What is a NFT?

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger.




NFTs can be associated with reproducible digital files such as photos, videos, and audio. NFTs use a digital ledger to provide a public certificate of authenticity or proof of ownership, but do not restrict the sharing or copying of the underlying digital files. The lack of interchangeability (fungibility) distinguishes NFTs from blockchain cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.


NFTs have drawn criticism with respect to the energy cost and carbon footprint associated with validating blockchain transactions as well as their frequent use in art scams.Further criticisms challenge the usefulness of establishing proof of ownership in an often extralegal unregulated market.


An NFT is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, which can be sold and traded. The NFT can be associated with a particular digital or physical asset (such as a file or a physical object) and a license to use the asset for a specified purpose.


An NFT (and the associated license to use, copy or display the underlying asset) can be traded and sold on digital markets. The extralegal nature of NFT trading usually results in an informal exchange of ownership over the asset that has no legal basis for enforcement, often conferring little more than use as a status symbol.


NFTs function like cryptographic tokens, but, unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, NFTs are not mutually interchangeable, hence not fungible. While all bitcoins are equal, each NFT may represent a different underlying asset and thus may have a different value. NFTs are created when blockchains string records of cryptographic hash, a set of characters identifying a set of data, onto previous records therefore creating a chain of identifiable data blocks.


This cryptographic transaction process ensures the authentication of each digital file by providing a digital signature that is used to track NFT ownership. However, data links that point to details like where the art is stored can die.


Copyright


Ownership of an NFT does not inherently grant copyright or intellectual property rights to whatever digital asset the token represents. While someone may sell an NFT representing their work, the buyer will not necessarily receive copyright privileges when ownership of the NFT is changed and so the original owner is allowed to create more NFTs of the same work. In that sense, an NFT is merely a proof of ownership that is separate from a copyright.


According to legal scholar Rebecca Tushnet, "In one sense, the purchaser acquires whatever the art world thinks they have acquired. They definitely do not own the copyright to the underlying work unless it is explicitly transferred." In practice, NFT purchasers do not generally acquire the copyright of the underlying artwork.


Technology applications


The unique identity and ownership of an NFT is verifiable via the blockchain ledger. Ownership of the NFT is often associated with a license to use the underlying digital asset, but generally does not confer copyright to the buyer. Some agreements only grant a license for personal, non-commercial use, while other licenses also allow commercial use of the underlying digital asset.


Digital art


Some digital art NFTs, like these pixel art characters, are examples of generative art.

Digital art was an early use case for NFTs, because of the blockchain's ability to assure the unique signature and ownership of NFTs. The digital artwork entitled Everydays: the First 5000 Days, by artist Mike Winkelmann (known professionally as Beeple), sold for US$69.3 million in 2021. This was the third-highest auction price for a work by living artist, after works by Jeff Koons and David Hockney, respectively.


Blockchain technology has also been used to publicly register and authenticate preexisting physical artworks to differentiate them from forgeries and verify their ownership via physical trackers or labels.


Another Beeple piece entitled Crossroad, a 10-second video showing animated pedestrians walking past a figure of Donald Trump, sold for US$6.6 million at Nifty Gateway in March 2021.

Curio Cards, a digital set of 30 unique cards considered to be the first NFT art collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain, sold for $1.2 million at Christie's Post-War to Present auction. The lot included the card "17b", a digital "misprint" (a series of which were made by mistake).


Some NFT collections, including EtherRocks and CryptoPunks are examples of generative art, where many different images can be created by assembling a selection of simple picture components in different combinations.


In March 2021, the blockchain company Injective Protocol bought a $95,000 original screen print entitled "Morons (White)" from English graffiti artist Banksy, and filmed somebody burning it with a cigarette lighter, with the video being minted and sold as an NFT. The person who destroyed the artwork, who called themselves "Burnt Banksy", described the act as a way to transfer a physical work of art to the NFT space.In June 2021, Sotheby’s hosted "Natively Digital", the first curated NFT sale at the auction house.


Games


NFTs can be used to represent in-game assets, such as digital plots of land, which are controlled by the user instead of the game developer. NFTs allow assets to be traded on third-party marketplaces without permission from the game developer.


In October 2021, developer Valve banned applications that use blockchain technology or NFTs to exchange value or game artifacts from their Steam platform.


Music


Blockchain and the technology enabling the network have given the opportunity for musicians to tokenise and publish their work as non-fungible tokens. As their popularity grew in 2021, NFTs were used by artists and touring musicians to recuperate lost income due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2021, NFTs reportedly generated around $25 million within the music industry. On February 28, 2021, electronic dance musician 3LAU sold a collection of 33 NFTs for a total of $11.7 million to commemorate the three-year anniversary of his Ultraviolet album.


On March 3, 2021, rock band Kings of Leon became the first to announce the release of a new album, When You See Yourself, in the form of an NFT which generated a reported $2 million in sales. Other musicians that have used NFTs include American rapper Lil Pump, visual artist Shepard Fairey in collaboration with record producer Mike Dean, and rapper Eminem.


Film


In May 2018, 20th Century Fox partnered with Atom Tickets and released limited-edition Deadpool 2 digital posters to promote the film. They were available from OpenSea and the GFT exchange. In March 2021 Adam Benzine's 2015 documentary Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah became the first motion picture and documentary film to be auctioned as an NFT.


Other projects in the film industry using NFTs include the announcement that an exclusive NFT artwork collection will be released for Godzilla vs. Kong and director Kevin Smith announcing in April 2021 that his forthcoming horror movie Killroy Was Here would be released as an NFT. The 2021 film Zero Contact, directed by Rick Dugdale and starring Anthony Hopkins, was also released as an NFT.


In April 2021, an NFT associated with the score of the movie Triumph, composed by Gregg Leonard, was minted as the first NFT for a feature film score.

In November 2021, film director Quentin Tarantino released seven NFTs based on uncut scenes of Pulp Fiction. Miramax subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming that their film rights were violated.


Other uses


A number of internet memes have been associated with NFTs, which were minted and sold by their creators or by their subjects. Examples include Doge, an image of a Shiba Inu dog whose NFT was sold for $4 million in June 2021, as well as Charlie Bit My Finger, Nyan Cat and Disaster Girl.


Some private online communities have been formed around the confirmed ownership of certain NFT releases.


Some virtual worlds, often marketed as metaverses, have incorporated NFTs as a means of trading virtual items and virtual real estate.


Some pornographic works have been sold as NFTs, though hostility from NFT marketplaces towards pornographic material has presented significant drawbacks for creators.


In May 2021, UC Berkeley announced that it would be auctioning NFTs for the patent disclosures for two Nobel Prize-winning inventions: CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and cancer immunotherapy. The university will continue to own the patents for these inventions, as the NFTs relate only to the university patent disclosure form, an internal form used by the university for researchers to disclose inventions.


Tickets, for any type of event, have been suggested for sale as NFTs. Such proposals would enable event organizers or performers to garner royalties on resales.


The first credited political protest NFT ("Destruction of Nazi Monument Symbolizing Contemporary Lithuania") was a video filmed by Professor Stanislovas Tomas on April 8, 2019, and minted on March 29, 2021. In the video, Tomas uses a sledgehammer to destroy a state-sponsored Lithuanian plaque located on the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences honoring Nazi war criminal Jonas Noreika.


Standards in blockchains


Specific token standards have been created to support various blockchain use-cases. Ethereum was the first blockchain to support NFTs with its ERC-721 standard and is currently the most widely used. Many other blockchains have added or plan to add support for NFTs with their growing popularity.


Ethereum


ERC-721 was the first standard for representing non-fungible digital assets on the Ethereum blockchain. ERC-721 is an inheritable Solidity smart contract standard, meaning that developers can create new ERC-721-compliant contracts by importing them from the OpenZeppelin library. ERC-721 provides core methods that allow tracking the owner of a unique identifier, as well as a permissioned way for the owner to transfer the asset to others.


The ERC-1155 standard offers "semi-fungibility", as well as providing a superset of ERC-721 functionality (meaning that an ERC-721 asset could be built using ERC-1155). Unlike ERC-721 where a unique ID represents a single asset, the unique ID of an ERC-1155 token represent a class of assets, and there is an additional quantity field to represent the amount of the class that a particular wallet has. The assets under the same class are interchangeable, and the user can transfer any amount of assets to others.


Because Ethereum currently has high transaction fees (known as gas fees), layer 2 solutions for Ethereum have emerged which also supports NFTs:


  • Immutable X – Immutable X is a layer 2 protocol for Ethereum designed specifically for NFTs, utilizing ZK rollups to eliminate gas fees for transactions.

  • Polygon – Formerly known as the Matic Network, Polygon is a proof-of-stake blockchain which is supported by major NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea.

Other blockchains


  • Bitcoin Cash – Bitcoin Cash supports NFTs and powers the Juungle NFT marketplace.

  • Cardano – Cardano introduced native tokens that enable the creation of NFTs without smart contracts with its March 2021 update. Cardano NFT marketplaces include CNFT and Theos.

  • Flow – The Flow blockchain, which uses a proof of stake consensus model, supports NFTs. CryptoKitties plans to switch from Ethereum to Flow in the future.

  • GoChain – GoChain, a blockchain which bills itself as 'eco-friendly', powers the Zeromint NFT marketplace and the VeVe app.

  • Solana – The Solana blockchain also supports non-fungible tokens.[83]

  • Tezos – Tezos is a blockchain network that operates on proof of stake and supports the sale of NFT art.


Early history (2014–2017)


Presentation of Etheria at DEVCON 1. November 13, 2015:

The first known "NFT", Quantum, was created by Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash in May 2014, consisting of a video clip made by McCoy's wife Jennifer. McCoy registered the video on the Namecoin blockchain and sold it to Dash for $4, during a live presentation for the Seven on Seven conference at the New Museum in New York City. McCoy and Dash referred to the technology as "monetized graphics".


A non-fungible, tradable blockchain marker was explicitly linked to a unique work of art, via on-chain metadata (enabled by Namecoin). This is in contrast to the multi-unit, fungible, metadata-less "colored coins" of other blockchains and Counterparty.


In October 2015, the first NFT project, Etheria, was launched and demonstrated at DEVCON 1, Ethereum's first developer conference, in London, UK, three months after the launch of the Ethereum blockchain. Most of Etheria's 457 purchasable and tradable hexagonal tiles went unsold for more than five years until March 13, 2021, when renewed interest in NFTs sparked a buying frenzy. Within 24 hours, all tiles of the current version and a prior version, each hardcoded to 1 ETH ($0.43 at the time of launch), were sold for a total of $1.4 million.


The term "NFT" only gained currency with the ERC-721 standard, first proposed in 2017 via the Ethereum GitHub, following the launch of various NFT projects that year. These include Curio Cards, CryptoPunks (a project to trade unique cartoon characters, released by the American studio Larva Labs on the Ethereum blockchain) and the Decentraland platform. All three projects were referenced in the original proposal along with rare Pepe trading cards.


Public awareness (Late 2017–2021)


Public awareness in NFTs began with the success of CryptoKitties, an online game where players adopt and trade virtual cats. Soon after release, the project went viral, raising a $12.5 million investment, with some kitties selling for over $100,000 each.[94][95][96] Following its success, CryptoKitties were added to the ERC-721 standard, which was created in January 2018 (and finalized in June), and affirmed the use of the term "NFT" to refer to "non-fungible tokens".


In 2018, Decentraland, a blockchain-based virtual world which first sold its tokens in August 2017, raised $26 million in an initial coin offering, and had a $20 million internal economy as of September 2018. Following CryptoKitties' success, another similar NFT-based online game Axie Infinity was launched in March 2018, which then proceeded to become the most expensive NFT collection in May 2021.


In 2019, Nike patented a system called CryptoKicks that would use NFTs to verify the authenticity of physical sneakers and give a virtual version of the shoe to the customer.


In early 2020, the developer of CryptoKitties, Dapper Labs, released the beta version of NBA TopShot, a project to sell tokenized collectibles of NBA highlights. The project was built on top of Flow, a newer and more efficient blockchain compared to Ethereum. Later that year, the project was released to the public and reported over $230 million in gross sales as of February 28, 2021.


The NFT market experienced rapid growth during 2020, with its value tripling to $250 million. In the first three months of 2021, more than $200 million were spent on NFTs.


<This material is documented from wikipedia and uses quotes from there>

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