December 17, 2021 | OPINION | By Samwel Makyao | Illustration by Kira Schulist
Earlier this year, the former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, sold his first-ever tweet on the bird app to a Malaysia-based businessman for $2.9 million.
The tweet, which said “just setting up my twttr,” was first published on March 21, 2006, and was auctioned off by Dorsey as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) for charity.
NFTs are pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain, the digital database underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Unlike NFTs, those assets are fungible, meaning they can be replaced or exchanged with another identical one of the same value, much like a dollar bill.
In economics, a fungible asset is something with units that can readily be interchanged like money. For example, with money, you can swap a $10 note for two $5 notes, and it will have the same value. However, if something is non-fungible, this is impossible. It means that it has unique properties that cannot be interchanged with something else. This could be a house or a painting such as the Last Supper. You can take a photo of the painting or buy its print, but there will only ever be one original Last Supper painting.
NFTs can be anything digital such as unique digital artwork, an essay, an in-game item, or a unique sneaker in a limited-run fashion line. For example, a Lebron James slam dunk video clip reminiscing Kobe Bryant was sold for over $250,000.
It is obvious that the non-fungible tokens have revolutionized the content creation business and content creators are now more powerful than ever before.
People now can assign or claim ownership (though an artist can still retain the copyright and reproduction rights) of any unique piece of digital data and sell their work using Ethereum’s blockchain as a public ledger.
Should we be hopeful about non-fungible tokens?
Indeed, we should.
However, I am neither an artist nor a buyer. But if you are an artist, then NFTs might interest you because it gives you a way to sell your work. You may have faced challenges in finding a market where your piece could be bought. Now, if you come up with a really unique and engaging digital sticker idea or “meme,” you might be on your way to making millions.
For a while, content creators and artists have frequently encountered the concerns of other platforms making profits from them while they earn only a little or even nothing at all. For example, a digital artist publishing their content on social networks would also make money for the platform selling ads to the artist’s fans. While the artist gets their due exposure, it does not help the artist earn any form of money for benefits to the platform.
NFTs have a feature you can enable that will pay you a percentage (8%) every time the NFT is sold or shared between multiple hands. In theory, this means that if Joel bought your NFP for $400,000 and sold it to David for $500,000, you, as the original creator, will get an extra $40,000.
On the other hand, as a buyer, NFTs lets you financially support artists you love. Also, buying an NFT gets you some primary usage and bragging rights that you own the art, with a blockchain entry backing you up.
For collectors, NFTs can work like any other asset, where you buy it and hope that its value goes up one day so that you can sell it for a profit.
There is no doubt that non-fungible tokens are a completely new digital asset that helps fill the
void within the creator economy. If you are an up-and-coming artist who has been looking for a
market to sell your products, then the NFTs might be the right place for you, and I would encourage you to begin by visiting this site.