Understanding NFTs: The increasingly practical world of Non-Fungible Tokens

By Jackie Dutton

by Elysian Magazine

Of all the acronyms that accompany technology products, it is no surprise that “NFT” can get lost in a sea of letters, but once you understand the potential of Non-Fungible Tokens, you’ll realize this acronym could replace – and trump – them all.

If you understand that dollar bills have a serial number, then you loosely understand the concept of an NFT. 

Put plainly, it is a one-of-a-kind digital serial number whose ownership is associated with a digital wallet address. With cash, the owner is the physical holder of the bill; in the digital world, ownership is confirmed by an immutable blockchain record that connects it with a user’s account called a “wallet.” 

NFTs can take the place of anything that requires one-of-one proof of ownership, including titles to homes, car registrations, Social Security cards, IDs and more. In addition to this, much like swiping your ID card or scanning your passport can give you access to things, you can use the NFTs stored within your blockchain wallet to also grant access to anything the utility is attached to. 

If you’ve heard anything about NFTs before this, you probably wondered why pictures of cartoon monkeys became synonymous with this technology. Art has naturally become the first avenue to represent the potential of NFTs by being able to verify the true, unique nature that is so prized within the art world. Imagine how much easier it would be if Sotheby’s could check the blockchain to ensure a Van Gogh painting was truly one of his own? That is the beauty of the non-fungible tokenization that can be attached to anything unique.

While wallet security can be an issue if not safely guarded, the potential for forgery and fraud is drastically reduced by using the blockchain, by keeping your assets far more secure from these types of nefarious thefts than non-digitized kinds. 

For now, not much utility has entered the NFT world, but is quickly becoming a requirement among crypto holders who want a use-case instead of simply digital art. The initial use-cases are attached to things like gaming and metaverse projects, but can easily start taking form in more laymen’s scenarios by simply replacing user IDs or logins with user accounts.

To search through available NFTs, head over to opensea.io to check out the individual projects and their potential uses.

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