What is an NFT? Modern blockchain technology explained

In early March, a tech company bought a $ 95,000 work of art. Then the executives set it on fire. At the end of the show, which was shared live on the Internet, the group released a copy of the art, this time in digital format. The creation, by the elusive British artist Banksy, was called “Morons (White)”.

As for the digital format, it is generating more publicity than painting and burning it together. It’s a type of technology on the rise called a non-fungible token, or NFT. Think of an NFT as a one-time proof of ownership over something you normally can’t hold in your hand: a digital artwork, a digital coupon, maybe a video clip. Like digital art itself, you can’t hold an NFT in your hand either: it’s a unique code, stored and protected on a shared public exchange.

A print by street artist Banksy is burned on March 3, 2021, before buyers present a digital copy to the public.

Screenshot / Banksy burned

However, some NFTs are making millions of dollars. Investors, futurists, and financial reporters are in an uproar, and companies large and small are launching NFT for profit, advertising, or some of both.

Along with the stunt company Injective Protocol did with its Banksy is the NBA, which recently launched Top Shot, an online marketplace that sells video clips of game highlights. Those clips – think of a classic LeBron James dunk – are priced varying by rarity, and they all come in NFT format. Buyers collect them and sometimes resell them for tens of thousands of dollars, much like digital business cards.

An NBA Top Shot brochure shows a sample of digital collectibles on offer.

Best shot in the NBA / NBA

A Los Angeles pizzeria has launched an NFT that, for one lucky owner, translates to free cakes for life. And an artist named Krista Kim recently sold a virtual house, dubbed the Mars House and created in NFT format, for around $ 500,000.

The uproar surrounding NFTs may seem similar to another highly publicized phenomenon known as bitcoin. People who are excited about one tend to be interested in the other, and that’s because the technology is related. If you’re thinking of buying NFTs, or if you just want to sound smarter when talking about them, here’s what you need to know.


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