The buzz around Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) continues to swirl as the once niche technology has blossomed to mainstream news in several ways. NFTs are a unique and potentially extremely valuable digital artefact built on the blockchain. Think of it as akin to a certificate of authenticity or a deed. In other words, not to be duplicated or replicated, hence providing unrivalled protection and security of ownership.
And the opportunities for benefiting from NFTs are open to businesses and individuals. A case in point is our cover story guest, Bonito Thompson, who took the time to explore NFTs and would eventually combine his artistic talent and imagination into a new format. A new world of opportunities has opened up for him, and he is proud to share it with others.
While NFTs can be used for music, art, or even X-rays, the popularity stems from high-end digital art sales. Locally, quite a few art enthusiasts have become immersed in the NFT space and are making a name for themselves as blossoming artists in this niche space. As with all other innovations, lessons are buried in their adoption as a part of our new norm.
Top of mind is security. While one thing that has made NFTs popular is the security of being on the blockchain, it doesn't prevent security breaches in other ways. A straightforward example is a recent story of a woman's X-rays sold as NFTs. The surgeon thought it was a good idea to try and sell his patients digital imagery as artwork. Though he was caught, this shows both the promise and the problems with something new and popular.
Outside of this dramatic story, the price tag of NFT sales has surprised many. Recently the founder of Twitter sold his first tweet for a few million dollars. But the great thing about the freedom of this is it opens the door for many artists whose work would not get any visibility or even more so sales.
In the Washington Post, Sebastian Smee pointed to the value of NFTs to the art world. “It provides proof of ownership, and it guarantees scarcity. The scarcity is really the key part. If you want to sell something that exists only digitally, the problem is that all things digital can be infinitely copied. NFTs don't stop the copying, but they allow you to distinguish the copies from this one, notional 'original.' And they prove, through the ledger, that you own it,” Smee said.
When the pandemic reduced the opportunities for artists to show their ware for sale, the digital formats offered a global marketplace of exposure to potential customers with far bigger pockets than available in small markets. That fresh and dynamic access made possible by the digital form is a revelation for many art lovers buoyed by the creative expressions emerging from new and unexpected places.
There's an exceptional opportunity for any budding artist seeking access to the world. Technology proves every day how vital a resource it is in so many aspects of our lives. It now provides leverage to those who can learn and master its elements to propel them into a new realm of creativity and earning value.
Stacey Hinds is the president of the Jamaica Technology and Digital Alliance.