Okay, I’ll Bite—What’s An NFT?

We’re breaking down the cryptocurrency trend that everyone is talking about.

Have you ever made a meme, gone viral and wished you could capitalize off of your digital prowess? And no, I don’t mean get reposted on a punch of different profiles, gain new followers and then start seeing your post with your name/watermark cropped out. I’m talking about actually making cash from your content. NFTs, a form of cryptocurrency that have become pretty popular, seem to be the best way. So let’s get into what exactly they are.

What does NFT stand for?

Non-fungible token. “Non-fungible” means that it can’t be replaced and is completely unique. For example, money is fungible since you can trade $1 for $1 and have the same thing. On the other hand, original art is non-fungible because you can exchange an oil painting of a donut for a Photoshop painting of a cat and have two completely different items.

What are NFTs, how do they work and what do they do?

NFTs are bitcoin-like tokens that are connected to anything digital or a real-world body of work. But right now, digital art is the type of NFT people care about most—so gifs, viral memes, screenshots of tweets (though that’s less popular,) digital drawings and things of that nature are blowing up on marketplaces.

No two NFTs are the same.

Most NFTs are a part of Ethereum, a blockchain-based computer network. Ether is the currency used on the network (which went for over $3000 this past Sunday). Ether is the second-largest cryptocurrency behind bitcoin and its usage is increasing. You can also buy NFTs using other ERC-20 tokens like WAX.

So basically, people are auctioning off and buying the art connected to NFTs as the next step in the evolution of fine art collecting. And it’s really taking off—Christie’s auction house sold a piece of collaged art by Beeple for a whopping $69 million.

NFTs are about ownership, even though you can literally download an image that someone paid $300,000 for. Wild, right? But even if you download the piece, you still won’t own it, so that’s a part of the appeal. (Side note: artists can still retain the rights to their work, just like with physical artwork.) As Twitter user Lou_is_ILLA mentioned, it would be great to see Black people cash out for their viral internet moments. Like if Durell Smylie (Mr. Where the Money Reside) sold a picture of himself standing in front of a Honda for $50 million bucks.

Read our interview with Durell Smylie here.

Where are NFTs sold?

NFTs are sold in a variety of marketplaces. Some of the best-known ones are OpenSea, Nifty Gateway, Rarible, and Makers Place. All sellers need to have a digital wallet.

How can I get involved as a seller?

You upload your work to a market and go through their steps to get it sold. You’ll be prompted to give the piece a title, a description and a price. And to potential buyers, know that all markets are the same—some have “gas fees” that you’ll need to pay to complete a transaction.

So go ahead, give it a try. Dolla dolla bill, y’all.

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