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If you’ve lived under a rock for the past year, you might have missed the fact that people are talking about NFTs–AKA non-fungible tokens–as a brave new world for investments. Stories of Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, selling his first tweet or the ubiquitous meme of “disaster girl,” which sold for $400k+, have shown that people are willing to drop some serious money on NFTs. Then again, stories about those NFTs going to 0 have also scared some people off.
Values have gone up and down, but NFTs are still being traded and minted.
If you don’t actually know what an NFT is, you might be experiencing some FOMO, as well as some confusion. How exactly does one sell a tweet? Here’s how it works.
What are non-fungible tokens?
Non-fungible tokens are digital creations that are made one-of-a-kind through the use of blockchain authentication; they enable ownership of digital property that is technically endlessly reproducible. Anyone can copy & paste an image, piece of digital art, or a social media post, so blockchain technology gives these creations a unique digital fingerprint that allows for ownership.
“Non-Fungible” in this case means “not-interchangeable.” A dollar bill is fungible, you can trade it for an identical bill that has the same value. By using a blockchain ledger to make a digital creation one-of-a-kind, it becomes an asset that can be bought and sold–just like an oil painting.
Although digital art collection is currently the primary use-case for NFTs, industry experts are predicting that NFTs will also be big in the coming metaverse as everything from user avatars to pictures to hang in your digital house.
Examples of non-fungible tokens
- Disaster Girl: An image of a girl smiling back at a camera in front of a house that’s on fire, commonly used as a meme. It sold for $470,000 in 2021.
- CryptoPunks: A set of 10,000 characters which are all individual NFTs. Visa bought a $150,000 Crypto Punk in 2021 to show their support for digital art.