You could be forgiven for being confused on the topic of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. NFT images of cartoon profile pictures have sold for astronomical sums of money. The images themselves are JPEGs, which anybody can copy with a few clicks. Despite that, interest in NFTs continues to grow, with more sales every day and some major industries trying to figure out how to use them. So, why NFTs?
NFTs can be thought of as units of data stored on a blockchain ledger, which is sort of like a series of transactions that are kept in a database that is distributed all over the internet. While NFTs behave just like other crypto coins and tokens on a blockchain, they are not identical to each other. NFTs are non-fungible, which means each is unique and cannot be exchanged for another identical unit. While every bitcoin is equal and identical to every other bitcoin, NFTs are completely unique and vary in price. Because of these features, NFTs are often an excellent way to handle digital artwork. In fact, thanks to NFTs, digital art can be bought and sold online, just like a physical piece of art in a gallery.
As explained by Coinbase VP of Products Sanchan Saxena, this proof is important to many people in the digital art world: “I can take a photo of (the) Mona Lisa and say ‘this is mine,’ but nobody is going to believe it. Because there is something known as ‘provenance’ or ‘proof of ownership.’ So an NFT — a non-fungible token — is a unique copy, and it’s a contract that says that you own this digital piece of art, and that is very powerful in many, many regards.”
One example of NFT art is the work of pplpleasr, also known as Emily Yang, an artist who has begun using NFTs to make a profit. But that’s not all. Pplpleasr also has sold artwork to help fund nonprofits that are dedicated to reducing violence against Asian-Americans. To that end, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called PleasrDAO was created to buy a piece created by pplpleasr. The proceeds from the sale have been donated to twenty-four different non-profits.
Follow @Coinbase_NFT on Twitter to learn more about NFTs and other artists in the space.