WTF Are NFTs and How TF Do They Relate to Startups?

Amiee Bolger

WTF

Being on the internet in any form means you’ve heard, by now, the noise surrounding non-fungible tokens, otherwise known as NFTs. They are digital assets, like music, pictures, or art, that guarantee ownership to the person who purchased one through blockchain technology. Blockchain is a decentralised digital ledger where data on the purchaser is stored and proves that this digital asset belongs to someone.

Why TF are they popular?

They sound confusing, and who has ever used the word fungible before now? However, NFTs speak to a certain aspect of us all. It’s in our nature as humans to want exclusivity and to be unique – and NFTs fall into those categories very easily. The clue in in the name, ‘non-fungible’, which means that each digital asset is more or less unique and cannot be replaced with something else.

A great analogy for them is trading cards. If you trade a card with someone, maybe they have a better card than you do, you’re going to end up with something completely different to what you started out with. That’s what NFTs are and that’s why people are lapping them up.

The most popular type of NFTs are art pieces. They are going to, and have started to, revolutionised the way people cultivate art collections by being able to own them all digitally. Say you want to start your own collection, but you don’t have the space to showcase physical pieces – by getting your mitts on an NFT, they don’t need to be displayed physically.

Though, buying an NFT means spending a lot of money. Considering each NFT that exists is a wholly unique thing, it doesn’t sound too crazy that they’re costing an arm and a leg, just like buying an original art piece. So, if you’re the creator, it means rolling in money! If you’re the purchaser, you own something no one else does or will.

How TF are startups getting in on the action?

Sorare, a French startup, is using NFTs to offer virtual collectibles for football fans in their online marketplace. Like trading cards, these are limited edition cards, though digital, that feature footballers from Europe’s top clubs.

MakersPlace, a US startup, has cultivated their own digital art marketplace through NFTs. Each piece is unique and limited, with the option for the artists to feature their signatures on the art. Each signature is verified and stored as a permanent record, adding to the unique-ness of each piece in the marketplace.

The Sandbox, a Canadian startup, have developed a virtual gaming world through blockchain and allows gamers to monetise their gaming experiences. Since they are a community-based platform, gamers are able to use their no-code engine, Game Maker, to create their own games using NFT models – which other gamers can then enjoy.

Why TF should you care about them?

As a founder, you’re always looking for ways to be on the cutting-edge, attracting investors, and increasing market share, and NFTs can be of use to reach these goals. Furthermore, as mentioned above, NFTs equals money. They can be a source of crowdfunding and raising money to help further your scaling efforts.

They can be stopgap put in place whilst you’re waiting for formal intellectual property protection. It can take months to register a copyright or trademark, and that might be something your startup needs to do, and let’s not get into how long it can take to secure a patent. So, using an NFT in place as you get the processes going may give you that little bit of help and official ownership over your intellectual property.

It’s also a way to keep your startup safe from financial fraud. Since they are based on the fact that each purchase is traceable and authentic, it means that when dealing with NFTs you’ll have transparent transactions. We all want to be fraud aware and NFTs are certainly a way to be so.

Since they are still so new, the opportunities are endless. This means collaborators and investors will be looking to get ahead of the game by supporting startups with fresh, exciting, and innovative ideas like NFTs.

In conclusion…

The world of startups and NFTs coming together is slowly but surely happening. As with anything new and trending, there’s always a way to be involved. So, why TF shouldn’t your startup be involved in NFTs if they’re a viable option?