Joel Simon: Our discussion today is part of a series on non-fungible tokens, known as NFTs. We will take a look at some specific issues that are somewhat unique to NFTs, and try to give you, our listeners, some interesting things to watch out for as you wade into this relatively new space. Carolyn, with the large sums of money involved in many NFT transactions, due diligence and proper transaction execution must be critical factors, yet I’ve heard about buyers getting tripped up on things that, once you hear about them, seem obvious. Can you shed some light on this for us?
Here at Internet & Social Media Law, we examine new developments and challenges that impact the digital and social media landscape. Over on our Policyholder Pulse insurance law blog, we provide insight on non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) and the importance of knowing the available insurance options when dealing with them. As NFTs become more common, whether it’s sports tickets and memorabilia or art work, it’s imperative to know how to protect these digital assets. We discuss further in “Covering the Highlight Reel: The Need for Insurance Options to Protect NFT Owners.”
As innovative applications with integrated smart contract functionality emerge from blockchain technology platforms, there is an expanding list of digital currencies, tokens and peer-to-peer financial products and services. Abbreviations abound. There are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which, unlike fungible cryptocurrencies, are “one-of-a-kind’ digital assets stored on a blockchain platform, and can include images, videos, recordings, collectibles and tangible items in the physical world. There is decentralized finance (DeFi), the peer-to-peer transaction infrastructure for tokens and other software applications and contracts designed to replace traditional banking products and services and streamline transactions. Decentralized applications (dApps) are a relatively new technology similar to traditional web applications from a user perspective, but which run on distributed blockchain platforms, such as Ethereum, rather than on a single computer—dApps are typically open source, allowing software developers to improve features and functions quickly, and free from control by any single authority. Smart contract protocols permit dApps to access the blockchain platform and integrate with cryptocurrencies, NFTs and DeFi projects.
Joel Simon: Our discussion today is going to touch on a number of things that are a mystery to a lot of people. We’ll focus on non-fungible tokens, known as NFTs, and in the process, can’t help but mention blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Cydney, I read recently that the technology for an NFT has existed since 2010. They went mainstream in 2017, and this year, NFTs have already generated more than $2 billion in sales. So this is definitely a topic that people should get up to speed on. Let’s start with the most basic question: What is an NFT?
Over the past few months, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded in popularity in the worlds of visual arts, sports memorabilia, bobbleheads, and now, music. We have recently seen multiple high-profile NFT releases from artists such as the Weeknd, the White Stripes, Kings of Leon, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, and Steve Aoki, kickstarting a trend as musicians reeling from over a year without touring seek new ways to engage with fans.
Just as video killed the radio star, so did the digital transformation kill (or at least convert) traditional media. While “going digital” became the bane of many traditional media companies that struggled to make the leap to an online world, NFTs may be the digital savior that some of these companies need. Imagine that you are a company with a known brand and sizeable catalog of media with potential historical and cultural significance. Yet, you’ve found it difficult to monetize these assets in a world that abhors paywalls and often takes an overly broad view of what constitutes “fair use.” If only there were a way to highlight the unique significance of these assets and tap into the latent collector in all of us. Anyone who follows us already knows that NFTs can serve this very function.
Anyone who follows the crypto space knows that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage of late. We have written on the subject previously on multiple occasions, particularly with respect to NFTs that tokenize works of digital art. (For a primer on digital art NFTs, check out prior posts here and here.)
We previously wrote on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that represent art and how that concept is starting to be embraced by the art world. Enter Banksy, a celebrated graffiti artist and political activist whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed. For the past couple of decades, Banksy’s popularity has grown, including a celebrity following, and some of his art pieces have fetched $500,000 or more. One of Banksy’s most famous stunts was having one of his pieces, Girl with Balloon, self-destruct right after being sold at a Sotheby auction. (A shredding mechanism was built into the golden frame holding the work and, as soon as the auctioneer’s gavel fell, selling the piece for about $1.4 million, the piece started passing through the frame which started shredding the canvas.) The winning bidder ultimately opted to keep the piece in its shredded form, and Sotheby’s described the event as “the first work in history ever created during a live auction.” The piece has since been on display at a prestigious German art gallery, and experts suspect the value has increased at least by 50 percent. Go figure.
Non-fungible tokens (or NFTs) are unique blockchain-based tokens that can represent almost anything, including physical assets. NFTs have been growing significantly in popularity in recent years because of this potential to “tokenize” anything and provide a way to transfer ownership of digital assets to holders. An NFT can be described as a certificate of authenticity. Most NFTs today are based on the Ethereum blockchain, but some other blockchains like TRON and NEO also support NFTs.