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Why You Need To Pay Attention To NFTs

By Chisom Njoku
21 November 2021   |   6:30 am
If you’ve never heard of the term cryptocurrency, it’s possible that you might not be privy to conversations happening on social media and around the world along the lines of tech and finance but not to worry, we’ve gone through the painstaking process of research to bring you verifiable information about this new frontier of…

If you’ve never heard of the term cryptocurrency, it’s possible that you might not be privy to conversations happening on social media and around the world along the lines of tech and finance but not to worry, we’ve gone through the painstaking process of research to bring you verifiable information about this new frontier of technology. Right now, cryptocurrency is all the rage and in a country like Nigeria, with a newly thriving digital economy, it is becoming increasingly popular. According to a Yahoo Finance report backed by information from Statista data, Nigeria is the number one crypto country in the world, meaning a sizable part of the financially literate population has interacted with cryptocurrency in a way, shape or form.

“Which Countries Are Using Cryptocurrency the Most?”

This is due to the freedom it presents to users as it allows them to seemingly transact business and save money in what feels like a more secure commodity than the local currency [Naira] which currently is facing inflation and foreign exchange complications.

The latest investors favourite, NFTs are non-fungible tokens which are a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger called the blockchain which is a digital database underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Unlike NFTs, those assets are fungible, meaning they can be replaced or exchanged with another identical one of the same value, much like a dollar bill.

NFTs, on the other hand, are unique and not mutually interchangeable, which means no two NFTs are the same.

Think of precious relics, rare art or a limited-edition Rolex or sports car: NFTs create scarcity among otherwise infinitely available assets — and there’s even a certificate of authenticity to prove it. NFTs are typically used to buy and sell digital artwork and can take the form of GIFs, tweets, virtual trading cards, images of physical objects, video game skins, virtual real estate and more.

In unambiguous terms, NFTs transform digital works of art and other collectibles into one-of-a-kind, verifiable assets that are easy to trade on the blockchain.

Although it may still be far from simple to a lot of people, the payoff has been huge for many artists, musicians, influencers, and the like, with investors spending top dollar to own NFT versions of digital images. For example, Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sold for $2.9 million, a video clip of a LeBron James slam dunk sold for over $200,000, and a decade-old “Nyan Cat” GIF went for $600,000.

What sets NFTs apart is the fact that, unlike most digital items which can be endlessly reproduced, each NFT has a unique digital signature, meaning it is one of a kind.

NFTs are usually bought with cryptocurrencies or in dollars and the blockchain keeps a record of transactions. While anyone can view the NFT, only the buyer has the status of being the official owner – a kind of digital bragging right that many have keyed into.

What Kind Of NFTs Are Out There?

All kinds of digital objects – images, videos, music, text, animations, memorabilia, and even tweets – can be bought and sold as NFTs.

Digital art has seen some of the most high-profile sales; while in sports, fans can collect and trade NFTs relating to a particular player or team.

For instance, on the American National Basketball Association Top Shot platform, enthusiasts can buy collectible NFTs in the form of video highlights of moments from games.

While these highlights can be seen for free on other platforms such as YouTube, people are buying the status as the owner of a particular NFT, which is unique due to the digital signature.

NFTs can also be patches of land in virtual world environments, digital clothing, or exclusive use of a cryptocurrency wallet name.

Basically, anything that has any value or “one-of-a-kind” status and can be minted in the digital world can be termed an NFT. The list of what qualifies as a non-fungible token is endless, with virtual fashion, memes, domain names, among others, being viable options.

The buzz around NFTs has gotten so intense that Fortune 500 companies and global brands have incorporated them into their marketing campaigns.

A few brands who have capitalized on NFTs for promotional purposes include;

Coca Cola’s Friendship Box

Coca-Cola: “Friendship Box”. Coca-Cola’s NFT delivers a multi-sensory experience that combines metaverse and real-life all in one “loot box”.
To celebrate International Friendship Day, the brand released a one-of-a-kind NFT. It includes four animated, one-of-one digital artworks that unlock surprise items upon purchase for the first owner:
• A “Coca-Cola Bubble Jacket Wearable” you can don in the Decentraland metaverse, a trendy virtual reality platform.
• The “Coca-Cola Friendship Card”, inspired by the original 1940s artwork.
• The “Coca-Cola Sound Visualizer”, with typical sounds associated with the drink.
• The “Coca-Cola Vintage Cooler NFT”, a digital version of the brand’s 1956 retro vending machines.

Taco Bell “Transformative Tacos”. The brand announced a series of NFTs to commemorate the iconic dish, via NFT marketplace Rarible. The “Transformative Taco” piece was minted as an edition of 25, which sold out in half an hour.
Taco Bells combined the digital and physical realms: the owner of the original “Transformative Taco” will receive a $500 electronic gift card to spend as they please.

Asics: “Sunrise Red” digital shoe

Asics: “Sunrise Red” digital shoe: Japanese sports equipment giants, Asics were amongst the first sportswear brands to hop on the NFT bandwagon.

The “Sunrise Red” collection includes limited-edition digital sneakers as well as a “Gold Edition” of unique items sold directly on the brand’s site.

One of Team GB’s NFT by Ben Mosley

The British Olympic Team. The Great British Olympic team is the first in the world to release an official NFT collection, sold exclusively via its website.

The collection celebrates highlights of the team’s history, in collaboration with expressionist artist Ben Mosley. It includes five “Golden Medal Moments” of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics and exclusive drops of paintings by the artist.

These are just a few examples of forward-thinking groups and companies that have utilized the opportunities that NFTs present and maximised profit all while giving value back to the customer.

How Can You Get Started?

Essentially, any digital image can be purchased as an NFT. But there are a few things to consider when buying one, especially if you’re not overly tech savvy. You’ll need to decide what marketplace to buy from, what type of digital wallet is required to store it and what kind of cryptocurrency you’ll need to complete the sale.

First things first, you’ll need a crypto wallet. There are many Ethereum wallets out there. But by far, the most popular is MetaMask (which is funded by Ethereum incubator ConsenSys). Once it’s installed, it lets you store Ethereum and Ethereum-based tokens.

You’ll need to fund your new crypto wallet but unfortunately, you currently can’t buy tokens with Naira cards because of banking regulations but you can use a dollar or pound denominated Master/Visa card.

There is also the option of P2P (peer to peer) – where you send naira to a peer (or trader) and they send the equivalent of tokens to your wallet

Then you need to explore the marketplace. Some of the most common NFT marketplaces include OpenSea, Mintable, Nifty Gateway and Rarible. There are also niche marketplaces for more specific types of NFTs, too, such as NBA Top Shot for basketball video highlights or Valuables for auctioning tweets such as Dorsey’s.

If you’re a creator, you can also sell your digital masterpiece. NFTs are also sold on marketplaces and the process can vary from platform to platform. You’ll essentially upload your content to a marketplace and then follow the instructions to turn it into an NFT. You’ll be able to include specifics such as a description of the work and suggested pricing. Most NFTs are purchased using Ethereum but can also be bought with other ERC-20 tokens such as WAX and Flow.

What Are The Experts Saying?

In the metaverse just like with every other booming industry, there are insiders who already have a mastery and understanding of the inner workings of the field.
This is what experienced NFT creators had to say about the tokens.

Iyobosa Rehoboth “Prodigeezy”

What was your earliest experience with NFTs?

I heard about an NFT project called crypto punks in 2019 but I didn’t fully grasp the potential of NFTs until late 2020.

What role do you believe NFTs play in relation to the preservation of art and ensuring that artists get value for their creativity?
I think about this in 3 ways;

1. The transparency of the blockchain means artists and creators can gain full control over their earnings without other parties, it also provides the possibility of royalties throughout the lifespan of the creative work. It’s true creative freedom.

2. Re-preservation: The medium for art will continue to evolve. NFTs can not only preserve cultural and artistic tenets, but can also increase their value because it’s tied to an economy that will see exponential growth in the years to come.

3. NFT art is building communities and bridges like we’ve never seen before. The supporters of your art are not subjected to constraints. And the creators have endless possibilities in the metaverse to provide more value for themselves and the people who collect their work.

Do you have any upcoming NFT projects?
As a matter of fact, I’m a budding collector, so I’m always on the lookout for special NFT projects. We’re also in the very early stages of launching our startup with the aim of creating products and opportunities for freedom and abundance through the metaverse.

We have a project in development with a prominent Afrobeats artiste [one of the hottest in the game right now]. Our goal is to show people what’s possible with NFTs and all these technologies we currently have access to.

Niyi Okeowo

What was your earliest experience with NFTs?
Selling my first NFT which was inspired by daft punk’s breakup news. I sold it to the CEO of Showtime, Alex Masmej.

What role do you believe NFTs play in relation to the preservation of art and ensuring that artists get value for their creativity?
It’s a more secure way to know who owns an image with the addition of smart royalties that are activated once it gets resold to another buyer, it’s a good way for artists to get compensation, royalties, and recognition for their work.

Do you have any upcoming NFT projects?
A couple planned with some platforms and individuals, can’t really say much on them, but it is going to be exciting for sure.

Ken Nwadiogbu

What was your earliest experience with NFTs?

I had heard of NFTs before but never really knew what it was until I travelled to London last year. Everybody kept talking about it. I liked the fact that artists like Beeple, Damien Hirst, and Kenny Schachter were making big noise about it and that spiked my interest to dig deeper into it. The more I dug, the more interested I got.

What role do you believe NFTs play in relation to the preservation of art and ensuring that artists get value for their creativity?
I’ve always seen the digital space as an art medium like paper or canvas. It is important that artists are inspired to use that medium to create amazing art. With the introduction of NFTs, that digital work can now carry financial value as a painting on canvas would. It’s a whole new opportunity and experience for artists. The world is going digital now, so the idea that the digital space can work as a gallery space just keeps broadening the meaning of art.

Do you have any upcoming NFT projects?
Yes. I’m working with Funfere Koroye on so many amazing ideas. It’s great to see the possibilities art can have in the digital space.

It is clear that NFTs are an innovation of the future with seemingly endless possibilities. The fact that the term “starving artist” could be a thing of the past if creators and artists can make money and generate lasting value from their craft. Nigeria is riddled with talented roadside artists who have unlimited imagination but very limited reach and this [NFT] could be the thing that pulls them out of poverty if they can act fast.