What the heck is an NFT? It stands for ‘non-fungible token,’ but even that doesn’t help me understand what this is. My 3rd-grade teacher would be yelling at me to use context clues to help me understand, but I’m old now, according to the internet, so I’ve stopped trying to keep up with every new trend out there. But NFTs don’t seem to be going anywhere, and no one seems to be able to provide an answer that this old man can understand. (Maybe I’m just a lot dumber than I thought.)
I honestly couldn’t care less about NFTs until I saw many people on Twitter talking about buying pictures of bricks as their profile pictures. And then I had to figure out what the heck was going on because even though I have spent my fair share of money on stupid things, this one took the cake. Of all the things you could pay for, owning the original version of a digital picture of a brick made my head hurt.
What is an NFT?
NFT stands for ‘non-fungible token,’ but what does non-fungible even mean? It’s just a fancy word for saying something is one-of-a-kind and can’t be replaced with something else. Think of them as unique trading cards. I can trade you one of mine, and in return, you trade me something as well. For example, I might give you a Pokémon card, and you might give a Yugi-Oh Card. I traded my card and got something completely different in return.
How does it work?
Knowing how NFTs work is where things get confusing. NFTs, or most of them, are part of the Ethereum blockchain, which happens to be a cryptocurrency. Please don’t ask me about crypto, people who understand it speaks in a completely different language than the rest of us. But what I do understand is that crypto uses blockchains. NFT also uses blockchains as a part of the Ethereum blockchain.
Blockchain is just a system that records information that makes it next to impossible to alter or change that information. So it’s an anti-cheat to changing information. It’s sort of like a digital ledger that keeps track of all the information.
NFTs implement blockchain technology so that someone can mark a digital photo, for example, as the original version of the image instead of a copy. It’s like owning the real Mona Lisa instead of a copy.
What can be an NFT?
NFTs are anything digital. Or, to be more precise, anything digital can be made into an NFT. But the buzz around this new internet phenomenon is the idea of selling digital art as NFTs. Rich people like to collect art, or so movies and tv shows tell us that. Imagine owning a Monet or a Picasso. The idea of NFTs is the same as collecting fine art but evolved (or devolved, depending on how you see it) into collecting digital art.
We can get into the debate of what is art and what isn’t, but the owner of Twitter did sell his first tweet NFT for nearly $3 million. And that’s not even the most ridiculous amount spent on an NFT to date, but writing those numbers out makes me a bit sick. (but here’s a link to one of those insane sales for those curious.)
The design of NFTs is to give you something that can’t be copied. Again, it goes back to the Mona Lisa comparison. Only one person can own the real Mona Lisa, whereas a bunch of people can own prints of it.
What’s the point?
As a buyer, there are a few upsides to owning NFTs. The first is that you get to support an artist you may like, which is always nice. But the main reason, from what I can see, is that owning an NFT is a flex. It’s like owning anything Supreme or wearing Gucci. It’s just cool, or so I’m told. (As I said, I’m old now, apparently.)
As an artist, this is a new avenue of revenue. Making NFTs can lead to making some insane amounts of money if they become popular enough, as seen by the $3 million dollar tweet that was sold. NFTs also has a feature that allows you to get residual money anytime one of your works gets sold or switches owners. It’d be like if Banksy got a cut of the money anytime one of his works of art got sold.
My head hurts now
There is so much more I could talk about when it comes to NFTs, but that’s all of the technical boring stuff that no one cares about, or that’s what I tell myself because I don’t fully understand it. NFTs are cool. I think the best way I understood them was when TimTheTatman’s chat was explaining NFTs to him a few months ago. Either you will understand this analogy, or you won’t. Sorry in advance, but NFTs kind of work like CS: GO’s knife skins. If that helps you, congrats. If not, then too bad. I’m a nerd. What can I say? Anyways, hopefully, you better understand what an NFT is, and if it piques your interest, then maybe buy one and start a collection; otherwise, good luck.
And if your head hurts now and what to think about something you understand and love, read our article ranking the top 10 early 2000s Cartoon Network shows.