By: Regan Thompson

Keeping up with trends on the internet can be a job within itself. Bitcoins, cryptocurrencies and NFTs- all these terms are on the rise. Ever heard of any of them? Don’t worry, we’re here to break down one of the most popular, and expensive, trends on the internet right now: NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).

What exactly is an NFT?

“Non-fungible tokens are a special type of cryptographic token that represents a unique digital asset. It is based on blockchain technology and works similar to bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) with networked computers racing each other to solve complex mathematical functions to encrypt a set of data and generate a private cryptographic key, except that they are non-fungible, meaning that the tokens are not mutually interchangeable,”  explains Grace Kay with Business Insider Magazine. NFTs have gone on to create a $250 million industry and consumers have the ability to browse and bid on crypto-collectibles.

TIME, the infamous magazine, has jumped into the NFT arena. They just released three special edition NFT magazine covers, ready to be auctioned off. These TIME NFTs are available individually or as a collection on the cryptocurrency marketplace- “Super Rare.”

What is so special about NFTs?

NFTs register a particular piece of digital asset into a particular cryptographic token. They use the most popular blockchain and the crypto ledgers for registering a particular digital asset rather than logging transactions. NFTs are most often created to represent certain files, like JPEG, Gif, etc. However, they are also transferable to tweets, Mp3s, or any type of digital file. So basically, NFTs give people the ability to own and trade digital assets. Unlike popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether, NFTs cannot be directly exchanged with one another and are spread out across numerous different types of platforms.

Who is in the NFT Market?

NFTs encompass anything from digital trading cards to art to virtual real estate and gaming. And with TIME Magazine jumping into the realm, the NFT market is growing.

Celebrities like Mark Cuban have also created NFTs. Cuban sells tokens on Rarible. Sports have moved from physical player cards to NFT player cards. In an interview with Coindesk, Cuban said, “We can sell virtual Mavs gear, sneakers, art, pictures, videos, experiences, anything our imagination can come up with we can sell. We are looking at adding virtual jewelry, accessories, and clothing that we create to real pictures in social media. So you can add cool Mavs virtual sneakers that look as real as the ones on your feet to your posts.”

Sports have really made headway into the NFT market. Athletes are celebrities, and their merchandise is treated as such. NBA Topshop, a website where people can buy video highlights as NFTs. Topshop has sold over $260 million in NFTs within the last month.

Iconic actor, William Shatner created NFTs that give fans a personal look into his life. He released NFTs of photographs of his life during his film career. He released these NFTs on the WAX blockchain. Shatner’s digital collectibles can be traded, full ownership can be viewed, and inventory is often shared on social media.

Virtual real estate has created a pathway of success that investors have only imagined in video games. Digital land grabs are going for millions on platforms like Decentraland. Since its opening to wider audiences in February 2020, Decentraland sold $1 million in virtual land. Much like the popular video games “SimCity” and “Minecraft”, Decentraland is more sophisticated and expensive.

Mike Winkleman, aka “Beeple”, took his creativity to the NFT market. For a decade, every day he started his day by creating a pen ink portrait. He was able to create abstract illustrations with software that makes the portraits seem like they are from the future. Thus creating “The First 5000 Days”, a digital piece of art that only exists as a JPEG. Meaning, there is no physical manifestation of this piece of art. It is an NFT and sold for $69 million worth of the cryptocurrency

For designers and creatives who might want to turn their work into digital assets and collectibles, there are a few things to consider. The NFT market is new and very immature. Artists who have found success in this new phenomenon usually already have a high level of social and creative following. According to Editor X, “NFTs are seen as a potential way for popular artists to monetize their work directly, but that only works if there is enough demand or notoriety to dictate a high price.”

If you are interested in turning your work into an NFT, there are quite a few auction sites specifically designed for selling crypto art. Including Nifty Gateway, Foundation, and Super Rare. Each platform hosts work from graphic designers and 3D animators to illustrators to fine artists.

Whether you’re an artist, a sports fanatic, or wanting to invest in virtual real estate- the internet and NFTs have you covered. The newest cryptocurrency of the internet, Non-Fungible Tokens are dominating every corner of the market. What Non-Fungible Token would you want to buy or sell?