NFTs 101

Sridhar Thiru, Reporter

NFTs. What are they? As society has evolved, so has our economy. Cryptocurrencies were the first major breakthrough into the new exchange system. Bitcoin among many others were introduced and allowed for trading and without bank intervention  secured through online coding. Now, NFTs are the new big thing. 

NFT stands for non fungible token, meaning they cannot be traded like Bitcoin. They are activated through a blockchain, which contains and protects all digital data concerning these online items; using meta data identification codes, NFTs can be distinguished as original. 

NFTs can be used to represent real-world items like artwork and real-estate. “Tokenizing” these real-world tangible assets allows them to be bought, sold, and traded more efficiently while reducing the probability of fraud. NFTs can also be used to represent individuals’ identities, property rights, and more. The current market for NFTs is centered around collectibles, such as digital artwork, sports cards, and rarities. However, NFTs can really be used to market anything online, like music, GIFS, and photos and videos. Perhaps the most hyped NFT space is NBA Top Shot, a place to collect non-fungible tokenized NBA moments in a digital card form. Some of these cards have sold for millions of dollars. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of NFTs is their market efficiency. The conversion of a physical asset into a digital one removes numerous obstacles. NFTs representing digital or physical artwork on a blockchain removes the need for agents and allows artists to connect directly with their audiences. 

The biggest use of NFTs today is in the digital content realm. Currently, many online workers face many challenges. Content creators see their profits and earning potential swallowed by platforms. An artist publishing work on a social network makes money for exposure in return, but only gain a little bit of money for their efforts. NFTs power a new creator economy where creators don’t hand ownership of their content over to big platforms. For example, Youtube and Twitch are able to heavily profit off money made by content creators, but with NFTs, creators can avoid this and work for themselves. 

In this instance, NFT sellers are the main owners. When they sell their content, funds go directly to them. If the new owner then sells the NFT, the original creator can even automatically receive royalties. This is guaranteed every time it’s sold because the creator’s address is part of the token’s metadata – metadata which can’t be modified. 


Overall, NFTs are an interesting development and really depend on your point of view. If you value that rarity and the gratification of being the original owner of a project, then maybe NFTs are for you. However those who question its legitimacy and “screenshot” skepticism, this might be something to back out of. Nonetheless, don’t be shocked if pixelated monkeys are everyone’s new profile pic.