11 Oct 2022
Updated on November 11th, 2022
The Ultimate Guide to NFT: What is NFT and How It Works
Since digital art has changed the conventional outlines of the art world, giving a new potential in the field of the arts. Creating digital art has become easy, and replicating it has become easier. Now, numerous copies are available on the internet for an art piece that might confuse you to identify the original one.
Well, it has become a concern for artists and creators worldwide to keep their digital art safe from getting copied.
While physical works incorporated copyright law and auction houses for sale and purchase, NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) emerged as a savior for digital art. NFTs are utilized in almost every industry, from education to real estate, not limited to digital art.
Now, this raises a lot of questions, like what is NFT? How does it work? How reliable is it? And so on. Indeed, these questions must be rattling into your head. But don’t worry, as this article has covered every ounce of doubt that you can get about NFT. So, clear all your questions and start reading this complete guide to NFT.
What is NFT: An Explanation!
NFT is not as complex as it seems to understand. However, there are two important terms that you must be aware of.
Fungibility: It is an ability of an asset that you can change with other types of assets. It simplifies the trade and exchange processes. It clearly implies equal value between the assets.
Non-fungibility: Interchanging the assets is not possible for a non-fungible item. Each digital asset has a unique property that is not equivalent to other similar goods.
Still, the mind is hovering around what is fungible and non-fungible…
Well, let us consider an instance to understand it better. Suppose you are a person who lends a car to his friend. Now, your friend can’t return a different car of the same make and model that is lent to him. Because you have ownership of your car as it is registered in your name. On the other hand, the fuel used for driving it can be returned in the same quantity from different brands. So, exchanging a car is non-fungible because you have ownership of it, but fuel is a fungible exchange as you don’t own fuel, which can be exchanged in the same quantity from another brand.
Simply put, to understand NFT (Non-Fungible Token) in simple words is OWNERSHIP. NFT allows you to have ownership of your digital assets like videos, paintings, virtual real estate, and postcards. Since it is a non-fungible asset, it cannot be replicated and equated with another similar property because of its uniqueness.
Now we know what is NFT. Let’s explore it in detail through this guide to NFT!
A Little More on NFT Origin and Why It’s So Popular Now!
Back Story: NFT is getting popular swiftly now, but as we look into it, we realize that it started almost a decade ago.
Back in 2008, when the United States was plunging into a financial crisis because big banks gambled clients’ money on high-risk ventures, blockchain was developed to fix a broken exchange system.
Using this technology, all cryptocurrencies and NFTs were created. Furthermore, blockchain makes every transaction secure; it is next to impossible to break the chain, hack or cheat the system. For this, Bitcoin was created, which became the global currency while keeping track of every single activity.
The next evolution came up in the form of Ethereum. It is also a cryptocurrency that enables developers to create “Smart Contracts,” which are explained in detail here.
Origin of NFT: It is speculation that Colored Coins are the first NFTs that exist today – a depiction of real-world assets on the blockchain. Back in 2012, Yoni Assia’s blog titled “bitcoin 2.X (aka Colored Bitcoin) — initial specs.” mentioned Colored Coins for the first time. Later, the Rare Pepes trade on Ethereum was witnessed when the first NFT was released, named Crypto Punks.
Afterward, the trades are started through NFTs and using a secured platform for trading. As a result, rare Bits emerged as a marketplace for NFTs that raised $6 million in investment.
Why is NFTs Getting Popular So Fast?
When Beeple in partnership with Christie’s sold the “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” digital artwork for $69 million (42329.453 ETH), NFTs started gaining mainstream attention. It resulted in a surge in demand and supply of NFTs that involved other blockchains creating their own versions of NFTs. After this, blockchains such as Cardano, Tezos, Solano, and Flow came into the limelight, which curated some new standards ensuring the authenticity and originality of the digital assets.
In addition, when Facebook rebranded as Meta, it sparked NFT demands, especially within the metaverse.
What’s the Difference Between NFTs and Cryptocurrency?
NFTs and cryptocurrencies use similar innovations and standards based on blockchain technology. However, both possess quite a similarity in their work. To understand it better, you can take NFTs as a subset of the crypto culture that, in most cases, requires cryptographic forms of money to trade NFTs.
Moving ahead, as the name suggests, cryptocurrency is a currency. It works like other currencies. Moreover, it is associated with some economic value and is fungible. With this, it concludes that no matter what type of crypto token you have, it carries the same value. For instance, 1$ETH = 1 #ETH. On the other hand, non-fungible tokens are associated with a value not limited to economic values.
Why are NFTs Important?
It is evident that NFTs are rapidly growing in acceptance of making financial investments. It offers a mechanism to store bitcoin (more precisely, Ethereum) as a digital asset. An NFT offers investment potential that might increase in value more quickly and considerably than an equivalent position in bitcoin, similar to using money to purchase the actual property (like real estate). So, here are some points highlighting the importance of NFTs.
Evolution of Advertising and Marketing
All major brands have understood that to be at the top in the market, they must incorporate technology into their business. As a result, almost all top brands have started trialing products digitally over traditional physical forms. As it is a much quicker approach to creating a digital image, marketing and advertising are easy for businesses.
Moreover, the popularity of such products as digital assets in the form of NFTs will enhance the marketing front while receiving valuable consumer behavior insights. It surely helps to hype physical products before they even get manufactured.
Provides Ownership Rights
The biggest benefit of non-fungible tokens is that they address something extraordinary, whether in the digital or real world. Thus collectibles and gaming are one of the main sectors where you can find the fine use of NFTs. But it is not limited to that only; it could similarly be applied to unique items in the real world. For instance, you can use NFTs for houses, vehicles, craftsmanship, or potentially even personalities. In addition, NFTs are useful for specific access to Airbnb on particular occasions or air travel tickets.
Offers a Customization Approach
Since there are many other tokens, NFTs have the biggest advantage over them: security. While smart contracts/agreements and fungible tokens might process a part of non-fungible tokens, NFTs hold all information in the NFT Market.
Moreover, the token can carry additional information like asset ownership, history, and related data. In addition, NFTs can hold information like an image of a property that the token shows, previous owners, and the count of character skins in a game.
Underpins Smart Contracts
One of the most prominent aspects of NFTs is that “Blockchain” and “Smart Contracts” support them. A contract that underpins NFTs is the term that confers specific benefits on its creator and the owner/buyer of NFTs, which has commercial application.
To understand it better, let’s view Coachella’s (American Music Festival) auction for limited Non-Fungible Tokens. The contract, as just mentioned, specifies that the owner or buyer of NFT will be entitled to lifetime festival access, VIP privileges, and other perks. Such contracts benefit both buyer and the creator. The contract confers special benefits for the buyer while making the deal more valuable and desirable for resale. For the creator, the underlying agreements benefit the creator by auctioning off expensive items while providing strong marketing. Also, the creator receives a royalty fee every time the NFT is sold to someone else.
For Collateral Use
The best benefit of NFTs is they can represent more complex financial products trading on secondary markets like insurance, bonds, and other options. Also, NFTs as collateral is one of the secure ways to obtain cryptocurrency loans (much like how you might use your house as collateral to get a loan from a bank).
In the forthcoming years, it is projected that businesses will increasingly employ NFTs as a fundamental aspect of advertising and marketing, fee-generation, and larger business models. In addition, the blockchain technology that keeps a public record of every transaction involving a particular currency, including a specific asset, is here to stay. NFTs are a fascinating and forward-thinking invention in that field, with a wide range of commercial applications.
How Do NFTs work?
A smart contract generates NFTs as a token on the blockchain. Following are the procedures:
- Smart contract programming;
- Blockchain gets updated via a smart contract;
- Token generation through the interaction between blockchain and wallet.
Let’s expand it to get it better…
1. Smart Contract Programming
The blockchain stores a computer program called a smart contract. It differs from previous programs and scripts in that it may only be created once before it becomes immutable after being uploaded to the blockchain network unless otherwise specified in the code at specific locations.
These smart contracts comply with Ethereum network standards. Also, Ethereum request for comments (ERC) like ERC-721 and ERC-1155 assists the developers in complying with the requirements within the codings.
While ERC-721 enables generating tokens, setting supply limits, and other functions, ERC-1155 enables to transfer of multiple tokens lessening the gas fees along with the same functionality as ERC-721.
Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP) initiate the ERCs influencing the blockchain programming standards. And developers write code for developing smart contracts through Solidity programming language. Once the smart contracts are programmed, they are saved in the blockchain network that securely interacts with wallets.
2. Blockchain Updation
Blockchain is a network of computers worldwide that monitors and verifies network activity, including smart contract and wallet user transactions.
The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is running on computers connected to the blockchain network, where it monitors the state of smart contracts and completes operations they initiated.
In simple words, there are two types of accounts on the blockchain: user accounts, which are wallets, and contract accounts, which are smart contracts. A smart contract is a piece of code we may use to accomplish our goals, such as buying, selling, or any other purpose.
3. Wallets and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT)
Lastly, the smart contract code based on the parameters mint price, random token, ID, and media file/link generates the NFT.
Some smart contracts allow direct uploading to marketplaces, while others will acknowledge that NFTs created on the market were actually minted on the creator’s website.
This is how an NFT works, and the process completes. But, now, you must be thinking about minting an NFT. Don’t worry; the next section explains it all. Read along!
What Does It Mean to Mint an NFT?
Simply defined, minting an NFT entails creating a digital asset or crypto collectible on the blockchain from digital files such as JPEG, GIF, or PNG. Once the tokens are publicly available, you can sell your unique token on the blockchain. However, to mint an NFT, you must pay a fair quantity of cryptocurrency.
Making a collectible is possible from a single image or several photographs. You may give your token a name, a description, and other metadata, depending on the marketplace used to host the NFT. On your NFT, you can also specify royalty levels, which represent percentages of the proceeds from each future sale made on the secondary market.
How to Buy an NFT?
If you’re eager to begin your own NFT collection, you’ll need to purchase the following essentials:
Digital Wallet: To start trading in NFTs, you must purchase a digital wallet that enables you to store cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Once you get it, you can also easily access digital artwork like the meta-verse and other valuables. Many NFT wallets are on the market; therefore, you should consider many things before choosing one.
Purchase Some Cryptocurrency: Depending on your NFT provider’s currencies, you’ll probably need to buy some cryptocurrency, such as Ether. You can purchase cryptocurrency with a credit card on websites like Coinbase, eToro, Kraken, PayPal, and Robinhood. After that, you’ll be able to transfer it from the exchange to your preferred wallet.
Keep the exchange fees in mind as you search for your choices. When you acquire cryptocurrency, most exchanges charge at least a portion of the transaction.
Buying and Selling NFTs? Know NFT Marketplace – A Quick Introduction
NFTs require a medium for purchase and sale. And NFT marketplace is the decentralized platform where all NFT trading happens. By minting a digital work (Explained in the previous section), an individual who wants to sell NFTs can list it there. Then all buyers worldwide can browse for NFTs and purchase seamlessly.
Such platforms require wallets for both buyers and sellers to make transactions smoother. However, the sellers have plenty of options for selling NFTs. For instance, a seller may set an amount for a particular NFT to purchase so that a buyer can get it at a fixed price. Or, the seller may put the NFTs on the auction list with a minimum bidding price, and buyers can participate in the auction bid and buy the NFTs. At the end of the auction, the buyer holds the NFTs.
Moreover, there are some NFT marketplaces where you can buy and sell NFTs. Check them out!
Some Popular NFT Market Places
OpenSea is undoubtedly the most popular NFT marketplace and a great choice if you’re just starting with NFTs. However, it’s a perfect place for you if you want to look at more than only NFT art. OpenSea offers domain names, trading cards, virtual worlds, and sports collectibles for those looking to venture beyond digital photographs.
Launched in 2017 as an Ethereum marketplace, OpenSea has expanded to include USDC and Solana support. However, it’s crucial to remember that fiat currencies, such as pounds, euros, and dollars, are not useful on OpenSea. Besides, it offers a quick registration process, and starting your shopping and browsing on the OpenSea marketplace simply takes a few minutes.
The Rarible NFT marketplace is one of the platforms where new users can learn the most quickly. Making an account and getting started with buying and selling NFTs just takes a few minutes. Alternatively, you can use the Rarible minting feature to make your own NFTs.
On the Rarible marketplace, anyone can create NFTs. Also, making NFTs doesn’t require any pre existing art or a large upfront cryptocurrency deposit. It’s among the top starting NFT platforms available. You can create, purchase, and sell NFTs to your heart’s content once you’ve linked a wallet to Rarible. Above all, you can create an NFT portfolio or purchase artwork that you believe will be booming in the future.
If you’re into gaming, the next marketplace on our list is where you can get NFTs. GameStop is trying to diversify its business beyond gaming and hopes to establish a reputation in the NFT industry.
GameStop is setting up a sizable fund that will be used to entice developers away from rival marketplaces and platforms. In addition, the Layer-2 Ethereum protocol Immutable X is used in the company’s NFT marketplace.
Nevertheless, GameStop’s NFTs will emphasize gaming accessories like weapons, skins, costumes, upgrades, and other things. Further, GameStop works with well-known game developers to give unique NFTs that appeal to players that favor particular titles.
Since there are many NFT marketplaces other than these mentioned marketplaces, be sure to conduct your research before buying any NFT. And go through a complete guide to NFT for sell and buy your digital assests. Impersonators have listed and sold certain artists’ works without their consent, causing some of them to suffer losses.
Additionally, different platforms have different verification procedures for creators and NFT listings; some are stricter than others. For example, for NFT listings, OpenSea and Rarible do not demand owner verification. Therefore, when purchasing NFTs, it may be wise to analyze everything before concluding anything.
Do NFTs Have a Future – Final Words!
Despite the debate on if NFT is an over-hyped trend or a nascent technology with a larger use case, NFTs are here to stay. And they will play a significant role in the future of the digital art world. Moreover, the art market has significantly changed in recent years. Now that NFT has become a part of the mainstream market, they have limitless opportunities and potential, moving beyond the age of innovation and disrupting the world.
Besides, the market hasn’t witnessed its full potential, and there’s much more to innovate. In addition, experts argue that in forthcoming years, NFTs will be taking over the traditional way of trading. Since it provides a more secure way of exchange, businesses can explore it and rule the NFT marketplace by providing futuristic services.
If you still have any queries related to NFTs and their exposure, feel free to connect with Techugo’s team. Our NFT experts will be in touch with you at the earliest possible time.