What are NFT’s or non-fungible tokens?

Recently, non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) have taken the internet by storm. Pieces from this confusing new artform have sold for millions of dollars. However, the general public online seems to not understand what exactly NFT’s are or their significance to art connoisseurs.

NFT’s are essentially pieces of code that, when read, form an image. It’s like a digital way of owning an original art piece. Some artists are making millions through this medium, like artist Grimes who sold an NFT for $6,000,000 which sparks the question of why. Why would people pay so much for digital pictures when you could just screenshot them and view the same way? Well, the difference is in the code. It’s sort of like owning the original Mona Lisa vs looking at a picture online. While you’re still looking at the same thing, that’s not the same as owning an actual piece.

Although, this medium isn’t only for visual art. NFT code is also being used as a way to sell audible art like albums. The first big musician to get into this was Mike Shindoa from the popular alternative rock band Linkin Park. He sold a 75 second clip of his song, “Happy Endings,” accompanied by an animation for over $6,000. The buyer was not allowed to distribute the song clip publicly. To put it simply, writer Matty Karas said “you’re basically buying a digitally autographed mp3”. Taking it a step further, alternative rock band Kings of Leon sold their whole album via NFT among other services. What set the NFT purchase apart from other services like Spotify are the additional perks provided like limited edition vinyl records and front row seats to future concerts.

In conclusion, NFT’s are a new and interesting artform. They most likely aren’t the future of art which is made clear by the fact bands like Kings of Leon feel the need to add extra benefits to make the purchase seem worthwhile and also by the general confusion among most people as to what an NFT even is. They aren’t crypto-currency or memes, NFT’s are a whole new way of expression entirely and one that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.