By now, you’re probably tired of hearing about “cryptocurrency” or “NFT.” If you’ve been anywhere near a television or computer over the past year, it’s likely you’ve heard or seen them discussed by friends, TV pundits and, yes, scammers.
I can sense you’re exhausted. You may even be a bit confused. And on top of that, last week’s Bitcoin crash, in which the world’s most popular cryptocurrency lost a lot of its value, has only fed the belief that digital currency and all things associated with it are not to be trusted. When it comes to crypto, I actually don’t think that’s far off-base.
The human race has long been fusing with technology in ways that can be hard to admit.
(Don’t trust the celebs hawking crypto coins, y’all). But NFTs aren’t completely useless — at least, they won’t be soon. Let’s discuss.
An NFT, or “non-fungible token,” is a digital creation (art, photos, music, etc.) that can be bought or sold on what’s called a “blockchain,” which is essentially a digital record of when an asset is sold and how many of them exist.
“But Ja’han, I’m a real person in the real world. Why would I pay real money for a digital creation, like a picture of LeBron James dunking?” you ask. That’s because seeing any value in NFTs requires you believing that we’re approaching a time when people will spend a great deal of their lives in a virtual world.
I can sense your skepticism, but note: You’re reading this article on a screen. You probably spend hours a day looking at this or other screens — it might even feel like they’re an extension of your hand at this point. So it’s not a stretch to say people will soon want the things they see in their hand to be viewed in front of their face via headset, goggles or even contact lenses. In fact, that trend is already happening. The human race has long been fusing with technology in ways that can be hard to admit.
In the physical world, it may not make sense why the National Basketball Association would sell a digital image of LeBron James dunking as an NFT. But in the virtual world, that image can be almost anything. It can be the surface of your virtual desk, or the door to your virtual home, or the sky to your virtual city. Who cares?
The NBA — that’s who. Because, once more, NFTs are sold on a blockchain that tells you how many of an item (legally) exist. That information is key for people and companies who want to make money in the virtual world.
That’s why a lot of people say NFTs could theoretically be good for creators: Because while the internet has allowed people to borrow (see: steal) and share a lot of art for free — from memes to music — the new virtual web will presumably be established with blockchains that can help ensure people pay or get paid for creations they own.
I think that could be great for creators. I know it’ll be great for companies that want to sue you into oblivion for using concepts they technically own to decorate the virtual world.
If you want a place to sit in the virtual world, you’re gonna have to pay for your NFT sofa like everyone else.
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