MILWAUKEE — Some are calling it a digital gold rush, while others are often left with more questions than answers when trying to grasp the idea of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“I think the easiest way to think about NFTs is rather than purchasing an actual digital image, you’re purchasing the rights to the digital image,” said Adam Sarkis, CEO of the Milwaukee startup called Spree. “It’s an assigned, unique token that you can assign to just about anything digitally, and even applies to some things physically too.”
Examples include digital art, memes, photos, videos and even sports highlights.
An NFT featuring Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sold for six figures in March as part of an NBA Top Shot auction.
But why pay that much to see a highlight others can search for on YouTube?
“The draw is really the human drive to collect,” said Garett Laugavitz, who’s been involved with NFT’s since 2019. He’s also the founder of a Milwaukee startup called Cipher.
“It is wrapped up a lot in status,” he said. “But the NBA Top Shot–those digital basketball cards, those moments–it gives fans a new multimedia way in which to enjoy that sport and their favorite athletes.”
These moments can truly be viewed as one-of-a-kind. Utilizing blockchain technology, it verifies each NFT to signal its authenticity.
“The internet has really never had a time where creators have been able to truly own what they make,” Sarkis said. “I think it’s going to be really fascinating to see people be able to monetize from creations.”
But like art in the real world, NFTs are worth what someone is willing to pay.
Whether there’s a bubble, or NFTs are just scratching the surface, the potential of their application remains to be seen.