NFTs: Evolving at speed

This is part one in a three-part blogpost series that delves into the rise of NFTs. It will help you understand what they’re about, why they matter and how Tapmydata will be using them. Prepare for knowledge…

Part 1: A colourful intro to NFTs

Part 2: NFTs beyond art and collecting

Part 3: How Tapmydata are using NFTs

What are NFTs?

Let’s start at the beginning. A year ago if you casually mentioned Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to most people, they’d give you that vacant stare that says I have no idea what you’re talking about. But that was last year.

If furlough was the breakout word of 2020, it’s a reasonable suggestion to say fungible is this year’s leader of the pack.

The fact is they have exploded into public consciousness during 2021 through the use of digital artwork. Always nice art and creativity lead the way. 

They are popular because the NFT data stored on the blockchain certifies that specific asset to be unique and interchangeable. You make, mint (the term for placing the asset on the blockchain), trade, collect and more. They are versatile. All this can happen in mere minutes.

The fact is you can use NFTs for a myriad of purposes. Essentially they store information. And because they’re on the blockchain, you have the security and validity that comes with immutable ledgers. (These days you can also use the term immutable ledger without prompting that thousand-yard stare we mentioned earlier.)

What’s hurtled NFTs into public consciousness are those containing images, videos, and audio. They’ve gone from curiosities to collectibles in a blink. Their attention/fame/notoriety/ accelerated by media coverage of the occasional high-profile sale of an NFT for millions of dollars. Nothing like an eight-figure number to pique people’s interests.

When you buy an NFT, you’re essentially paying for the digital recording of ownership. You can buy it and transfer it to your wallet or marketplace. It’s not complicated. It’s not time-consuming. And if, say, it’s a piece of edgy digital art by a Belgian skatepunk or some seven-foot-tall basketball player called DeLavelle dunking for glory (with a basketball rather than a biscuit), you can whisper to yourself “That’s mine now.” It’s surprisingly therapeutic.

The Evolution of NFTs

The idea behind NFTs started as far back as 2012 with ‘coloured coins’ issued on the Bitcoin blockchain. They represented the first real world asset used to prove ownership on the blockchain. 

This idea of using the Bitcoin blockchain for specific assets such as property or vouchers proved the catalyst for a revolution of new possibilities on how the blockchain might be used. As a result, innovators and dreamers have piled in creating shiny new projects and marketplaces to dazzle and delight.

Next came Counterparty in 2014. This is a platform started for the purpose of extending Bitcoin in new and powerful ways. 

As Counterparty allowed for the creation of assets, and also acted as a decentralised exchange, it provided a valuable way for users to create their own tradable currencies. 

This opened the door to new and innovative ideas including the trading of memes, and further down the line partnering up with the likes of Spells of Genesis to create the first in-game assets on the blockchain. Things were getting interesting…

Skipping ahead to 2017, this was the year when some of the most popular NFTs were created. 

After the previous success of Rare Pepes in 2016, Larva Labs decided to get some serious skin in the game and create Cryptopunks as one of the very first NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain.

They are now among the most traded and expensive NFTs out there. This pathed the way for CryptoKitties and many other projects to start their journey and start creating unique assets.

Fast forward to 2021 and it seems nearly every day, some high-profile artist or super-hot graphic illustrator is releasing a new NFT collection. Equally, there are a myriad of blockchain-powered artistic NFT communities popping up and providing aspiring artists the chance to create, showcase, share and earn for their endeavours. 

You can tell that NFTs are officially a big deal when luxury fashion brands, film studios and sports franchises start muscling into the narrative.

Make no mistake, NFTs are here to stay. Time for you to ride that train.

Coming soon: parts 2 and 3 where we explore the future of NFTs and how Tapmydata will be using them. 

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