There is no question that the digital landscape is evolving at a rate almost too fast to keep up with. New forms of media and content are being innovated almost daily. This past year, there has been one term that almost everyone with internet access has encountered at least once – NFTs.
There is a lot of confusion as to what an NFT is, how they function or why they are important, so keep on reading if you want a better understanding of an NFT’s purpose and clear some stigma surrounding the word.
What is an NFT?
The acronym NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, but what does fungible even mean? For an item to be “fungible”, this means it can be replicated or interchanged with another item indistinguishable from the original that is worth the exact same.
For example, imagine a $20 bill. If someone has a $20 bill, they give it to someone to borrow, and the person who borrowed the money gives a $20 bill back, it’s a different bill but it has no way of being worth any more or less than the original bill lent, hence it is fungible. If someone were to lend their friend something one-of-a-kind, that would be non-fungible because there is no other item that can be given in return that could possibly replicate the original that was lent.
The only criteria a project must fill in order to be considered an NFT is that it has to be non-fungible. It is because of this that an NFT is not limited to only one medium. An NFT can be a song, digital or physical artwork, memorabilia and more. Digital NFTs being the most common are stored on what is called a blockchain which is essentially an electronic database that securely stores information. An NFT is typically purchased directly from the creator and then transferred to the buyer’s account through the blockchain where it can be viewed and shared to the buyer’s content.
The most infamous project that is associated with the term NFTs is The Bored Ape Yacht Club.
The Bored Apes are an NFT project with 10,000 unique NFTs. Each ape follows the same template, but when purchased, randomly generates certain traits which all have different rarities such as fur colour, clothing and accessories. Although the art style may not be to everyone’s liking, the common allure of an NFT is that it is a unique, irreplicable piece owned only by the buyer. Although anyone can save the image, only the buyer has access to the original piece. No two apes are alike, and with only 10,000 existing in the entire world, the scarcity of the project makes these apes even more valuable to NFT enjoyers.
How are they useful?
Not only are NFT’s a new and effective way for artists and creators to monetize their work, they are also a great tool to implement as PR professionals. If a PR professional wants to properly educate and advise their clients, they must understand all new technologies in order to be able to suggest content that will stimulate their client’s consumers effectively. The versatility of the NFT space has made it so that PR professionals must become well-versed in many different mediums in order to maximize their ability to assist clients in a way that fits their goals into the current digital landscape. A PR professional could potentially integrate NFTs into traditional media plans, such as releasing limited edition works that are only available to the first 100 patrons at an event for example. Without creating content that is relevant, campaigns will not resonate as well with consumers. Ensuring that all advertising is aligned with what is currently dominating the industry will certify effective strategies for any company with an online presence.
NFTs are more than a passing fad and are creating a very interesting space in the online landscape. With the right research, NFTs can be more than art and have the potential to be a valuable tool for any entity wanting to make a noise in the online space.