In March 2021, Mike Winkelmann, who is popularly known as “Beeple,” created and sold a piece of digital art as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT), which he named “Everyday: the first 5000 Days,” for $69.3 million.
Beeple’s sale marked an important turning point for digital art and NFTs, as it triggered the explosive rise and popularity of NFTs. As a result, the total value of all NFT transactions worldwide jumped 21,350% to more than $17 billion in 2021, from $82.5 million in 2020.
Since then, non-fungible tokens have only gotten more popular, with many celebrities talking about them and contributing to the buzz. In this article, we explore the world of NFTs and how it is affecting our creative world today.
What are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?
To understand the concept of non-fungible tokens (NFT), we need to understand what a non-fungible asset is. Non-Fungible assets are those that are irreplaceable or unexchangeable. Therefore, it’s unique in itself and cannot be exchanged.
Non-Fungible Tokens are digital assets that use blockchain to provide a public certificate of authenticity (PoA) for anything physical or non-physical such as artworks, real estate, or collectible cards. NFTs cannot be replicated or equated with a similar asset because every non-fungible asset is unique on its own.
When someone buys an artwork authenticated by an NFT, they are not literally buying the asset, so to say but actually purchasing a digital-authenticated note that states that they are the rightful owner and no other person can have the same type at the same time. Some other people may be able to download the same file or link corresponding to that which the NFT is tokenizing, but only the buyer holds a contract stating their ownership rights.
The Rise to Popularity for Non-Fungible Tokens
NFT can be first traced to colored coins that were first mentioned by Yoni Assia in one of his blog posts, “bitcoin 2. X (aka colored Bitcoin)- initial specs,” posted in 2012.
These are bitcoin tokens with extra functionality that allow people to represent other assets on the blockchain. After there was, the trading of Rare Pepe on Ethereum was followed by the popular Crypto Punks, which was the first ever-created NFT token.
The first major NFT boom happened in 2017 when digital artists came together to create “Cryptokitties,” – a game with digitally-created cartoon cats that can be bought and sold as NFT verifying their ownership.
The current popularity NFTs enjoy was boosted in 2021 following the Beeple sale. NFT gained more ground when Jack Dorsey, then the chief executive of Twitter, auctioned the first tweet ever on the microblogging platform for $2.9 million.
Since then, there has been a surge in the number of people buying, selling, minting, and converting digital works into NFTs.
How are NFTs Reshaping the Way Creatives are Valued?
In the last decade, media consumption has steadily moved from physical ownership to digital streaming services accessible every time of the day. While this technological advancement has unfathomable advantages, it is not without its caveat.
As libraries of music, movies, literature, art, paintings, sculptures, and photography have been moved into the digital space, creatives have been on the receiving end. Unlike traditional paintings and artworks that have to be bought or paid to be viewed in galleries, they can now easily be shared via the internet without appropriate copyrights.
In addition to not being credited for their works, creatives in many niches have seen their revenues decline because their works can now be shared via social media for free.
However, the popularity of non-fungible tokens has helped creatives convert their unique works of art into digital art. Now, creatives can sell their digital art ranging from music, pictures, sculptures, and the like.
Physical arts have also been integrated into the growing NFT space. Hybrid NFTs combine physical art with digital art – creating an NFT to prove ownership of the unique art. Creatives in this space auction their works digitally while sending the physical version of the art to the buyer.
In addition, NFTs also help ascertain ownership over objects that can be easily reproduced digitally. While digital artworks can be easily downloaded, copied, and pasted by everyone viewing, NFTs ensure the copyright of the artwork is maintained.
Since the data that contains the ownership of every NFT is stored on a blockchain, digital artworks can always be traced back to their creators, previous, as well as the current owner.
NFTs are often traded on platforms known as marketplaces. After setting up your wallet and funding it with crypto, what is needed is to get a reliable place to buy your NFT. Some of the best marketplaces to get your NFT which have been tested and proven include Opensea, Rarible, Foundation. If you are a creator or a brand interested in minting your own NFTs, you can also easily do so for a very affordable price through different platforms like MintNfts.co.
NFT is an unchangeable digital asset that is unique and can only be used by the original owner, and it allows digital items to be uniquely identified and traced on a public ledger called a blockchain.
This makes it difficult for such items to be duplicated, counterfeited, or stolen. NFT assures you of ownership of any item you buy. Hence, it’s a very good trend one can venture in.