What does NFT mean? A quick and easy definition…

What does NFT mean? A quick and easy definition…

NFTs are all the rage these days with reports of teenagers making six-figure payments with them. But what does NFT mean? Let’s clear that up once and for all…

NFTs, in one form or another, has been around since around 2012. NFTs started life as colored coins within the blockchain. These colored coins weren’t exactly popular, nor are they today, but they started something that turned out to be hugely popular, NFTs as we know them today.

What does NFT mean?

NFT stands for non-fungible token. The trick here, though, is knowing what expendable means. In its simplest form, non-fungible means a unique digital asset. To be non-fungible, the asset must be unique, meaning there is ONLY one of them, and it must be stored on the blockchain with a unique token ID.

If you have all of these things, you have a non-fungible token. Most NFTs run on the Ethereum blockchain. this blockchain, like the Bitcoin blockchain, runs on a ledger. Each token, be it the Ethereum cryptocurrency or an NFT, has its own unique token ID that acts as proof of ownership.

If you buy an NFT or some Ethereum coins, your unique token is associated with your wallet and your wallet only. No one else can own these assets because they have the unique token ID associated with your wallet; this shows that you are the rightful owner. And with blockchains, your asset is very secure. The Ethereum blockchain is almost impossible to exploit or hack.

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Are NFTs the same as cryptocurrencies?

An NFT, like BTC or Ethereum, is just a set of value-added digital codes. You can never physically own an NFT or Ethereum, but you can sell them and convert the proceeds to cash.
This is why many investors are excited about NFTs. They view them in the same light that art collectors view auctions of famous paintings. Just in the context of NFTs, the artwork is digital assets created by people you’ve mostly never heard of before, though plenty of celebrities have jumped on the NFT bandwagon to make some quick cash.

You can buy and sell your NFTs using cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or BTC, but an NFT itself is not a cryptocurrency; it just works, lives on, and is protected by the same technology that powers the Ethereum blockchain. Specifically, NFTs are handled by Ethereum’s ERC721 standard, which was designed to track the ownership and movements of NFTs within the Ethereum blockchain.

The NFT Explosion: Markets, Infrastructure, and Games

Around 2018/19, NFTs took off. Whatever momentum the concept seemed to double or triple in magnitude, it was greatly aided by extensive media coverage from major news sources like CNN, Fox, The Daily Mail, Coindesk, and the BBC. This cemented the idea or at least the reality of NFTs in the collective mind.

One of the best-known and first ultra-popular NFTs was the CryptoKitties collection. This little project, the brainchild of Axiom Zen, was launched in 2017 just as cryptocurrencies were enjoying huge ups and downs and quickly became so popular that it started to slow down the Ethereum blockchain. And what exactly are CryptoKitties? It’s simple: you buy, breed, and trade digital cats as NFTs within the blockchain.

And while that might sound completely crazy to most people, Axiom Zen was so successful that it spawned a separate company, Dapper Labs, and managed to raise $15 million in funding from high-profile investors like Google and a16z. This raised a few eyebrows and brought even more attention from NFTs. Between 2018 and 2020, the number of NFT companies and projects grew considerably – there was a lot of money to be made.

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As with anything you buy, you need or require a marketplace to patronize, browse, and eventually purchase your items. With NFT, this is no different. There are now a ton of NFT Marketplaces where you can browse, buy, and compare NFTs. The largest NFT marketplaces include OpenSea, OpenBazaar, Rare Bits, OPSKINS, and Auctions.

Following the success of CryptoKitties, a whole universe of games and collectibles is now available as NFTs. These NFT games and collectibles are also becoming very popular. After all, you don’t get $15 million from Google for nothing. To date, there are now over 100 games and collectibles that you can buy, sell, and trade within the Ethereum blockchain. Some of the best known are the following:

  • charged lions
  • PsychoKitties
  • Alphabot Society
  • AMR21
  • CryptoCards
  • seascapes
  • Own every word
  • Black Santa

And it’s not just the weird collectibles that are popular. Many popular games now operate on the NFT market as well. And these types of NFTs are even more popular than collectibles. As of now, some of the most popular NFT games include Axie Infinity, Sorare, Evolution Land, Gods Unchained, and of course CryptoKitties.


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