By KIM BELLARD
I must admit, after I wrote about digital currency last week, I did not expect to be writing about crypto anytime soon. Then I heard about “non-fungible tokens” (NFTs) and got a sense of the hype they were causing — how I could I resist?
There may even be a connection to health care.
You may have seen the Nyan Cat (pictured below), which is not new; it turns 10 in April. What is new is that last month its creator “sold” it. You may be thinking, wait, the GIF is everywhere, anyone can download it, so in what sense could he “sell” it?
That’s where NFTs come in. As you may know, “fungible” means that two things can be interchanged; one dollar is just like any other dollar, one bitcoin is like any other bitcoin, one electron is like any other electron. Non-fungible, then, means the item in question is unique, and this is where the “token” comes in. Basically, NFTs use digital certificates via blockchain to mark that something is one-of-a-kind, a claim of digital ownership.
Nadya Ivanova, chief operating officer of research firm L’Atelier explained NFTs to The Wall Street Journal:
Think of it like a digital passport that comes with an asset. They allow for this trust and authenticity to be established in a way that we haven’t been able to do before, whether it’s with physical assets or digital assets.
Artists have been using NFTs for a few years now, and auction house Christie’s is auctioning off the “First Purely Digital NFT-Based Work of Art Ever Offered by a Major Auction House,” featuring the digital artist Beeple (aka Mike Winklemann). Christie’s promises:
…the buyer receives the artwork file containing a digital signature from the artist and all vital details including time of creation, edition size and a record of any prior sales. These details are permanently attached to the artwork, providing an enduring guarantee of value.
NFTs have gone beyond art. The NBA is all over this, with NBA Top Shot selling highlight clips; one of Lebron dunking just went for $200,000. Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban is a big proponent. “The tech is real,” he told CNBC. “The impact is real, and permanent.”Continue reading…