WTF Is an NFT? The Latest Cryptocurrency Craze Explained

WTF Is an NFT? The Latest Cryptocurrency Craze Explained

Another day, another cryptocurrency. Over the past few weeks, stories about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have crept into the news cycle. Grimes is making $6 million(Opens in a new window) for something no one understands, and Nyan Cat has been…sold(Opens in a new window)? It can seem like everyone knows what an NFT is but you. You probably have questions. We’re here to answer them. 

So, I’m going to start with the big question: What’s an NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible token.

That sounds like it has to do with mushrooms.
Not really. It has to do with cryptocurrencies. 

Oh no.

OK, I guess I’m ready.
A non-fungible token is a unique unit of cryptocurrency. It’s a digital certificate for intellectual property and is stored on the blockchain. So the owner of an NFT owns an asset, whatever that may be, and the proof of ownership of that asset. 

If I can interrupt here, I have never understood the blockchain.
Nobody does. Actually, these Lego guys do, and they are going to explain it.

That was weirdly helpful.
Good. Do you want to return to NFTs?

Yeah. So the other day I hadn’t heard of NFTs and now they are everywhere. Did I sleep through something?
NFTs do seem to have come out of nowhere, though they’ve been around for years(Opens in a new window). You’ve likely seen them in the news these past few days because of Nyan Cat and Kings of Leon.

I can’t believe I’m asking this, but what happened with Nyan Cat and Kings of Leon?
Nyan Cat is about to turn 10, and its creator Chris Torres decided to dabble in the NFT world to celebrate. Torres put a signed, remastered version of the popular GIF up for auction on Foundation(Opens in a new window), a crypto art platform. It went for 300 Ethereum (a type of cryptocurrency), which is about $560,000 to us earthlings. 

Kings of Leon on the YellowHeart website

As for Kings of Leon, they’re releasing their first album since 2016. It will be available on the platform YellowHeart(Opens in a new window), with a package of a vinyl album and a digital download for a token that costs $50. And then there will be the auction of six golden tickets that essentially offer a lifetime luxury pass to any Kings of Leon concert. 

Does this mean I can’t use the Nyan Cat GIF? Or listen to the Kings of Leon album?
It does not. The purchasers own what are considered unique copies. Text whoever you like with Nyan Cat and if listening to Kings of Leon is something you feel compelled to do, the album is available on streaming platforms on March 5. 

So how long have NFTs been around?
The first major use of NFTs was in 2017 with the game CryptoKitties(Opens in a new window), where people buy and sell digital cats with Ethereum. 

Seriously? Cats? Why is it always cats?
The internet is cats all the way down.

So aside from digital cats, what can I buy with NFT? 
NFT is used for art, gaming, and collectibles. Art in particular is grabbing headlines, with digital artist Beeple (real name: Mike Winkelmann) taking in $6.6 million(Opens in a new window) for his piece “Crossroads.” Christie’s is having its first NFT auction(Opens in a new window) with Beeple’s work, offering his “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for auction until March 11. 

How do I get NFT?
Well, first of all, don’t do it because of us. If you’re looking to sell an NFT, such as a work of art you’ve created, the video and image editing company Kapwing has a full guide(Opens in a new window). Note: you get paid a portion of all future sales of NFTs. If you’re in the market for NFT, you can search for marketplaces. Two of the most popular are OpenSea(Opens in a new window) and Rarible(Opens in a new window)

How much do you really understand about NFT? 
[Stretches hands the length of this story.] About this much.

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