COLORADO — From art, sports cards, even homes- just about anything is becoming a digital collectible. It's being done on a blockchain with non-fungible tokens or NFTs.
It's the latest trend online with people in some cases spending millions on these unique digital collectibles.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
- NFTs are essentially digital collectible assets
- Unlike something like bitcoin or dollars, it's non-fungible or unique.
"They are at the most elementary level, a digital asset," Doug DePeppe, an attorney with EOS Edge Legal said. DePeppe who works with clients on blockchain technology and has a cybersecurity background, "it's a way to guarantee authenticity."
Essentially, everyone on the blockchain gets a certificate and is verifying the token through a distributed ledger.
"The digital image space is common now," DePeppe said, "everything can be monetized online, everything is being monitized online."
"This is the first time in history that we've had a medium or technology and know where things actually came from," Miguel Tully, an artist who goes by the name "yetitears" said. Tully, is putting his art and music in the form of NFTs.
"It's too big to go away right now, it's kind of like a lot of people have come to the consensus to create money," Tully said.
When Courtney and Arielle Thomas purchased Luna Float Spa, a business with tanks for customers to float in for a "sensory deprivation experience", about six months ago, they wanted to reach out to different communities.
One of those communities includes the local veterans in southern Colorado. Miguel Tully or "YetiTears" is one of those veterans.
"I'm a veteran and something that I do for my therapy is art," Tully said.
When Tully visited Luna Float Spa, he spoke with the owners about making a mural for the business. He later came up with another idea, selling parts of the mural in the form of an NFT.
"We're building that community in the NFT space," Tully said. Customers who purchase the NFT will be able to get discounts at the spa.
"It's like being the first ones on a social media platform," Arielle Thomas said, "we're just excited to be one of the first spas to be part of this technology."
Non-profit NFT fundraising
A local non-profit is also hoping NFTs will be an answer to raise money for research.
"Fins Attached", based in Colorado Springs funds research trips for marine conservation efforts. Its recent venture will be in the form of a type of NFT auction.
"It's one of those new phenomenons that's just kind of exploded," Alex Antoniou, Founder of Fins Attached said. The organization plans to auction off NFTs that come with incentives such as adopting a live shark, going on a research trip, and digital art of a pencil sketched shark.
The appeal is something Antoniou is also working to figure out, but he says he's excited about a new possibility and opportunity to raise money for research.
What to know if you buy
As these become popular in art, music, sports, or really anything experts say like anything, do your research.
"Think of the green bay packers, the community owns the green bay packers well now you can create a digital asset of something like that," DePeppe said.
While some are finding the energy around NFTs to be contagious, others saying it's bizarre, others are reminded of how the digital space has changed over the years.