Non-fungible tokens: the newest asset class utilizing blockchain technology


Michael D’Angelo, Staff


Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, recently sold his first ever tweet on the platform as a Non-Fungible-Token (NFT) for more than $2.9 million. Many investors are questioning if the digital assets are worth the buy.

Many people are jumping on the non-fungible token wagon recently and headlines are appearing with  regards to art gallery NFTs, NBA highlight NFTs and original tweet NFTs. This NFT fever has even reached several billionaire’s with Mark Cuban planning to build a digital art gallery made up of non-fungible tokens and Elon Musk offering to sell his infamous tweets. With the recent NFT craze, and big names dropping into the NFT scene, many investors are confused at best and are left pondering what exactly is an NFT. 

A non-fungible token is a digital asset which includes PDFs, jpegs (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and videos which can be bought and sold like a typical investment vehicle. NFTs first came around in 2017, but their appeal has shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic as many people are stuck at home and have turned their attention to alternative investments. 

NFTs are powered by blockchain technology, which is a digital ledger that records transactions and ownership across a network of computers. The NFT owner now has a token with claims to the original digital asset. Others may copy the image or see the video, but they do not own the original work. Essentially, it is the equivalent of holding a physical original. Think of the Mona Lisa and how millions of people have copied the print, but there is one original Mona Lisa. Many believe NFT value is derived simply by owning something others cannot own. They can be bought and sold on the internet at online marketplaces where you either bid on the item or buy at a set price. In addition, you can even use some of these marketplaces to create your own NFTs.

The craze is being fueled by high selling prices. A short video of a meme cat sold for more than $500,000, artist Beeple sold art for $69 million in a Christie’s auction sale, and Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, sold his first tweet for more than $2.9 million. A digital house even sold for $500,000. The NFT boom is also fueled by the recent rise in popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Like NFTs, cryptocurrencies also utilize blockchain technology.

Non-fungible tokens have the potential to increase in value. Human nature lends itself to not miss out on things. We all have a fear of missing out and more headlines with million dollar selling prices will only lead to increasing value with the potential of a dangerous NFT bubble. 

Although NFTs may sound ludicrous in a sense, as I simply can just Google the image or YouTube search a sports highlight, NFTs have the potential to become an effective means of diversifying one’s art portfolio. People might want to buy the original digital version of the Mona Lisa if they can show it off to friends and family on social media, places our social lives are increasingly dependent on.