What is an NFT?

An easy guide to everything you’ll need and want to know about the digital world.

Nothing is quite like the confusion of getting that yearly blockchain related news, leaving you at a point of intellectual submission. I’ve been there, put in the research hours, and luckily for you- I’m a 4th grade teacher who loves writing.

Let’s start at what an NFT even is.

NFT stands for Non- Fungible Token. I know this doesn’t really help but let’s break that down.

Non-Fungible means unique and irreplaceable. Compare that to an example of something fungible like money- I can trade my dollar to someone else for their dollar and it’ll have no effect on either of us. If you need an example of something that’s non-fungible, think of the Mona Lisa- totally unique.

Building off of the Mona Lisa example, the token equivalent would be Leonardo da Vinci’s signature.

Too sum things up, this allows digital artists to have the same rights that conventional artists have. These NFT’s act as unique signatures. (WARNING: SCARY WORD AHEAD) All the blockchain does for this process is gives us a way to track the buying and selling of these digital assets/ artworks in a decentralized way. The reason this is valuable is because we’ll be able to track specific digital art works back to the creator and verify that the token we talked about earlier.

No you might be thinking “This is totally insane, there’s no way this actually takes flight.” And to that:

A screenshot taken by The Verge

Right off that bat- I know. Thats a ton of money. And no. I did not just steal a 69 million dollar work of art. Going back to the point of NFT’s; there is only one of this picture in existence digitally that is by the artist. In the same way there are millions of prints of the Mona Lisa, there is only one real one.

This is a pretty amazing new space thats emerging and if you’re reading this go and check out some of the cool/ ridiculous things that people are designing on Rarible or Opensea (both NFT gallery's). Something you’ll see on these sites are weird currencies. Specifically, something called ETH which stands for Etherium (another digital coin like Bitcoin).

So NFT’s are just for online art galleries?

Absolutely not. In the future, you’re going to be seeing this used everywhere. Art, music, house deeds, drivers licenses, social security cards, the list goes on. ANYTHING that is one of a kind. The reason why this is the case has entirely to do with that scary word- the blockchain. The reason why people’s information is stolen or how there are fake documents in the world, is because these files are kept in centralized locations. If I wanted access to a presidents facebook page, all I would have to do to find that information is go directly to where all of the profile information is kept:

This Google search took 5 seconds.

The reason this is a problem is because with the advancement of technology, there’re only going to be more and more valuable information out there, and more and more ways to steal that information. The blockchain is here to protect us from a crazy person going into facebooks server building, getting the information for a world leaders account, and starting World War 3.

Besides the importance of decentralization, the value of NFT’s are truly limitless. One of the most influential uses in the coming years is going to be in music. Over the past two years, musical artists make on average 12% of what record labels makes off of them. NFT’s are going to give artists a chance to exceed their limits by putting their work on the blockchain, bringing scarcity to their music through NFT’s. Especially since you can set your own royalties for whatever you want to publish.

The Kings of Leon are doing this as I type with their new album if you needed more convincing. (Look it up if you would like).

To make long things short- NFT’s are going to revolutionize creativity as we know it. Artists wont have to sign away their lives for crumbs anymore, musicians are going to have more publishing freedom than ever, and tokenizing identification cards will only make owning things a much safer and faster process.

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I just want to leave this world better off than how it was…

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