News about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has been non-stop in 2022, and it doesn’t look like the train is slowing down anytime soon. If anything, the popularity of NFTs is rising and becoming more mainstream by the day. Whether it’s the New York Stock Exchange filing NFT-related trademarks, South Korea investing millions in the metaverse, or rapper-entrepreneur-crypto and NFT investor Snoop Dogg vowing to turn Death Row into the first NFT music label, NFTs have been making headlines around the world. But with all the buzz it can be difficult to separate the music from the noise. What is a non-fungible token after all? How did the technology start? Why are they suddenly so important to us? And how can you get involved? These are just a few of the questions we’ll be tackling in this NFT news blog.
What is an NFT?
If you’re anything like us, then reviewing the basics can be helpful — especially when talking about nascent technologies like non-fungible tokens and blockchain technology. So, let’s start with a simple definition: NFTs are unique, verifiable digital assets that are stored on blockchains. Say what?
Okay — let’s break down some of the terms in the definition. First, “non-fungible” means that the “token” cannot be replaced by another token. In other words, the token is unique. Most art is non-fungible. For example, you couldn’t trade the Mona Lisa for another Mona Lisa because no other copy exists. Art is usually one of a kind, and its rarity is part of what gives it value. Trading cards are also non-fungible. On the other hand, cash is a fungible asset. If you exchange a 20 dollar bill for 20 one-dollar bills or any combination of bills that equal $20, you will still have $20. Nothing is lost or gained because the dollars are not unique (like non-fungible assets) so they can be easily traded and exchanged. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether are also fungible. It doesn’t matter which Bitcoin you have: a Bitcoin is a Bitcoin is a Bitcoin. But while Bitcoin is fungible and NFTs are non-fungible, both technologies are stored on blockchains. Ok, so what are blockchains? Blockchains are a global system of decentralized computer networks that track information and transactions. You can think of blockchains like banks that are keeping a digital ledger. Except unlike banks that are centrally controlled, blockchains are decentralized and operated by people all over the world. And for the first time, the combination of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts has enabled digital files, photos, videos, images, etc., to be made into limited, verifiable digital assets that can be traded, bought, and sold. In a nutshell, that’s what NFTs are.
A Brief History of NFTs
NFTs were born shortly after the launch of the Ethereum blockchain in 2015. However, it wasn’t until projects like CryptoKitties (2017) and CryptoPunks (2017) that people truly began to see the value in digital art and generative profile picture NFT collections. Since then, NFTs have become a billion-dollar industry and individual NFTs from popular projects regularly sell for millions of dollars. Some of the most important and successful NFT projects of all time include:
Bored Ape Yacht Club
Mutant Ape Yacht Club
World of Women (WOW)
When it comes to NFT collections on alternative blockchains, Solana has had some heavy hitters as well. Below are the top NFT projects on the Solana blockchain:
Solana Monkey Business
Degenerate Ape Academy
Shadowy Super Coder
Stoned Ape Crew
One benefit of using Solana is it has super-fast transaction speeds and unlike Ethereum, which is notorious for expensive “gas fees” that go to pay for the operation of the network, NFTs can be purchased on Solana for almost no fees at all. This can be a huge advantage for buyers and sellers alike. Other blockchains that support NFTs include Tezos, Solana, Polygon, and WAX. The latter is a proof-of-stake blockchain that bills itself as being the first carbon-neutral blockchain. Eco-friendly blockchains may become more important as there are concerns about the environmental impact that energy-intensive blockchains are having.
Top Sales of Crypto Art
Generative NFT collections aren’t the only popular forms of NFTs. NFTs made it possible to create real-world scarcity for digital artwork, and some artists have taken advantage of the nascent technology to make huge sales. Over the past few years, crypto artists have minted 1:1 pieces on curated NFT art markets and some have even sold at traditional auction houses like Sotheby’s. The expensive art sales are changing the way people think about art, and independent creators and investors are taking notice. Some of the most expensive art sales of 1:1 NFTs include:
Everydays: The First 5000 Days, by Beeple. $69.3 million. Christie’s Auction House. March 2021.
CROSSROAD, by Beeple. $6.66 million. Nifty Gateway. Feb. 2021.
Right-Click and Save As Guy, by XCOPY. $7.09 million. Dec. 2018.
The EverLasting Beautiful, by FEWOCiOUS. $550,000. Nifty Gateway, March 2021.
Metarift, by Pak. $904,413.47. MakersPlace, March 2021.
Forever Rose, by Kevin Abosch. $1 million. GIFTO, Feb. 2018.
The Complete MF Collection, by Beeple. $777,777.77, Nifty Gateway, Dec. 2020.
As you can see, the sale prices of 1:1 digital NFT art are nothing to bat your eye at. And while the traditional art world sometimes criticizes NFTs as being nothing more than JPEGs, real-world artists are enjoying big returns. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all NFT art is “good.” But it does mean there are a lot of people who believe digital artwork will have increasing value as the metaverse and Web3 continue to expand. For creators and artists, NFT technology also enables royalties on secondary sales of their work. This was never possible before and is already having big implications for digital artists, musicians, and even fashion designers.
Can anything be an NFT?
It’s not just NFT art projects that have been making NFT news lately. Because any digital file can be turned into an NFT, the technology lends itself to a myriad of genres like music, film, photography, 3D animation, collectibles, fashion, and more. We’ve seen everything from tweets sell as NFTs to the Italian luxury car brand Lamborghini turning carbon that was flown into outer space into an NFT. And the further you go down the rabbit hole, the weirder it gets. We won’t go into details about Azealia Banks recent venture into the NFT space, but it was creative, to say the least. And with all the creativity in the NFT space, some trends are beginning to emerge. One of those trends is for companies, brands, and artists selling NFTs to pair digital assets with real-life physical assets. In Lamborghini’s case, for example, NFT purchasers received a digital asset along with an actual physical key made from the carbon that was flown into space. But not all projects pairing digital assets with real-world assets are as imaginative as Lamborghini's. McDonald’s is aiming to open shop in the metaverse to allow users to order a burger online and have it delivered to their actual doorstep. And Nike, Adidas, and Crocs are selling digital shoes that can be redeemed for real footwear. However, even as certain trends emerge in the NFT space and NFT news is at an all-time high, we still think the surface of what can be done in the NFT space is just being scratched.
Is an NFT the metaverse?
The short answer is no. The metaverse is a term used to describe digital worlds that are built for augmented and virtual reality. And a non-fungible token is a unique, verifiable digital asset that can be safely stored on a blockchain. However, NFTs are fundamental to forming the metaverse and without NFTs, it’s unlikely there would be as much excitement about the metaverse and Web3 as there is right now. Because NFTs can verify digital assets, most of the digital objects that make up the metaverse will be NFTs. For example, in the popular decentralized metaverses The Sandbox and Decentraland, plots of virtual real estate are sold as NFTs. There are a limited number of plots, and each one is unique and verifiable. Digital houses are also NFTs in the metaverse, and so are the digital art pieces that can be hung on the wall in the digital house. And of course, your avatar that you’ll use to explore these digital spaces — and even the digital shoes on your avatar’s feet — will be NFTs as well. Because NFTs in the metaverse are unique and verifiable, they can be traded, bought, or sold safely and securely. They can also be stored on blockchains hypothetically forever — or until there’s a worldwide internet outage. These technologies have opened a whole new digital economy built on the moving parts of cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, and NFTs. Many say Web3 is the next iteration of the internet and the metaverse will exist in this space. And within the metaverse, NFTs will be plentiful.
Buying and Investing in NFTs
Hearing all the NFT hype and NFT news might have you wondering how you can invest in NFTs yourself. Some of the blue-chip NFT collections we mentioned like Bored Ape Yacht Club and Cool Cats are so expensive to buy that most beginner collectors are priced out. Luckily, “sniping” blue-chip NFTs isn’t the only way to invest.
What does “Sniping” NFTs mean?
Sniping involves buying rare NFTs from generative NFT collections after the NFTs have been minted. Snipers use tools like Rarity Sniper to find rare NFTs that may be underpriced on secondary NFT markets. It’s important to understand that with generative NFT collections like CryptoPunks, the NFTs are comprised of a varied set of traits and attributes that make some rarer than others. The rare NFTs in a collection are more scarce, and so they are normally more valuable. The idea behind sniping is to use rarity tools to buy or snipe rare NFTs, and to either hold those NFTs for their utility, staking privileges, in-game items, etc., or to resell them at a higher price.
Sniping is an important part of the NFT world and culture, but it’s not the only way to get involved with NFTs.
What is minting?
Minting is another word for when an NFT is created. When a generative NFT collection drops, people who purchase the NFTs during the opening sale are minting them. That means that when they pay for the NFT, a unique NFT is algorithmically generated. When 10,000 NFTs are “minted,” it means that they were paid for, created, and stored on the blockchain. Investors who mint NFTs generally aim for two things. First, they want the project they choose to be successful and the value of the NFT to increase after mint. And secondly, they hope to get lucky and mint one of the rarer NFTs in a collection.
Minting your first NFT is a great way to learn how to research NFT projects, set up a crypto wallet, and become part of an NFT community. Although minting NFTs can be risky and not all NFT projects are created equal, it’s an exciting way to get started in the NFT space.
How else can you invest in NFTs?
If you don’t want to buy and sell NFTs, but you believe in the technology and want to get involved, there are a few other ways to invest. First, you can invest in the underlying blockchains that support NFTs. Some of these blockchains include Ethereum, Solana, Tezos, Polygon, and WAX — and they all have cryptocurrencies that can be purchased on platforms like Coinbase, Binance, and Crypto.com. If you’re interested in decentralized metaverses but don’t have the funds to buy a plot of your own digital land, Decentraland and The Sandbox have cryptocurrencies as well that can be purchased. For independent creators and artists, you may want to think about investing in creating your NFTs or an NFT collection. This has proven to be fruitful for several artists who’ve been open-minded enough to venture into the NFT space. And the least expensive way to invest is with your time. The more you read and study about NFTs, the more knowledge you’ll have, and then it will be easier to decide where you want to invest your money or if you want to invest in NFTs at all.
Top NFT Markets
For those interested in purchasing NFTs, learning about the different available NFT markets is critical. The crypto art scene has exploded over the past couple of years and there is now a myriad of NFT art markets to trade, buy, and sell NFTs. Some of the most popular secondary NFT markets include:
OpenSea. The first NFT marketplace created remains the largest open marketplace for NFTs and crypto collectibles. It runs on Ethereum and allows users to create, buy, sell, and auction all sorts of digital assets.
Rarible. Also an open NFT market where digital assets can be bought, sold, and created. Built on the Ethereum blockchain. The NFTs you create or list for sale can be viewed and managed on OpenSea, but to use Rarible you must purchase the marketplace’s native token $RARI.
Mintable. Another Ethereum-based NFT market backed by Dallas Mavericks’ owner and billionaire Mark Cuban. The market gives sellers guides to help them succeed on the platform and an option to create their NFT store.
Magic Eden. For an alternative to Ethereum-based NFT marketplaces, you can try this Solana-based blockchain.
Other NFT marketplaces worth looking at include:
NBA Top Shot
To find news about upcoming NFT drops and project launch dates, you can visit Rarity Sniper’s NFT drops calendar. And remember, if you’re going to spend hard-earned money investing in NFT projects it’s ideal to support the projects you like. For example, if you’re a basketball fan, maybe start by checking what NBA Top Shot and Dapper Labs are doing. If you’re into digital art, make sure the art speaks to you. Also, before purchasing an NFT, do as much research about the projects and their developers as possible. Follow their Twitter and Discord channels to check how active the community is and how responsive the developers are to the community’s needs. Community is one of the most important aspects of any NFT project, so make sure to consider it. Some other important pillars to a successful NFT project include utility, artwork, the project roadmap, and the experience of the developer team.
What about curated NFT marketplaces?
As mentioned, NFTs are not just about generative digital artwork, and not all marketplaces are open for any artist to create NFTs. Curated marketplaces work with specific artists to curate projects and present them to the public. One of the benefits of an artist working with a curated NFT marketplace is it helps their work stand out from the crowd. For buyers, open marketplaces can be flooded with novice NFT projects and curated marketplaces can help weed out some of the lesser-appealing projects. The top curated NFT marketplaces are:
Nifty Gateway. Creators that have their work verified and chosen to create on the platform are allowed to chose whatever royalty percentage on secondary sales of their work that they want. NFTs can be purchased, traded, or sold with a debit or credit card, ETH, or the Gemini token. There are no expensive gas fees and because it’s a custodial platform, NFTs can be stored safely and inexpensively.
SuperRare. Creators who apply and are accepted receive 85 percent of commissions for the first sale of their work and 3 percent from any secondary sales. The marketplace runs on the Ethereum blockchain.
For many artists, selling their work as NFTs has opened worlds of opportunities. And it’s not all just digital artists getting involved. Musicians, filmmakers, and even writers are getting involved in the NFT space.
What’s new in NFT news?
Like we said, NFT news has kept us extra busy lately. Each morning we make up to another NFT headline we want to cover, and we do our best to get as much important news to you as we can in a timely fashion. Some of the most interesting NFT news headlines we've written recently include:
HSBC Buys Land in The Sandbox
Warner Bro. to Launch 6 Million DC Comic NFTs
South Korea Invests $186.7 Million in the Metaverse
Las Vegas Motor Speedway Launches NFT Collections
Snoop Dogg Launches NFT Album & Vows to Make Death Row an NFT Label
JP Morgan Chase Predicts Metaverse Could be a $1 Trillion Market
Universal Studio Develops NFT Collectibles
Four Major Italian Museums Sell NFT Art Reproductions of Major Works
Besides the avalanche of NFT news headlines, we’ve also been following major tech companies like Meta (formerly Facebook) Apple, and Microsoft. These companies are investing billions in software and hardware for Web3 and the metaverse. That means more NFT jobs are being created every day, and we should expect some interesting tech developments with virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets, as well as metaverse-related software in the future.
What are some cool NFT projects?
Honestly, it’s getting hard to choose are favorite NFT projects since so many are being released these days. But here are a few: Steve Aoki is working on an episodic series that will be launched on the blockchain, based on characters from a past NFT drop called Dominion X. Stoner Cats starring Chris Rock, Mila Kunis, and Jane Fonda requires people to have the Stoner Cat NFT token, called TOKEn, to watch it. CryptoforCars is selling real-world luxury automobiles to winners of NFT auctions. The NFTs will contain all the verifying data for the vehicle. And lastly, events like concerts and fashions shows are beginning to draw huge numbers of people (or avatars) into the metaverse. Travis Scott held a concert that brought in twelve million fans to Fortnite, and Decentraland is hosting its first Metaverse Fashion Show (MFS) in March and has booked brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Boss, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. The fashion brands will be selling and modeling not just real clothes, but you guessed it, digital clothes that can be bought as NFTs.
Do I need cryptocurrency to buy NFTs?
At first, NFTs could only be bought with ETH, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain. However, more platforms like the NBA’s Top Shot, Nifty Gateway, and others are accepting credit and debit cards for NFTs. In most cases, you will need to hold some cryptocurrency in a crypto wallet to purchase an NFT. SOL and ETH are good places to start. To buy and hold Solana, you can use the Phantom Wallet. And if you want to buy Ethereum-based NFTs, you can download a meta mask wallet.
Are NFTs the future?
NFTs, the metaverse, and Web3 are still new, evolving technologies and it’s difficult to say what the future holds for them. The meteoric rise of NFTs over the past couple of years has proven that digital art can have value, but where it goes from here is anyone's guess. Here at Rarity Sniper, we’re not into predicting the future. We’re into staying on top of what’s happening in the NFT space so that when new NFT news drops, we’ve got you covered. To stay up to date with NFT news and learn more about the NFT community, follow Rarity Sniper for the latest updates.