The boom in blockchain technology need not be limited to fungible currencies alone. Designed specifically for secure, trust-less, and immutable transactions, the possibilities for blockchain in the exchange and maintenance of any variety of digital assets are exponential in scope. More specifically, the future of blockchain may lie in the technology of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
What is a Non-Fungible Token?
Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are cryptographic assets on blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other. Unlike cryptocurrencies, they cannot be traded or exchanged at equivalency. This differs from fungible tokens like cryptocurrencies, which are identical to each other and, therefore, can be used as a medium for commercial transactions.
The distinct construction of each NFT has the potential for several use cases. For example, they are an ideal vehicle to digitally represent physical assets like real estate and artwork. Because they are based on blockchains, NFTs can also be used to remove intermediaries and connect artists with audiences or for identity management. NFTs can remove intermediaries, simplify transactions, and create new markets.
How do Non-Fungible Tokens Work?
NFTs shift the crypto paradigm by making each token unique and irreplaceable, thereby making it impossible for one non-fungible token to be equal to another. They are digital representations of assets and have been likened to digital passports because each token contains a unique, non-transferable identity to distinguish it from other tokens. They are also extensible, meaning you can combine one NFT with another to “breed” a third, unique NFT.
Just like Bitcoin, NFTs also contain ownership details for easy identification and transfer between token holders. Owners can also add metadata or attributes pertaining to the asset in NFTs. For example, tokens representing coffee beans can be classified as fair trade. Or, artists can sign their digital artwork with their own signature in the metadata.
The Importance of Non-Fungible Tokens
NFTs have become hugely popular with crypto users and companies alike because of the way they revolutionized the gaming and collectibles space. Since November 2017, there has been a total of $174 million spent on NFTs.
Thanks to the advent of blockchain technology, gamers and collectors can become the immutable owners of in-game items and other unique assets as well as make money from them. In some cases, players have the ability to create and monetize structures like casinos and theme parks in virtual worlds, such as The Sandbox and Decentraland. They can also sell individual digitals items they accrue during gameplay such as costumes, avatars, and in-game currency on a secondary market.
For artists, being able to sell artwork in digital form directly to a global audience of buyers without using an auction house or gallery allows them to keep a significantly greater portion of the profits they make from sales. Royalties can also be programmed into digital artwork so that the creator receives a percentage of sale profits each time their artwork is sold to a new owner.
Why do Non-Fungible Tokens have Value?
Like all assets, supply and demand are the key market drivers for price. Due to the scarce nature of NFTs and the high demand for them from gamers, collectors and investors, people are often prepared to pay a lot of money for them.
Some NFTs also have the potential to make their owners a lot of money. For instance, one gamer on the Decentraland virtual land platform decided to purchase 64 lots and combine them into a single estate. Dubbed “The Secrets of Satoshis Tea Garden,” it sold for $80,000 purely because of its desirable location and road access. Another investor parted with $222,000 to purchase a segment of a digital Monaco racing track in the F1 Delta Time game. The NFT representing the piece of the digital track allows the owner to receive 5% dividends from all races that take place on it, including entry ticket fees.
Cryptomarks’s Art Now Available as NFTs
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