If you’re confused by blockchain and cryptocurrency, hang on to your virtual wallet: Nonfungible tokens are the latest trend in the virtual value world and make their predecessors look logical.
Most people struggle with the opaque name “nonfungible token”. “Pretty much every one of those words causes confusion,” says Daniel Van Boom, CNET News Reporter who wrote NFTs don’t make sense, but that won’t stop them. “Nonfungible” means something that is unique and cannot be replaced by another one the way a $1 bill can be replaced by any other $1 bill. “Token” refers to a digital token or certificate, not a tangible thing.
Nonfungible tokens are made so by blockchain technology, recording the owner of the NFT in an openly verifiable, immutable ledger. But that does not mean an NFT affords copy protection. “The token is essentially a certificate of authenticity,” says Van Boom. “So if I buy an NFT for a tweet, the token authenticates me as the owner of that tweet,” but that doesn’t limit ownership of perfect digital copies of it. Computer text or files are easily and perfectly duplicated, as any computer user knows. The whole thing starts to smack of Alice in Wonderland.
Based on all this you might scoff that NFT’s are worthless, but people are spending big money on them, the most famous instance of which is 69 million dollars paid for an NFT of a piece of digital art by Beeple (nonetheless inserted below and replicated as many thousands of times as this page is loaded, at zero cost).
NFT’s are perhaps the ultimate distillation of a component of stock markets, real estate, and precious metals: That something is worth whatever someone else will pay you for it.
Daniel Van Boom expounded about NFT’s and the circular logic of their value, with CNET’s Brian Cooley. Listen to their conversation in the video above.
Now What is a video interview series with industry leaders, celebrities and influencers that covers trends impacting businesses and consumers amid the “new normal.” There will always be change in our world, and we’ll be here to discuss how to navigate it all.
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