You may have heard the term ‘NFT’ floating around a lot in the news lately, and for good reason. Last week, the beloved ‘Nyan Cat’ meme sold online for a hefty $580,000. A clip of LeBron James dunking a basketball went for $208,000. EDM musician 3LAU recently announced his first ever blockchain-powered release, along with an auction to create a one-of-a-kind single that will become a tokenized NFT. So what’s the big deal with these NFT things anyway, and what do they mean? Let us give you a quick rundown.
What is an NFT and how does it work?
In the real world, something fungible has many identical copies, and has value. Their number is limited and each is completely interchangeable with any other. One $100 bill is as good as the next because they’re fungible. Something that’s non-fungible also has value, but there’s only one of them. Your house, a piece of art, the clay pot you made in the third grade, these all have value (ok, maybe only to you) because each is unique.
On the Internet, Bitcoin is fungible because their number is limited (there will only ever be 21 million of them), each has value ($46k+ as we write this!), and they are identical. Same with its younger but more interesting cousin, Ethereum. So far, so good, because now we have an amazing online currency that everyone can depend on. Bitcoin and Ethereum (or Eth for short) are both kinds of tokens.
So now we have fungible tokens we can use to buy stuff, but what exactly is there to buy? How can something be non-fungible on the internet if there can be a zillion copies floating around? And if there are so many copies, how can I know which one is the original worth paying for?
Enter non-fungible tokens or NFTs. An NFT is a unique digital asset that has real value and lives on the blockchain. An NFT could represent anything from a rare first edition book, to an original digital painting, or any other digitized original work: a gif, photo, video, or song. NFTs are non-interchangeable and one of a kind. Think of them like baseball cards: One player’s card is valued differently from the others because of factors like the player’s ranking, the condition of the card, how old it is, and so on. Or it could be a one-of-a kind, like the Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner card circa 1910, or one of thousands of Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 rookie card. This is where the value in NFTs lies. Each one is as unique as your own fingerprint, and — importantly — if Alice buys an NFT from Bob… Bob no longer has it.
NFTs are created under a standard Ethereum protocol called ERC-721 (which we explained in a previous article here). Every ERC-721 token is cryptographically different from any other — it’s a mathematical impossibility there can ever be two of the same — so they’re perfect to represent non-fungible assets. They can also be directly sold for Eth, where a transfer can happen digitally from one party to another, all in a decentralized space, with no middle party involved in the exchange. Pretty powerful stuff when you stop to think about it.
So if you’ve even glanced at Twitter lately, it seems everyone wants to make and sell NFTs like our friends LeBron and 3LAU above. The problem is that until now, you need to be a crypto-head to do it. You have to create a wallet, change some dollars into Eth on Coinbase, fund the wallet, sign up on an NFT-creation website and connect your wallet. Sounds complicated, right? For the average person, this may be a tricky area to navigate. S!NG’s job is to let any creator of any skill set — musician, photographer, designer, regular person — make NFTs without a degree in cryptographic computation.
With the S!NG app, if you can take a picture on your iPhone, you’ve just made an NFT. For real.
S!NG was built on Ethereum and uses its standard protocols. In fact, it always has. When you sign up for an account, we automatically create an Ethereum wallet for you. When you snap a picture, upload a song or leave a voice note, we save it using the ERC-721 standard. Yup. An NFT, which we then deposit into your digital wallet for you. What’s more — it’s free. Just download S!NG on the App Store and you can make as many NFTs as you like. Manage them inside the app, save and share copies with others while maintaining complete ownership and control of the original. And coming very soon, you’ll be able to post any of your NFTs for sale online — directly from your S!NG app.
So try it out. It’s free, incredibly simple to use and — who knows — maybe you will prove us wrong when that clay pot of yours actually sells for $500!