Decoding NFTs: A Solution or a Problem?

Anne Pauline F. Capal |Feature Editor | 11 STEM B — Our Lady of Light

The next big thing — that’s what most people refer to as the spasmodic trend skyrocketed in the digital world. Of course, who wouldn’t ignore making millions of dollars in just one night? All one has to do is immortalize a picture, video, art, music, or even a tweet — boom! — they earn money! This is the world of (NFT)non-fungible tokens. The audience has had their eyes behold the revolution of the finance industry. But nobody knows if what they’re looking for is a blessing or a curse.

A non-fungible token is a digital asset that cannot be replaced with something else. An example of an NFT is a movie ticket. One cannot exchange it with any other movie ticket because the ticket is unique; it has a specific time and place.

NFTs are part of an Ethereum blockchain where users can purchase and sell digital items. It can be a video, image, or a piece of music that’s rendered in digital form.

These non-fungible tokens are nothing avant-garde. They’ve been all over the place since 2014. Existing internet sensations that users observe and utilize as memes most of the time are being sold NFTs. Naming a few: Doge, Disaster Girl, and Nyan Cat.

Like a song that never gets old, its popularity has topped the charts again in 2021.

Mark Winkelmann, Beeple, was able to sell one of his pieces ‘Everdays: First 5000 Days’ for $69 million during an online auction hosted by Christie’s. On the third of March, the Wisconsin artist made it in the international news as he broke the record-breaking amount paid for a digital collectible.

After being fed for posting original content on social media sites without getting something in return, digital artists rode onto the ‘Beeple experience’ hoping that would empower themselves.

The massive growth of NFTs gave potential beyond art. Before the value of art has been pre-determined by a small group of experts, now it is determined by the public. Artists would just have to sign up to a marketplace to sell their works as NFTs. Then, their information will be uploaded and validated. This allowed them to monetize their pieces while maintaining their ownership.

Jazmine Boykins, who was once doubtful about how NFTs work, now gets profit more than $60,000 in NFT art, “…To see digital art being bought at these prices, it’s pretty astounding. It’s given me the courage to keep going.”

“You will have so many people from different backgrounds and genres coming in to share their art, connect with people and potentially build a career,” adds Boykins. “Artists put so much of their time — and themselves — into their work. To see them compensated on an appropriate scale, it’s really comforting.”

Despite its hype, a reaction from its upward trend retrogrades in what humanity has to face — property rights and environmental issues. When purchasing NFTs, it doesn’t actually let you purchase the copyright to the work. Users can still upload and download a copy of it, even if you paid millions for that piece.

Art theft is concerning and possibly occurring. Someone could simply take someone else’s unpublished work, upload it to the blockchain, and turn it into an NFT.

The Ethereum blockchain and Bitcoin also require monstrous amounts of energy consumption to mine which contributes negatively to the annual carbon emissions. From Cambridge University’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Bitcoin’s electric consumption rises to 133.68TWh per year. Its bad impact on the environment is similar to Sweden’s 131.80TWh annual electricity consumption.

A double-edged sword. A doubtful advantage. A mixed blessing. As the craze of non-fungible tokens increases, it is impossible to not keep an eye on them. Right now, it might be the next big thing that will support artists in their works. Tomorrow, it might become the next doom. Hence, one should think twice, or even thrice before plunging into the craze.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


The Official School Publication of Our Lady of Peace School