Christie’s got one last week piece until digital artist Beeple is the first major auction house to be auctioned and offers purely digital works of art with a non-fungible token (NFT). The piece entitled “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is still up for auction and will be achieved $ 1 million in 10 minutes.
According to CoinDesk $ 174 million has been issued for NFTs since the end of November 2017. Market place host Kai Ryssdal spoke to Jamie Wilde, a writer at Morning Brew, about What are NFTs? and why people spend so much money on the digital assets.
Kai Ryssdal: What are these things for someone who has never heard of non-fungible tokens?
Jamie Wilde: Great, so you’ve already broken down the acronym for me. The main aspect of this is really the word “fungible” which is kind of a weird sounding word, but what it means is that something can be interchanged and that it is not unique. So if it is not fungible, then two different NFTs are unique from each other. So I like to compare it to Pokémon cards. So you won’t trade a Gastly for a holographic Charizard. But it’s just notes, you know. They are tokens that represent the real thing, just like an NFT. An NFT is a digital asset, and that digital asset can be anything and that value can vary.
Ryssdal: OK, as a real life example, I’m just going to pick the whole NBA Top Shots thing. The NBA makes money selling it as I understand it. Video copies of different game moments, except that they are somehow encrypted on the blockchain. Does this make sense?
Savages: It makes sense to me. I understand how it can sound a little confusing.
Ryssdal: Yes, but here is my question, right? I can go online and watch LeBron James dive in until the cows come home. But somehow the NBA found a way to put these things on the blockchain and convert them to NFTs, and is now selling them for more than six digits.
Savages: Yup. I mean, it just comes down to how you really feel about value, doesn’t it? It kind of makes sense to me that these digital-only assets, even if you can see them elsewhere, are valuable just because you own them. And for things like digital art, that gets really important because they may not have a physical component at all. And I think if you, you know, if you live and breathe on the internet, it makes more sense for your name to have a meme that has such cultural implications, for example, I don’t know.
Ryssdal: Yes. And look, all of this makes sense as we become more of an internet based society and eventually become fully digital as we want. We are just clearly at the forefront of this. But leave me behind for a minute. So forget about the NBA and forget about making more money with LeBron. If I’m a photographer or an artist this is an opportunity for me.
Savages: Absolutely. And we see more and more artists making this an opportunity. And we see them breaking each other’s records all the time. Grimes just sold a couple of pieces for hundreds of thousands of dollars and that was really fascinating to see. And for creators, especially those who are completely digital, it just means that their work is valuable in a way that they can make money on beyond advertising, or even music artists who go beyond streaming what they do. I always had problems with.
Ryssdal: Back to that Grimes example, which I think has been Elon Musk’s significant other since the last reading, to put it just in terms of pop culture references. So I buy this NFT from Grimes and pay $ 100,000. There’s nothing that says I can’t resell it for $ 150.00, right?
Savages: Not that I know.
Ryssdal: Yes. So there is a secondary market.
Savages: There is a secondary market and I know how there is one for NBA Top Shot in particular, and I think there will definitely be one for that art. So yes, you either buy NFTs because you have an intrinsic emotional bond with them, or you buy them because you believe someone else has that value and wants to buy them from you and make money off of them.