Breakthrough

NFTs: What exactly are they, and should you Invest in them?

With bitcoin reaching at an all time high this week and expected to cross the 100k mark before the end of this year, I delved into the crypto world to understand NFTs.

While I have struggled like many of us to wrap my head around basic principles of SIPs and Mutual Funds, investments and taxes, a co-artist this summer threw me an idea to not be just a millionaire but a “multi-millionaire” by investing in NFTs. To tell you the truth, I thought of it as a new gen Elon Musk kind of technology that involved something called blockchains and cryptocurrencies which was way beyond my comprehension.


By Khushboo Mattoo, 29 Sep 2021


What are NFTs

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Tokens primarily as a way to prove digital ownership beneficial in the digital art movement by being unique and non-interchangeable. This creates opportunity for creators, artists, singers, musicians and collectors who believe in the future of the digi-verse, who believe in the vibrant NFT community.

NFTs can also be used to buy assets such as plots of land in games, which are controlled by permissions from the user and not the game developer. In the Metaverse, virtual worlds are way ahead.

The worlds such as Decentraland, Sandbox, CryptoVoxels and Somnium Space allow users to create galleries to show off NFT art, clothes, real estate and attend live events with friends but of course, only online.

I ended up knowing about the Nyan Cat NFT being sold for 60,000 $ and some exhibitions where paintings were burnt and just their digital copies remained. Bizarre! Right? I still cannot believe a tweet got sold off for 2.5m $ while I’m tweeting my fingertips away literally every day (by the way it was Twitter creator Jack Dorsey’s first tweet).

For my brother’s sake (who is optimistically asking me a thousand questions about how can he earn millions by scribbling something on his iPad) and for all of you who are seeing the world get richer day by day while your bank balance nudges the red alert bridge, I think of explaining what this technology is and what it means for artists and buyers of the digital world.

The open standards mean users can seamlessly transact and bring external NFT objects onto their purchased land. In June 2021, a plot of virtual land sized 16 acres on Decentraland was sold for $913,228.20. And I’m thinking, what’s for a piece of land that you cannot even step on!!

A Couple of Movies are about to release as NFTs ranging from Killroy Was Here to Zero Contact, featuring Anthony Hopkins. Interestingly, Memes do get sold as NFTs.

Charlie bit my finger, Disaster girl, Doge and recently, Side eying Chloe and many many more have been sold as NFTs. So much for our funny bone, eh?

Why Token system?

The token is unique, backed by a social contract from its creator and a surrounding community. There is more in depth that can be read on the internet but for commoners like you and me, it looks like creators of art and music are due to get their credit and avoids plagiarism. The artists get royalty too every time their art is resold. This also helps keep a check on the intermediaries that hold the market into their elite hands usually.

Experts say it’s a form of decentralized certification that keeps track of every previous owner of the NFT and gets verified through blockchain. It is important to note that while copies of these digital items are available for anyone to obtain, NFTs are tracked on blockchains to provide the owner with a proof of ownership that is separate from copyright. In practice, NFT purchasers do not generally acquire the copyright of the underlying artwork.

How do NFTs work

Since digital files can be easily duplicated, NFTs provide a way of tokenising to create digital certificate for the owner to control distribution rights. A record of what is sold is also saved on ledgers called blockchains, which cannot be tampered with since the record is maintained by thousands of computers around the world.

Imagine this. You have a photograph. And you want to sell it as an NFT. Following are the steps that will need to be work on : 1. Creating a digital wallet and then connecting it to your NFT Platform of choice – like for example MetaMask 2. Adding cryptocurrency to it. Since most platforms use Ether currency, you can buy this with a debit card or ePay. 3. Connecting the digital wallet with our NFT Platform as mentioned earlier. 4. Upload the photograph 5. Calling for Auction and detailing your NFT by adding to its profile. 6. Paying the fee – which seems low at one stage and frankly, high later on, when the photograph is commissioned. But considering you’ll be making millions, (hehe :p) it’s not a heavy price to pay.

NFTs and the Future

2021 saw a surge in buying NFTs. The NFT market value tripled in 2020, reaching more than $250 million. During the first quarter of 2021, NFT sales exceeded $2 billion.

It is a buying economic bubble according to Dystopian Artist Beeple Crap, who is Mike Winkelmann, a visionary digital artist from the US, who sold Everydays: the First 5000 Days, a collage of images from his “Everydays” series, sold at the auction house Christie’s for $69,400,000 on March 12, 2021, making it the fourth-most expensive artwork by a living artist.

The art was bought by MetaKovan, founder of a crypto-exclusive fund called MetaPurse. Interestingly of Tamil Origin, MetaKovan or Vignesh Sunderesan, is not even eyeing to re-sell his Beeple purchase ever because he wants to portray with this buy that The Virtual is a great equalizer between the East and the West and that NFTs provide equal opportunities to the artists from around the world irrespective of the colour of their skin.

Top names to look out for in NFT Space

NFT platforms like OpenSea , Rarible, SuperRare, Foundation, VIV3, BakerySwap, Axie Marketplace, Nifty Gateway and NFT ShowRoom, and payment platforms like MyEtherWallet, MetaMask, Portis, Torus, WalletConnect, Coinbase, and Fortmatic are a rage in the NFT market.

Having juiced out my brain like sugarcane for NFTs, I video call some friends of mine. One just told me that even after knowing everything, in the world of NFTs seem like, we are all Jon Snows.

The other pokes, that NFT space is like Kashmir – no idea what is happening or what will happen next. But like a true millionaire at heart, I have decided to invest in one NFT to test my fate and ready to face an earthquake in my bank balance with zeroes raining in on me. Bring it on!

 

Khushboo Mattoo is a Dreamer of the world. Writes about matters of the heart, Entertainment, Technology, Art, Culture and J&K. Eats a lot. Gains none.