On March 11th 2021, an artist called Beeple sold an artwork through Christies for $69 million. Given the astronomical amounts that collectible fine art commands, such a price might normally have gone unnoticed. But this was no normal sale. ‘Everydays – The First 5000 days’ was the first purely digital artwork that the revered auction house had ever sold; an encrypted JPG that had been authenticated on the blockchain. Otherwise known as an NFT.
1. What’s an NFT?
Non-fungible tokens are one-of-a-kind digital assets that can be bought or sold. ‘Non-Fungible’ essentially means ‘unique’. So, an NFT a digital good that can’t be replicated or replaced – anything from Jack Dorsey’s first tweet to the Nyan Cat meme.
2. So there’s only one Nyan Cat?
Nope. It’s not quite as simple as that. Here it is, in fact:
Even though the Nyan Cat just sold for nearly $600,000, you could enjoy displaying it on your Meural today. Search ‘Nyan Cat’ on google, right click on one of the thousands of results and download to your heart’s content! But even though the meme can be infinitely reproduced, there’s only one ‘original’ Nyan Cat – the one ‘minted’ or ‘tokenized’ by its creator and authenticated on the blockchain.
3. The blockchain?
It’s helpful to think of NFTs as digital certificates of ownership.
The buyer of Beeple’s Everydays, who goes by the handle of Crypto Whale, essentially purchased an unalterable digital signature – a string of numbers and letters stored on a blockchain ledger, that also includes information about the artwork’s ownership and related transactions.
4. But why are they valuable?
Without getting too philosophical, why is anything valuable? A bit of trust, a lot of betting and a hungry market. Right now, NFTs are having a moment, especially digital art and trading cards.
For digital artists, the blockchain provides something that can’t be copied – ownership of the artwork. And when it comes to trading cards, platforms like NBA TopShot have just taken an existing model completely online.
NFTs add this crucial ingredient: scarcity. By providing ownership – a buyer purchasing one original piece of artwork – artists can create financial value for their work. For collectors, if they know the original version of something exists, they’re more likely to crave the “authentic” piece.
5. I bought an NFT. Will it last forever?
Maybe. But, equally, maybe not.
Remember all those early bitcoin adopters who forgot their passwords? And bit rot is a real problem. But then again, traditional art and photography is fragile and vulnerable to degradation.
NFTs are a new, fact-paced emerging market, so it’s anybody’s guess where it’s headed.
In the meantime, there’s plenty of native digital art and art videos to enjoy on your Meural! Check out the latest Digital Photo Canvas and Digital Photo Frame that suits your liking on the NETGEAR Online Store, and in no time you can enjoy viewing NFTs on Meural.