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Multi-millionaire Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, believes that NFTs are a sham and are based on the greater fool theory. He seems to think that by using NFTs people can make money out of anything worthless or special! So are we fools? Well, I beg to differ. This technology is about the art of buying and selling and it has outdone itself in the short amount of time we’ve seen it gain fame. Although traditional businessmen would support Bill Gates’ statement, we have also seen NFTs  providing a safe source of income to artists, developers, gamers etc. Now what are NFTs really and what does the future hold for them?

Non-fungible tokens, more commonly known as NFTs, have been the talk of the town for a while and have made their way deep into the online business web. Everyone knows they sell for millions of dollars but very few know what NFTs are. To understand them, we need to know a little bit about blockchain.

In simple words, blockchain is a system of storing information digitally with every sort of record updated each time a transaction is made which makes it almost impossible to hack. In simpler words, NFTs are unique trading cards that can be sold. Basically anything digital can be sold as an NFT. They first began as part of the Ethereum blockchain but now various blockchains have started their versions of NFTs.

As I said, anything can be sold as an NFT but it is mostly used to sell digital art. Millions of people out there are good at different kinds of digital drawing and NFTs give them a platform to sell their art and earn profit. For people who are buying, it is a way to support artists you like but mostly I like to think of it as a flex booster. Although being the owner of an NFT gives you some basic rights but mostly it is just about the clout and the high standards of the world.

With its increasing popularity, people believe that they are the future of collection and trading. The person who spent $6.6 million for a video by Beeple or the people who bought the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT which is considered to be one of the most successful NFTs ever sold would want this concept to gain importance and be more familiar with people.

However, after the Bored Ape NFT, people started selling just about anything and buyers didn’t disappoint because almost every one of these random NFTs was bought for immense amounts of money. For instance, Logan Paul decided to sell video clips as NFTs and people paid thousands of dollars for those clips which can be watched on YouTube.

The “bored ape” on the extreme left last sold, in September 2021, for over US$2 million; source: OpenSea.

Yes, it is a weird phenomenon that while some people are shaking their pockets dry for these digital files, we can download them anytime and keep a folder on our computers or any other device. Seems pointless right? But NFTs are more about the ownership of the art rather than witnessing it. So the people buying them are owners while the original rights are still retained by the creator.

After the quick success of NFTs, people  began experimenting and claimed to become millionaires in a matter of days. Jack Dorsey, the Founder of Twitter, made his first tweet and decided to sell it as an NFT. Some people might find it hard to believe but that one-lined tweet sold for the equivalent of $2.9 million. A YouTube video featuring the Nyan Cat got extremely famous back when it was released and the creator decided to make it into an NFT. The version of Nyan Cat was sold for $580 million. Along with these huge personalities, a 22-year-old Indonesian put up his selfies as NFTs. Since he didn’t think anyone would buy them he priced them at $3 each. To his surprise, all of his expressionless camera staring pictures were sold out in a few days with a total of $3000. As of now, each selfie costs about $800. An interesting idea of keeping NFTs as stocks also arose which was considered quite beneficial for investors. They could easily sell their cheaply bought NFTs for a much higher profit!

Everybody loves a kitten, may it be an actual one or just a video. These furry internet sensations have taken over NFTs as well and we all know what people would be willing to give to acquire an NFT of a kitten or kittens! A game called CryptoKitties was created which paved the way for buying and selling virtual kittens. One buyer paid over $170,000 for one cat.

A few months ago it looked like NFT is a booming business as it was making headlines a lot, However, we don’t hear about them much anymore as we used to. Does that mean the era of NFTs is over? We can’t say for sure. We do see big names like Bella Hadid, Lamborgini, Mclaren doing their own NFT thing but may be it’s just the rich people’s games for now.

The trade of digitalized items is very much immersed in the world now even though it is not shouted out a lot. It is agreeable that the sales haven’t been up to the mark lately but such is the case with the digital world. Cryptocurrency flickers a lot every day and since NFTs are a part of them, there is no doubt that they will be back in the game any day now. As long as there are people like William Shatner who sold a trading card with an x-ray of his teeth, NFTs are going nowhere.

As to what millennials and gen z think about it, they believes that as a seller, artists can benefit a lot from this technology. They can even earn a small percentage of money every time their NFT is sold. FEWOCiOUS, a young artist became a millionaire at 19 by selling his art as NFTs. His art is in such high demand that Christie’s auction website crashed when his work got live. As everyone says, the next generation will be digitalized with all this augmented and virtual reality thing, Yes this is when the NFTs could be used for business.

Innovations and ideas like NFTs and the Metaverse have always made their mark in people’s heads. Even though most of them wouldn’t know the actual purpose or meaning, they would have heard the name or the concept. There is much more to NFTs than just trading and it may all be explored soon.

  • This is an Opinion Article by the Author

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