The collectibles industry used to be defined by classic keepsakes such as stamps, coins, and trading cards. Today, a new kind of collectible called non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has exploded in popularity. From music to digital game pieces, NFTs are digital assets that sometimes sell for millions of dollars. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sold his first-ever Tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million!
But is there any substance behind the hype? And what does it mean for you?
NFTs offer a blockchain-created certificate of authenticity for any digital asset. This asset can be a piece of music, a token for a popular game, or a piece of digital art. To understand an NFT, consider its components:
Non-Fungible...Where cryptocurrency like a Bitcoin is designed to be readily tradable (fungible), non-fungible is just the opposite. There is one and only one of it.
Token...In this case the non-fungible identification is attached to a specific digital asset or token.
Therefore, each NFT is unique and can readily solve the problem of users creating multiple copies of a digital asset. In effect, Jack Dorsey's original tweet cannot be copied or duplicated because of NFT technology!
Why NFTs are popular
Traditional artists rely on auction houses and galleries to sell their work. These galleries and auction houses authenticate the work as original. Now artists can sell digital works at the same prices as rare works of art by using NFTs to do the authentication work for them. It is so popular now that even companies are getting in on the action. For example, a Charmin digital brand was auctioned off to raise funds for charity.
Why some NFTs are so expensive
Just like physical collectibles, there’s a market for NFTs. Current NFT buyers tend to be tech workers and entrepreneurs who understand the intricacies of purchasing digital goods. Artists are also dipping their toe into the NFT waters. For instance, superstar artists like King of Leon and Steve Aoki have sold NFTs for millions of dollars. Just imagine if your favorite musician decided to record an exclusive piece of music and then only sell 100 copies of the song. How much would you pay?
What you need to know
Here’s what you need to know about getting involved with NFTs:
Because NFTs are becoming so popular, so fast, many experts are leery of what the world of NFTs will look like in the future. Regulation is currently lacking, and legal precedence is unclear. While blockchain technology can verify your purchase, does owning the NFT of something really mean you own the asset? Will NFTs stand up in court? These are some of the questions being asked without concrete answers.
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