Do you have a nice piece of art in your home? Or a stack of baseball trading cards from 30+ years ago? What about old Pokémon cards? Maybe a comic collection, or a cool painting from an art festival a few years back? In the digital age, it can be sad to think that these once-unique and collectible items no longer hold the same value they once did. When art can be easily replicated online, those special items you have become not-so-special anymore.
Let's talk NFTs
Or are they still special? Well, that’s what NFTs aim to do. Before we keep using the acronym and lose you completely, NFTs stand for non-fungible tokens. Simply put, these are electronic identifiers, capable of confirming if digital collectibles are real. The Verge explains it like this: “a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. A one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible. If you traded it for a different card, you’d have something completely different.” When something like an image or art can be easily duplicated on the Internet, it becomes difficult to prove an item’s uniqueness or authenticity, as well as claim ownership.
NFTs are a type of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency like bitcoin or dogecoin, but the blockchain where they are stored and the type of information that is stored makes them different from an ETH coin.
People Are Buying
This cryptocurrency is popping up everywhere. As we approach the 15 year anniversary of Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey put his first tweet up for auction (“just setting up my twttr”), with the highest bid at $2.5 million. The NBA is selling sports cards backed by tokens, Kings of Leon (#tbt) sold an album, Logan Paul is now on a Pokémon card, you get it. Although NFTs can be used for anything digital, they are more commonly used to sell digital art. A $389,000 50-second Grimes video? Sold. Artist Beeple is becoming one of the top three most valuable artists of all time after a piece sold for $69 million. Indeed. This Gucci Ghost is… $3,600? Why? The Skimm calls them “expensive bragging rights” and… yeah.
Why would you want to own the original when the copy is seriously, literally, just as good? A flex? Well, as an artist, NFTs provide a way for you to sell your digital art, providing an additional source of revenue (and during a pandemic, we aren’t exactly *itching* to get to those in-person art festivals). Features can even be enabled where anytime art is sold or changed hands, the artist can see a profit off that popularity. As a buyer or collector, it grants rights to the art and if cards are played right, that art increases in value and can turn a profit. Although an artist can continue to make and sell copies of a work because they are the original owner, the buyer of an NFT owns a “token,” which proves they own the original work.