the identity of an object, and the transaction that took place. To verify the authenticity of an NFT, you only have to follow its digital paper trail.
Could this be a new avenue for artists to earn money, and for aesthetes to show support? The answer is yes. Artists determine the supply and initial price, and make money from 10% of the futures of the NFT’s in some cases. This means that as the art becomes more valuable, the artists are directly paid.
Will NFT’s be the new must-have collector’s items? They already are. The creator of tech giant Twitter sold his first micro-blog on the site as an NFT for $2.9 million. Maybe people are buying in the hopes to sell for more. Maybe some people just want to feel they own a piece of history. Regardless, an earthly reminder is of the right-click “Save image as…” feature on our browsers.
To me, NFT’s seem like cryptocurrency with tangible upsides; still a speculative asset, but with real-world uses. This is definitely something I will continue to keep an eye on.