By Laia Cardona, on 14 April 2021
Mentions of NFTs have been popping up across news feeds and social media accounts. Many people have wondered what all the fuss is about and struggled to understand what this new form of buying and selling digital property means. While many are unconvinced, NFTs have taken off and are being sold for huge sums of money. So what are NFTs and how can we apply marketing tactics to both make and sell them?
What Are NFTs?
Most NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) work on blockchain and exist at the moment mainly as digital artwork, music, or other forms of unique digital content. What does fungible mean? Well, bitcoins for example are fungible, meaning you trade a bitcoin for another bitcoin. NFTs are unique and therefore can only be traded for something else. Think about trading cards, sports memorabilia, limited edition items, etc. These are unique items that have perceived value. Basically, anything that is perceived as having value and exists in the digital world can be an NFT.
It may seem odd to own a digital image that can easily be copied and saved but the same goes for physical art too. People own verified original Picasso paintings worth millions while there are countless reprints in other people’s homes around the world. The value lies in having a certified original, which in an NFT’s case means a verified blockchain entry. Some are starting NFT collections as investments that they hope will gain value in the future.
Sound strange? Well, think about how much certain domain names sell for now. Did they make sense in the early nineties? No, but they certainly do now. Digital property can have real-world value and NFTs are no different.
Before exploding into the headlines, NFTs were already being used in the gaming world, most notably in CryptoKitties, a digital card trading game based on unique cat cards.
Examples of NFTs
Beeple’s Video Clip
Artist Beeple’s 10 second digital art video clip recently sold for $6.6 million.
Chris Torres’ Nyan Cat
The iconic Nyan Cat was recreated as a one of a kind, 10th anniversary GIF and was sold for $590,000 in February.
Beeple’s “Everydays ---The First 5000 Days”
Another piece by Beeple which sold at a Christie’s auction for an astounding $69.3 million.
Where Can You Buy NFTs and Are They Worth it?
Besides the big-ticket NFTs shared above, there are plenty of more affordable NFTs out there. So why would you want to buy an NFT anyway? Are they real investments? The answer depends on if you see real value in owning something that interests you. For example, if you’re a Star Trek fan, you can buy an NFT trading card of William Shatner’s teeth. Perhaps in 20 years, you can sell that at Comic-Con to another NFT collector. Also, maybe not. File types change over time and digital formats go obsolete so there is the risk of losing your digital masterpiece. Still, if your NFT is indeed worth a hefty sum, or could be, it’s likely you’ll find a way to maintain it. So where can you buy NFTs?
Finding NFTs to buy and collect is currently done through marketplaces. Here are a few to consider.
OpenSea - The largest NFT marketplace founded in 2017. Users can create customized marketplaces and set their own transaction fees.
Rarible - Founded in 2020 and based in Moscow, Rarible attempts to give creators as much autonomy as possible and they can add their music or even books as NFTs. Creators can also give teasers of NFTs (like movie trailers) before releasing the full version to the buyer.
Nifty Gateway - Now owned by Sotheby’s, this marketplace prides itself on exclusivity and the status of its participating artists. The platform focuses on music and artwork. There have, however, been complaints about the transparency of transaction fees.
Other platforms include NBA Top Shot which sells NBA highlights as NFTs, taking sports memorabilia into the digital age. Just be aware of any transaction fees that marketplaces take for the service, the cost of energy used on the blockchain, or for exchanging dollars into Ethereum (a common cryptocurrency). Also, be sure that you’re clear on the type of cryptocurrency and wallet required for each platform.
How to Make and Sell NFTs
Curious about how to get into either making or selling NFTs? The marketplace is open to anyone who wants to participate and it’s easier than you probably think.
Making an NFT
Anyone and everyone can create an NFT and put it up for sale. All that’s needed (besides something people actually want to buy) is a digital wallet, some cryptocurrency, and an account with an NFT marketplace.
Selling an NFT
Once all the above details are in place, you can then upload your digital art to the platform of your choice. The specifics vary depending on the platform but the process is straightforward.
With your new NFT uploaded you can now include a description of your piece as well as suggest a selling price.
Still struggling to wrap your head around how NFTs work? You’re not alone. That said, NFTs have won over some of the world’s most influential people and if organizations like the NBA are betting on them, you might want to take notice. While the jury is still out on whether or not NFTs will be around for the long haul they’re opening our eyes to the value of a digital property. And why not? You pay for streaming content and digital downloads right now.