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NFT as the future of art

Non-fungible tokens. (Courtesy/BBC)

Non-fungible tokens (NFT); sounds like some complex biology terms that you are supposed to have crammed in high school. Why can’t these tokens just be fungible? What is ‘fungible’ anyway?

Fungibility refers to a currency’s ability to maintain a standard value and uniform acceptance. It generally means that a currency’s history does not affect its value and each piece of that currency is equal in value to every other piece. Therefore, non-fungible tokens are blockchain assets that are designed to not be equal. It probably still does not make sense.

But what really are non-fungible tokens and what value, if any, would they offer a local artiste or musician? NFTs are a special class of digital assets that cannot be exchanged with one another for equal value or broken down into smaller units. Each NFT is unique and authentic and is usually treated as a collector’s item, which cannot be duplicated.

In September this year, Benyamin Ahmed, a 12-year-old British Pakistani boy made about Sh44 million ($400,000) after launching his very own NFT project, Weird Whales. The young programmer wrapped up the project featuring 3,350 programmatically-generated pixel whales during school holidays and made a small fortune after his artwork went viral on Twitter.

Two-time Grammy award-winning reggae group, Morgan Heritage went the NFT way in their projects early last year setting precedence for local artistes; their single Light It Up, and two digitally remastered versions of The World is Yours and Don’t Haffi Dread dropped as an NFT powered by Bondly Finance.

Last April, Eliud Kipchoge became the first Kenyan professional athlete to launch his own set of NFTs. His two sets of NFTs included the digital representations of his career milestone. The first piece for the NFTs was sold for 14.8837 in Ethereum currency, translating to slightly above three million shillings. The piece highlighted his 2019 moment when he put the INEOs world record running a full marathon under the two-hour mark. 

NFTs can be in form of files such as art, audio, videos, items in video games and other forms of creative work. However, if something is non-fungible, this is impossible as it means it has unique properties so it cannot be interchanged with something else.

Artistes and other creatives the world over have jumped on the NFT wagon, which is set to bring changes in the industry. NFTs have opened previously unimaginable possibilities for many artistes, allowing creatives to create or ‘mint’ unique artworks and reach a global collector base at the click of a button.

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Non-fungible tokens