After the first NFT was sold by a major art auction house a couple of weeks ago, NFTs have commanded the Internet’s spotlight. If you’re unfamiliar, an artist named Beeple had his artwork sell for over $69 million putting him among the top-selling living artists. In the time since, NFT marketplaces and amateur NFT art collectors have exploded in popularity.
Here’s the non-fungible token explainer you wish you didn’t need.
What are NFTs?
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital content of varying formats linked to the blockchain. Non-fungible meaning the digital content is unique and can’t be replaced. Blockchains are the database underpinning cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, dogecoin, and Ethereum. Cryptocurrencies linked to the blockchain can be replaced, dogecoins are all dogecoins for example. NFTs on the other hand are one-of-a-kind so while still using blockchain, everything exchanged is different.
How do NFTs work?
Right now, most NFTs are exchanged on the Ethereum blockchain. Like bitcoin or dogecoin mentioned above, Ethereum is a cryptocurrency. Ethereum’s network can store additional information on its blockchain enabling the exchange of digital content. Other blockchains can develop their own versions of NFTs, and many have already begun.
Why are people buying NFT art?
Digital artists constantly have their work copied and shared, decreasing the value often to zero. Similarly, buyers can make a purchase without knowing whether they have an original or a copy. NFTs certify the original artwork and attribute it to the artist so that a buyer has the true original. OpenSea is one of the largest NFT marketplaces for buying and selling NFTs.
NFTs appear to be the first real solution to plagiarism in the digital art community, which is fueling the spike in popularity. It’s difficult to say whether current excitement is based on novelty or if this solution will endure like other blockchain breakthroughs.