Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Why would anyone buy an NFT

they got suckered into the hot new tech thing

Why would anyone buy an NFT?

I was reading some articles on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and as I understand it there is a digital item (can be almost anything), and to prove you have "ownership", they use a blockchain ledger to verify who owns it. I am having a hard time understanding why anyone would pay to be recognized as the owner of something that can be copied for free and distributed for free. For example, if there is some digital artwork that someone owns, that artwork could be copied and distributed to anyone else free of charge so why does it matter whose name is on the blockchain ledger? Is it just for the prestige of ownership?

they got suckered into the hot new tech thing

Please google an article I read yesterday titled, “Why NFT’s keep disappearing”-or something like it. It details how NFTs are just recorded web addresses of where the digital item resides, not the item itself, it goes deep into the rabbit hole about token ID’s, token standards, violation or terms and conditions, multiple viewer services for such items and I realized at the end, it’s all a scam. If the web address where the item resides goes down, the NFT is pointing at nothing -error 404-. I guess. unless you host your own digital item, and lock/record the ownership on an NFT, on a cryptocurrency that doesn’t go extinct, then you can claim ownership . but that seems like a lot of If/maybes to record a copyright on artwork- There is an existing process for all that already in the real world. It’s called copyright of intellectual property, image copyright, etc etc. I guess there is always a way to part a fool from his money, this is just the latest iteration.

While most actual fine art can get harmed or lost, nft networks are indestructible. This is on the grounds that the information is put away on the blockchain where the tokens can’t be eliminated or imitated. Since the tokens are unchanging, it is you who is the real proprietor of the work of art and not the organization that makes the NFT.

How can purchasing NFT be beneficial?

  • There are numerous items which come with consumer’s collectible value. It can also be tangible in a way.
  • It is better explained as a digital art form. It ranges from Facebook post to digital sneakers.
  • Purchasing NFTs can be best as you can verify it.
  • Since NFTs are singular things that are totally interesting, you can’t exchange them like some other digital currencies.
  • You can’t exchange or trade your NFTat the NFT marketplace for two other NFTs.
  • Regardless of whether two NFTs exist on a similar stage or assortment, they can’t be traded.
  • The data recorded in a NFT basically allows a maker carefully “to autograph” their craft.
  • So regardless of whether a picture or piece of music has been shared in many occasions, in the event that you purchase the NFT, you’re purchasing something extraordinary.
  • Every token is recorded in a changeless record, utilizing the equivalent blockchain innovation that is behind different cryptographic forms of money.

The term NFT is being tossed around bounty at the present time, and interest in these peculiar blockchain tokens is simply set to fill in the coming years. However, prior to spending even a modest quantity on a NFT, or “advanced collectible,” you should know precisely what it is that you’re buying. It’s likely not what you anticipate.

While most actual fine art can get harmed or lost, nft networks are indestructible. This is on the grounds that the information is put away on the blockchain where the tokens can’t be eliminated or imitated. Since the tokens are unchanging, it is you who is the real proprietor of the work of art and not the organization that makes the NFT.

So purchasing a NFT from the NFT marketplace is altogether different from say purchasing a melody from a cloud have where the dealer as yet possesses the music and you just will tune in or stream it on your gadget.

The NFT can’t be separated into more modest units. Not at all like bitcoins that can be partitioned into more modest sections and exchanged, NFTs are really resolute.

Then there are other early adopters; they are into NFTs because they want to set the trend. In other words, they want to set the price of digital arts and reap big profits. How?

3 Reasons Why People Are Buying NFTs?

1. Scarcity

If you think back to the top examples of NFTs, they are all artworks worth millions of dollars. Then, it is only perfect that the first reason why NFT is gaining so much ground is that artists want scarcity for their crafts. How so?

Before now, anyone could go online and easily make copies of artists’ works for personal reasons without paying a dime. Unfortunately, the illegal duplicates are just as good as the original. For that reason, creators suffer dips in revenue selling their craft on the internet.

But thanks to the NFT technology, there won’t be illegal duplicates of artists’ works online anymore. Now, everyone can tokenize and track their ware online and control how many stays in circulation. How?

The NFT, through blockchain technology, makes it possible to claim ownership of digital arts with unique signatures. Beautifully enough, no one can alter the signatures. Most importantly, artists can determine the scarcity of their wares and still get royalties even in the case of resale.

2. Early Adoption

Beyond artists and musicians, other people are only into NFT because it is a trend. Perhaps many fear the technology won’t be sustainable because of its environmental impact. For that reason, they want to cash in on the trend while it’s hot.

Then there are other early adopters; they are into NFTs because they want to set the trend. In other words, they want to set the price of digital arts and reap big profits. How?

The said adopters will buy an NFT at a reduced rate and resell at a profitable price. A typical example of such an instance is Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile’s case; he bought Beeple’s Crossroads for just $67K in October 2020 and sold it for $6.6M after 4months.

3. Pandemic And Distrust In Dollar

Another reason most people jumped on the NFT train is the COVID19 pandemic. Most people were at home, and they were looking for any security. At that moment, cryptocurrency came to the fore and has been great ever since.

Weirdly enough, the pandemic and cryptocurrency boom happened when global economies suffered losses. For that reason, people couldn’t trust their savings in dollars and prefer to invest in NFTs.

That said, there might be other reasons why people buy NFTs. But rest assured that we have itemized the key ones. More so, the real question you should even be asking is if you should buy a non-fungible token. We say you should!

However, if i buy a painting worth millions, it doesn't add value to society. NFTs are the same in my opinion. Why should anyone buy/care about NFTs?

Why would anyone want NFTs?

Cryptocurrencies add value to society by being used more and more for real world goods, just like normal currency allows people to trade goods, thus adding value in the wellbeing of people.

However, if i buy a painting worth millions, it doesn't add value to society. NFTs are the same in my opinion. Why should anyone buy/care about NFTs?

edit: the reasons this subreddit gives don't convince me of nothing more than a "buy low sell high, make art and find someone to buy". He gets something with no value in the real world, the maker gets money and calls it a day. Couldn't i just make thousands of "art pieces" with different aliases and get rich that way?

edit two electric boogaloo: the meme of making an nft out of a dick pic doesn't make sense. Even if he buys it and destroys it there's still copies on the internet with his name. Sure, it's not "the original" but no one cares.

Art does add value to society. Your entire premise is flawed. I can't imagine a society without art. It sounds like an actual dystopian nightmare.

The NFTs that you mostly see aren't worth anything. Only fine art is valuable. An idea of an NFT holding value could come from utility as well. Say that you design a action figure (dimensions and all) and create a NFT with that. When sold it hands over the rights to all that information. There are many more ways to add utility to NFTs.

There is nothing legal that says transferring an NFT actually transfers any rights. You still have to patent, trademark and copyright things. Do you really think it’ll hold up in a court? “Yeah I bought this with crypto so the government couldn’t tax it, but I want you to protect my rights that I think I got from it.”

Fine art doesn't add value to society. When has a big painting aquisition benefited you? Also if you have something where "who has the right over it" is an impotant thing then there is already a lawful way to define that and change ownership. It still looks like a way to scam people by making thousands of drawings (maybe some copied aed distorted enough thtat a computer can't detect) and sell them, once done cash out.

I still don’t fully understand NFT’s. But feel musicians are the ones who would really benefit from them. 🤔 prepare to see more record labels going under rapidly.

Why? Digital music as it is was not allowed to be legally transferred. Essentially with an NFT you can now resell that music. And as an NFT, the file have to live on someone’s server. what’s to prevent everyone from accessing that? Or what happens when the server goes down?

Personally I disagree with the idea that art doesn't add value to society. Can you imagine a world without art? No tv shows or movies, no music, no paintings, no photography, no theater, no books or poetry. Art is literally everywhere and is what makes us human. Art is emotions, it tells a story. Think about probably anything you do when you aren't working, and I bet art is involved in some way. You may not personally enjoy going to a museum and looking at the paintings of the classic painters, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't bring value. Value is more than just money. Art, and NFTs is and will be more than just making a quick buck. Personally I believe that after maybe a year or so, a lot of the lower effort "meme" type NFTs will die down. The bubble will burst a bit. But people who have dedicated their lives to making art will shine through and rise to the top, because beyond the tech of NFTs, people will want to buy their art to experience it, because they resonate with the art and the artist.

Really well articulated! True art was, is and will forever be an expression of our most inner world, the things that make us human.

I don’t think that’s what was being implied. They were saying that some rich person buying a “priceless” piece of art, doesn’t add value to anyone’s life.

Who buys digital art?

Following. It makes no sense other than a scheme on some level. Like hey, wanna come over and log into my digital living room and check out my paintings.

See Instagram for people’s current digital collection/ living room.

Exactly, people say "yea you can copy it but it won't be the original" ok but who cares?

Visual art is just one application, but what about things that have valuable digital utility?

One example is items in a video game, let’s say you earn loot/in-game currency for completing a task in a video game, pretty common right. What if every item was an NFT? Then you could import and export these items onto any game that supports NFTs and sell them on the multiple marketplaces.

This is just one example of the technology, I’m sure there will be many innovations in the future

This doesn’t make any sense. Developers do not give a shit if you are able to resell anything, in general. They’d rather make all of the money from each copy, rather than have money trading hands between players in some secondary market. They already make a lot of money from micro transactions. How the hell would NFT’s enable them to earn any more money?

I understand why you are questioning this but your first point about crypto currency adding value to society is not quite accurate. Yes it is used to buy goods and that can have a positive effect on the economy but it is not taxed so the economy actually suffers as does society. You need taxes for schools roads etc. Now the same can be said for crypto art as it is also not being taxed effectively however it has the added benefit of culture.

As for why NFT art vas value. People have said that it does. That is all that is needed for value to be applied.

As for where crypto art fits into the world, take a look at mixed reality, it is feasible to think in the not too distant future you will exist in a partial digital world except when sleeping. We are basically there already but it is done though our phones and laptops. Soon it will be glasses and headsets and 3D, animated, video and gif art will be a very cool way to digitally decorate your physical space.

Crypto art like traditional physical art can be used as a symbol of status and wealth. To some people that is important and because it is important they will pay a lot of money for it.

I love this topic because we are just getting started on the scope of NFTs and I think healthy scepticism is a good thing.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wishing for a quiet week in crypto news for a while now. Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep? But no, Visa decided to announce Monday morning that it paid $150,000 for a CryptoPunk NFT, a kind of blockchain art token, to add to its “collection of historic commerce artifacts.” In an accompanying blog post, Visa declared that “NFTs mark a new chapter for digital commerce.”

Why Did Visa Buy a $150K NFT? Why Does Anyone?

Aug 23, 2021 at 5:20 p.m. UTC

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wishing for a quiet week in crypto news for a while now. Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep? But no, Visa decided to announce Monday morning that it paid $150,000 for a CryptoPunk NFT, a kind of blockchain art token, to add to its “collection of historic commerce artifacts.” In an accompanying blog post, Visa declared that “NFTs mark a new chapter for digital commerce.”

There are certain events and inflection points that mark the transition from fringe to something approaching mainstream, and crypto and blockchain have already had at least two of those in recent months. First we had a nation-state getting serious about bitcoin, then the entire U.S. Senate fought over whether wallet programmers are brokers.

Visa’s purchase of a CryptoPunk, I think, serves as a similar marker for the inevitable mainstreaming of non-fungible tokens. They’ve already featured on "Saturday Night Live" and drawn in celebrities from Tom Brady to Jay-Z, but the apparent stamp of approval from a major financial institution takes things to another level. Cynically, $150,000 is probably a steal for Visa considering the PR it’ll get (including this article). But the announcement set off a $20 million frenzy of CryptoPunk trading, and that hype train isn’t coming back to the station.

Visa’s move, though, also returns us to an inescapable question: Why in the name of all that is holy would anyone pay $150,000 for a 25x25 pixel image stored on an extremely expensive and slow database?

It’s impossible to wrap your head around this, I think, if you’re looking for a truly rational or utilitarian explanation. But there are some very good reasons, it turns out, rooted in our deep, totally irrational animal brains – the same strange forces that lead us to make other major purchases that seem completely loony if you think about them too long.

“You have this rock stuck on your finger,” points out William Quigley, co-founder of the NFT-focused WAX blockchain. “It doesn’t look like it does anything. It’ll never do anything. And you paid $10,000 or $20,000 for that.”

The transition to more and more online living, Quigley thinks, means physical status symbols like jewelry have new competition from similarly exclusive digital objects. Both Jay-Z and National Football League player Odell Beckham Jr. have recently bought CryptoPunks costing tens of thousands of dollars (at least) and made them their Twitter avatars. That's probably the biggest single use of NFTs right now. The uselessness, you might say, is the point.

To understand any of this, some basic knowledge about the technology is essential. NFT stands for non-fungible token, which basically means it’s unique. An NFT exists on a blockchain ledger just like a bitcoin or ETH token, but one bitcoin is basically the same as the other several million – they’re “fungible” (with an asterisk).

An NFT is just as immutable as a bitcoin, but there’s only one: There are 10,000 CryptoPunks, but each of them is unique, and that uniqueness creates a lot of variation in their value. Visa, for instance, bought one of about 3,800 female Punks. CryptoPunks are particularly attractive because they were issued in 2017, making them among the first NFTs ever created.

NFTs come in a lot of different forms – they can even be interactive objects programmed to change based on certain inputs – but the most common type right now are image NFTs. Many of these are still essentially links to JPEGs stored elsewhere, which is a genuine problem for trust in the assets. But just last week CryptoPunks announced it had moved all data onto the Ethereum blockchain itself. It seems likely that this move helped push Visa to finalize its decision, because the move makes the assets more robust. Expect more NFTs, especially 8-bit series like the Punks, to transition to on-chain storage rapidly and, if you’re an investor, maybe look for that as a feature.

All this adds up to something deliriously simple: An NFT is a unique digital object. It is exclusive in a way that even bitcoin can’t claim. In fact, not even most real-world status symbols have the capacity to be as unique.

When someone buys an NFT avatar, “they’re saying, this is who I am,” says Henry Love, a managing partner at the NFT-focused investing fund Fundamental Labs. “So it’s more like a custom Rolex with your name on it. It’s one of one.”

Another crucial thing to know is that despite Visa grabbing headlines and all the comparisons to Rolexes and diamond rings, the NFT craze seems to be truly broad and grassroots. Trading volumes on OpenSea, the dominant NFT trading platform, have exploded, recently hitting $1 billion in monthly trading volume for August. But even that’s just the 10,000-foot view: There’s a frenzy of collecting and creation going on across Twitter and Telegram. NFT drop schedules are being watched as closely as Yeezy or Supreme drops were a few years ago.

And while a lot of that is fueled by insider speculation, there’s also something that feels much more real and special about this than, say, debating whether you’re going to buy $100 worth of cardano or solana. Because they’re ultimately about identity and taste rather than just money, NFT shopping has a personal element that seems likely to draw a much broader user base.

However, there’s a major barrier, especially for Ethereum-based NFTs like CryptoPunks: Transaction fees on Ethereum make buying and selling less-expensive assets impractical. I was just about to buy a $60 avatar NFT (because I too am an ape afraid of being left behind by my tribe). But the transaction fee was $50, which is quite a psychological barrier.

That’s why low-fee standalone chains like WAX and Flow (which hosts NBA Top Shot), which are largely focused on less-pricey branded collectibles, are significant right now, and have a real opportunity to grow from a core value proposition. It also suggests the market for NFTs on Ethereum, which have a significant credibility premium, will get substantially more insane, particularly at the low end, when Ethereum completes its transition to a lower-fee, proof-of-stake system.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Aside from the visual pleasure of physical objects, nearly all the value art offers is, in some way, a social construct. This does not mean that art is interchangeable, or that the historical significance and technical skill of a Rembrandt is imaginary. It means that the value we place on these attributes is a choice.

A bubble bound to burst?

Personally, I want to buy only art I can hang on my walls, so I have no interest in buying crypto art. There are also environmental costs. Certain blockchains used for crypto art are really bad for the climate, because they require computations that consume staggering amounts of energy.

That said, if buying it right now gives you pleasure – and you enjoy sharing what you’ve bought and the community around it and you’re using a more environmentally friendly blockchain – that’s great.

If you’re buying it for some future reward, however, that’s risky. Will people care about your personal virtual gallery in the future? Will you care? Will crypto art even be a thing in a few years?

As an investment, it just seems inconceivable to me that the higher prices reflect true value, in the sense of these works having higher resale value in the long term. As in the traditional art world, there are a lot more works being sold than could ever possibly be considered significant in a generation’s time.

And, in the crypto world, we’re seeing highly volatile prices, a sudden frenzy of interest, and huge sums being paid for things that seem, on the surface, not to have the slightest bit of value at all, such as the USD 2.5 million bid to “own” Jack Dorsey’s first tweet or even the USD 1,000 bid on a photo of a cease-and-desist letter about NFTs.

Much of this energy seems to be driven by price speculation. It’s also worth noting that the winner of the Beeple auction seems to be heavily invested in the success of crypto art. The cryptocurrencies that drive crypto art are often considered highly speculative.

I have no doubt that, right now, there’s a big NFT bubble.

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There have been lots of bubbles before – tulips, baseball cards, Beanie Babies – objects that were flying off the shelves one year and then piled up in landfills the next. And, in a bubble, a few headline-making winners get rich, while a whole lot of others lose their shirts. Even if crypto art lasts, maybe the particular artist or platform where you’re buying won’t be popular in the future.

My feelings about crypto art aside, I do believe that art is, fundamentally, a social activity. The more our social lives are lived online, the more it may make sense for some people to have their art collections online, too – whether or not blockchain is involved.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

T h is allows the owner of the creation the NFT is linked with to be assured that they own the original piece authenticated by the blockchain. And by extension, NFTs also allows them the ability to trade the artwork in the future.

NFTs: Why Can’t I Just Take A Screenshot?

Zach of Mintable.app —A Next Gen NFT Marketplace

One of the most common questions we get about NFTs especially from those who are new to the digital artwork space is “Why can’t I just take a screenshot?”. As with every new technology, during the early stages of adoption, it is sometimes challenging to comprehend what value it brings especially for something that is intangible like digital artwork.

In the context of digital art, NFT enables transparent and trackable ownership. Whenever an NFT gets transferred to someone else, it is recorded on the blockchain. And this record is completely accessible to anyone.

T h is allows the owner of the creation the NFT is linked with to be assured that they own the original piece authenticated by the blockchain. And by extension, NFTs also allows them the ability to trade the artwork in the future.

Taking a picture of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre is not exactly the same as owning a piece from Leonardo da Vinci.
The same concept can be applied to NFTs for digital artwork. By taking a screenshot of an NFT, does not make you the rightful owner of the artwork.

Sure, you can admire the art for what it is just like how you can admire a picture of the Mona Lisa taken on your smartphone, but if the Mona Lisa appreciates even more in value over time, you cannot sell that picture of it on your smartphone to an art dealer because it is not the real thing.
And here’s where this common misconception starts.

An NFT in and of itself is not inherently valuable. Or rather it is only as valuable as the piece of art or creation that it ties itself to, or maybe certain perks it enables. Just like how a deed to a house is only as valuable as the physical house is or a Foo Fighters concert ticket being just a piece of paper if it doesn’t grant you access to the gig.

For some creators, NFTs also serve as a great tool that enables them to reward their buyers with perks through unlockable content. Through NFTs, a digital artist can seed vector files and 3D files that only unlocks when a buyer purchases the NFT. So before you take that screenshot of an artwork thinking you saved yourself a few ETH, think again. You might be missing out on some high-quality content that comes with the NFT.

Remember that time at the ball game where you walked past the Team Store on the way out and decided to pick up some merch to commemorate the occasion? A Dodgers cap perhaps to celebrate a win over the Yankees. If you really wanted, you could have saved a couple of bucks by buying a knockoff somewhere in Chinatown instead of from the official Dodgers store.

But we all know, in this case, we are buying more than just a cap here. We are supporting our favourite team.

With the emergence of NFTs, you too can support your favourite creators. By purchasing their creations, you are helping them continue down their artistic path. And as long as artists continue to get support from their community, they too can continue churning out pieces of work for their community to enjoy.

And who knows? Maybe 20 years from now, that original Dodgers cap from the year they won the world series that you picked up at that game might be worth something to someone.

In Victor Pelevin’s satirical novel “Homo Zapiens,” the main character visits an art exhibition where only the names and sale prices of the works are shown. When he says he doesn’t understand – where are the paintings themselves? – it becomes clear that this isn’t the point. Buying and selling is more important than the art.

Value as a social construct

Aside from the visual pleasure of physical objects, nearly all the value art offers is, in some way, a social construct. This does not mean that art is interchangeable, or that the historical significance and technical skill of a Rembrandt is imaginary. It means that the value we place on these attributes is a choice.

When someone pays $90 million for a metal balloon animal made by Jeff Koons, it’s hard to believe that the work has that much “intrinsic” value. Even if the materials and craftsmanship are quite good, surely some of those millions are simply buying the right to say “I bought a Koons. And I spent a lot of money on it.” If you just want an artfully made metal balloon animal, there are cheaper ways to get one.

Two people take photographs with their smartphones of a banana taped to a wall.

Conversely, the conceptual art tradition has long separated the object itself from the value of the work. Maurizio Cattelan sold a banana taped to a wall for six figures, twice; the value of the work was not in the banana or in the duct tape, nor in the way that the two were attached, but in the story and drama around the work. Again, the buyers weren’t really buying a banana, they were buying the right to say they “owned” this artwork.

Depending on your point of view, crypto art could be the ultimate manifestation of conceptual art’s separation of the work of art from any physical object. It is pure conceptual abstraction, applied to ownership.

On the other hand, crypto art could be seen as reducing art to the purest form of buying and selling for conspicuous consumption.

In Victor Pelevin’s satirical novel “Homo Zapiens,” the main character visits an art exhibition where only the names and sale prices of the works are shown. When he says he doesn’t understand – where are the paintings themselves? – it becomes clear that this isn’t the point. Buying and selling is more important than the art.

This story was satire. But crypto art takes this one step further. If the point of ownership is to be able to say you own the work, why bother with anything but a receipt?

In his original piece, “Buy This Column on the Blockchain!”, Mr. Roose provides more examples of NFTs, many of them works of digital art, that have sold for millions:

Would You Buy an NFT?

Would you want to own an official version of a digital good like a video, an image or a song? How much would you be willing to pay?

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Do you know what a nonfungible token, or NFT, is? Shira Ovide explains in the On Tech newsletter “NFTs Are Neither Miracles nor Scams”:

Allow me to explain to normal humans what’s happening: NFTs are essentially a way to transform a digital good that can be endlessly copied into something one of a kind. When someone buys an NFT, what they’re effectively getting is the knowledge of owning an official version of a cat with a Pop-Tart body, a song, a video clip of a basketball dunk or another virtual thing. The records of ownership are maintained on a blockchain.

Now that you have some context, you can understand a little stunt the New York Times journalist Kevin Roose pulled on March 24. He turned his column about the rise of nonfungible tokens into an NFT itself and put it up for auction. The title of his follow-up piece expressed his disbelief at the high prices fetched by NFTs amid the current frenzy: “Why Did Someone Pay $560,000 for a Picture of My Column?”

Do you share Mr. Roose’s astonishment that a digital token of a column that is available to anyone on The New York Times’s website sold for more than half a million dollars? Do you think that owning an official version of a piece of digital media is worth this much — or even worth anything at all?

In short, how do you feel about the recent NFT mania?

In his original piece, “Buy This Column on the Blockchain!”, Mr. Roose provides more examples of NFTs, many of them works of digital art, that have sold for millions:

The NFT market is exploding right now, as early adopters and cryptocurrency enthusiasts try to cash in on the trend. Recently, Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist from South Carolina who goes by the name Beeple, sold “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” a tokenized collection of his art, at an online auction at Christie’s for more than $69 million. NFTs representing other pieces of internet art — like an illustration of Homer Simpson as Pepe the Frog — have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. NBA Top Shot, a partnership between the N.B.A. and the blockchain company Dapper Labs that turns basketball highlight videos into unique cryptocollectibles, has $230 million in sales since 2019. Even well-known musical acts like Kings of Leon are getting in on the NFT action, selling millions of dollars’ worth of music in the form of digital tokens.

He then evaluates some of the arguments for and against the NFT boom:

Some of the NFT buzz is shallow hype, no doubt. The cryptocurrency world is full of scammers and get-rich-quick hustlers whose projects often end in failure. (Remember the initial coin offering boom?) And critics point out that NFTs and other cryptocurrency-related projects require enormous amounts of energy and computing power, making them a growing environmental hazard. There are also legitimate questions about what, exactly, NFT buyers are getting for their money, and whether these tokens will turn into broken links if the marketplaces and hosting services that store the underlying files disappear.

But there’s something real here that is worth taking seriously. For decades, artists, musicians and other creators have struggled with the fact that, on the internet, making copies of any digital artifact is trivially easy. Scarcity — the quality that gives offline art its value — was hard to replicate online, because anyone who downloaded a file could copy and paste it an infinite number of times, with no loss in quality.

Blockchain technology changed that by making it possible to stamp digital goods with a cryptographic marker of authenticity and keep a permanent record of its ownership. You can copy the file contained in an NFT all you want, but you can’t fake the digital signature behind it, which gives collectors of rare digital goods some peace of mind. And NFT fans think the technology could be used to keep track of all kinds of goods in the future — titles to houses and cars, business contracts and wills.

Students, read the entire article and then tell us:

In your own words, what is an NFT? How would you explain what a nonfungible token is to a friend or parent?

Would you ever buy an NFT? Of the NFTs mentioned in this article, which would you be most interested in owning? Would you sell a digital token of any of your own work?

How do you feel about the endless copying, altering and editing of digital media that takes place on the internet? Would owning an official version of a digital good like a video, a GIF or a song be worth something to you?

What other debates about the ownership of digital art have you heard about? For example, do you think that we need to do a better job crediting dance creators and preventing art from being copied on TikTok? What role might NFTs play in these conversations?

Are you concerned about the environmental impact of NFTs and other cryptocurrency-related projects? What do you think of the other arguments against the NFT buzz that Mr. Roose raises?

What questions do you still have about NFTs, cryptocurrency, blockchain or any of the other concepts in this article? Where will you look for answers?

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Proponents of NFTs say they’re the future of art collecting and will empower artists, giving them more financial control and a new audience hungry for digital art. But the CryptoVerses project, given its extremely famous and extremely accessible content, highlights a relevant question: what does it mean to own something everyone can access for free?

You can now buy the bible in NFT form. But why would you want to?

Perhaps you’re deep into cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and know exactly what a non-fungible token is. Or maybe you, like me, barely know what any of those words mean, but have a vague sense that dudes in a certain kind of bar love to talk your ear off about bitcoin and that NFTs are some kind of digital art. Maybe you saw the headlines when one NFT, by an artist known as Beeple, sold for $69 million.

Either way, you can now buy bible verses as NFTs, thanks to the four-month-old Israeli company CryptoVerses, which just announced that it sold a set of four consecutive verses in Exodus dealing with Shabbat, the shmita year and idolatry for a bit less than half a coin of the cryptocurrency Ethereum, or equivalent to $1,500. Their first sale was in August for 3.5 Ethereum, now worth around $14,000, and the encrypted verses offer both the original Hebrew and the Jewish Publication Society’s 1917 English translation.

Robot by the Forward

The prices are a bit less than $69 million, but still a lot for something that you can read for free online – including on CryptoVerses’ own website. After NFT verses are encrypted into blockchain, which makes them impossible to alter, and purchased, they remain free to view and read on the CryptoVerses site. Cryptoverses even says that owning their bible NFTs is not owning the verse itself, since the bible is public domain; in a press release, they compared owning their NFTs to owning a “medallion, where the purchaser becomes the owner of the medallion but not the owner of the verse written on it.”

This is actually not unusual in the world of NFTs; that $69 million piece by Beeple is available to not only see but also download for free, and it remains a mystery to me why someone paid millions for it. In fact, you can screenshot or download or otherwise access just about any NFT for free, even if you don’t officially own it. Some argue that easy access to NFT content increases the value of the artwork by increasing its popularity and renown and who knows – maybe that’s true. Isn’t all value basically a made-up social agreement? Hell, that’s basically our unspoken societal agreement about the green pieces of paper we carry around in our wallets.

Proponents of NFTs say they’re the future of art collecting and will empower artists, giving them more financial control and a new audience hungry for digital art. But the CryptoVerses project, given its extremely famous and extremely accessible content, highlights a relevant question: what does it mean to own something everyone can access for free?

Yonatan Bendahan, Cryptoverses’ co-founder, likened their NFTs to owning the first printed bible – you don’t own the content, but you own a groundbreaking version of it, an object that is in itself worth something, “like holding a valuable piece of rare Judaica,” he said in an email.

Bendahan also emphasized the potential preservation aspects of the project; because of the unique technology blockchain uses to store data, once a dataset is input, it cannot be changed. “Once the verse is encrypted no one, even us, can delete or alter it,” he said. “So just like the printing press revolutionized the spread and conservation of the Bible, so will the blockchain.”

A photo of Caras wearing a bitcoin hat in front of a wallpaper of bitcoin by the Forward

On the other hand, when I explained the project to a friend who actually understands some things about the world of crypto and blockchain, he pointed out that the public domain nature of the bible means anyone could create the exact same thing, though Cryptoverses will always have the status of being the first do to so.

Sure, anyone can copy most NFTs, but they’re designed to prove that ownership belongs only to one person, perhaps comparable to owning an original artwork even when prints and posters of it are widely available. (Of course, this is an imperfect metaphor when both original and print are identical digital pieces, instead of one being oil on canvas and the other being laser-printed on cardstock.) But because the source material for Cryptoverses’ project is public domain, you could truly make and own your own original NFT that would be, at least in content, identical, and you’d hold its official ownership, though it might lack the Cryptoverses branding and whatever cachet that confers.

But maybe that’s where the real value comes in. Ownership of some NFTs, such as those from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, come with perks, such as being invited to fancy parties, and a big part of the whole NFT world seems to be hype, bragging rights and a certain cliqueiness you get access to when you buy in, something particularly emphasized by the blockchain technology, which creates a public record of ownership – so everyone can see that you’re the owner of a hyped-up piece by Beeple. Value is relative, and pedigree has always been important in the art world; if anything, NFTs have simply boiled down the complex mathematics to pure prestige.

So maybe, in a certain crowd, it’s cool to say you own a part of the bible in NFT form, and that alone is worth thousands of dollars.

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