NFT or Non-fungible tokens have become quite a hype since Jack Dorsey’s first tweet was sold for slightly under $3M, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I am not going to give you a lecture on what NFT are but if you are unsure up to this point, check out The Verge’s great FAQ on all things NFT.
The great appeal of NFT spans from the fact that it is a registered transaction on a blockchain, meaning that with the particular 0x address of this transaction, you can check on a tool such as Etherscan or another block explorer much of the metadata of this particular piece.
Sounds great right? But what does this mean in practice? Let’s use an example.
Say you are interested in the “Real Street Art is Temporary” NFT. You can find it here, but you now also know that the Smart Contract address that minted the token is 0x60f80121c31a0d46b5279700f9df786054aa5ee5 that the token ID is 568175 and the original owner/ creator of this art piece is 0x[…]754fd
When a buyer wants to verify the ownership of a particular NFT, they can query the Rarible smart contract and use the TokenID they need to verify to find out this information.
As you can see, the contract address matches Rarible and the Token ID matches “Real Street Art is Temporary” therefore this token is legit and all the transactions that this token has undertaken will be registered here. The current owner of this token is registered as the To address, this can change once the token has been purchased or transferred, but since the only transaction so far has been token minting, that is the only tx that you will see for now.
Other data a potential buyer or researcher can verify is the age of the token, the token creator and even how much gas was paid to create the token.
All of this transparency is part of what makes NFT’s special, just like with other data stored on a blockchain, once confirmed, it cannot be modified. Finally, once you own tokens any Web3.0 service that is connected to your wallet will be able to verify them, and in some cases such as the Alpha-stage NFT gallery Flawnt, you will see all the tokens and curate them as an online art gallery.
Besides making famous people more money, there are plenty of positive aspects to a non-fungible token in today’s society.
With all the data about data covered, NFT’s are a great tool for digital creators to sign their work and eventually create a stable playing field for all sorts of artists to get their creations to potential buyers, decentralizing the art world if you will.
Other potential uses include DRM (data rights management), a very touchy subject nowadays due to the tangent between creator remuneration and user liberty. On one hand, it helps content creators and producers manage who accesses their media and how and even track usage of their media! On the other hand, people argue that placing these digital locks on content is a draconian practice that would limit public access to content, but in most cases, you need to pay to play right?
A Web3.0 use case for NFT’s is having a token validate an address for an airdrop or another form of distribution, be it fungible or non-fungible tokens.
Even though NFT’s are being used by Cryptopunks, Elon Musk, Ian Parkin and Mr Oizo alike, there is still a lot of FUD surrounding the advantages that this piece of data can provide, some are hesitant about “owning” something that the whole world can have access to, reminiscent of ancient art collectors with personal vaults closed off to the outside world, although with NFT, the collector goes from that to the more modern museum-style art collection where everyone can cherish and experience the art (as well as take selfies or buy souvenirs plastered with it), albeit the piece still belongs to the person on the receipt’s name, in this case, a name is substituted by an 0x address.
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