Think blockchain is all about cryptocurrencies? Think again. As hyper-ledger technology starts fulfilling its wider uses, one of the first things up is art — or, more precisely, digital art — and the ability to prove ownership of it. Welcome to the cryptic world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
As the Q1 2021 bitcoin surge electrifies the blockchain community, CNBC reported on Thursday (Feb. 25) on the trend of buying NFTs to identify legal ownership of digital assets on the blockchain. NFTs are being used to store and track the value of viral internet memes, digital avatars and pieces of digital art that are dubbed as “crypto-collectibles.”
In much the same way that Elon Musk’s recent bitcoin activities are heating up that space, NFTs are being spotlighted by other celebs — namely billionaire Mark Cuban, who said this week on The Quest podcast that “if this was 1995 again, coming up with these types of applications, I’d be going nuts.” The Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank alum added that “this is like the early internet days all over again. I think [NFTs and blockchain tech is] going to be huge.”
With serious money starting to flow into NFTs and the crypto-collectibles category, market watchers are analyzing actions like those of VC firm Benchmark, an early investor in Uber, Twitter and eBay, which is now sinking $50 million into Sorare, “a digital network focused on global soccer stars such as Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah,” as reported by Bloomberg.
For those familiar with germinal meme sensation “Nyan Cat,” it’s hard to imagine that creator Christopher Torres thought it would ever be investment-grade. Wrong. CNBC reported that “CryptoKitties, one of the original NFTs, generated $433,454 in sales in the past week,” and fantasy sports is an emerging market for “CryptoPunk” avatars and digital renderings of players.
To illustrate that last point, CNBC noted that “NBA Top Shot, a platform created by Dapper Labs in partnership with the basketball league, attracted $147.8 million in sales in the last seven days, according to NFT data tracker CryptoSlam. The service lets users buy and sell short clips showing match highlights from top basketball players.”