If you are an artist — especially one whose work can be easily digitized — chances are you have come across someone telling you why you should mint NFTs. It seems you and all your colleagues are being told you need to join the craze. It has been explained to you, and you still find the whole concept shady. Well, I got good news for you: this post is for you.
To be clear, this is not another “What Are NFTs?” post. You can find those all over the internet. It would not argue over the energy consumption of NFTs, the greenest — or most economical — ways to mint them, whether or not they are a fad, or even the best places to mint and sell them. No. I am here to answer some of the most common non-technical questions asked by those skeptical of NFTs. I am not trying to convince you one way or the other. I am just trying to give you information so you can know what the f-ck people are talking about. Here goes.
NFTs are not a form of Cryptocurrency
I understand why some people seem to think that NFTs are just a different category of cryptocurrency. They are based on the same blockchain technology. Now, blockchains are essentially just spreadsheets in which entries cannot be edited, and in which new entries always come after the last one. Whenever someone wants to make an unauthorized change, the network on which the spreadsheet resides rejects it. Both cryptocurrencies and NFTs work on the blockchain, and NFTs are generally purchased with cryptocurrencies.
Selling an NFT does not automatically give the purchaser ownership of the intellectual property
Just like any IRL or traditional online sale, purchasing a piece of digital art or music does not automatically grant the purchaser ownership of the intellectual property behind the work. Obviously, if the work is licensed under Creative Commons or Open Source licenses, that’s a different matter altogether. That being said, the NFT is actually the original work, so any derivative work you make from it essentially destroys the earlier work.
NFTs are inherently unique
That is what the “NF” in the “NFT” stands for. Non-fungible means it cannot be replaced with another item. Even if someone makes a copy of it using the art or music behind it, it is still not the same item. The token part of the NFT ensures that it is absolutely unique.
Each NFT is more than just its Audio/Visual component
The NFT is the whole piece: the digital art PLUS the token (or certificate, if you like) that identifies it. If you can somehow separate them, you would have essentially destroyed your NFT. So while there may be copies of the digital art/song/video floating around on the internet, they are not the same as — and by implication, not as valuable as — the NFT. This works in the same way that prints of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa are not as valuable (and do not in any way devalue) the original copy hanging in the Louvre.
Creating NFTs is becoming more and more ecofriendly
One of the major complaints people have about NFTs is the high amount of energy required to mint them. A lot of blockchain protocols (such as NEAR), as well as NFT minting platforms/marketplaces (such as Mintbase), are developing protocols and solutions that use only a very small amount of energy to mint NFTs. You can find resources online to help you research how to “mint and still be green” (hmmm, maybe I should trademark that). The Clean NFTs Google Sheet also has a lot of resources to help you.
Yes, there is a lot of hype
Part of this is caused by speculators hoping to make purchases and then cash out when the prices are still high, as they wait for the inevitable bubble burst. This does not mean that NFTs are not real. They are, and they are a really valid means for artists of all shades to make a living. Things would eventually normalize, but I believe it would still be possible to make a living off NFTs.
You are responsible for your NFTs’ security
Like cryptocurrencies, you are generally responsible for the security of your NFTs. Losing your wallet’s secret key could mean you lose access to your NFT. And if you bought it for $69 Million, that would look like a bit of a muppet (or at least feel like one).
NFTs are no guarantee to instant wealth and riches
If anyone tries to tell you they are, the person is either lying to you or has been taken for a ride, themselves. Nothing guarantees wealth in this world. And the blockchain industry is inherently volatile, so you should only invest what your can afford to lose. Please, don’t let FOMO cloud your judgment. And please ignore those who assure you that the NFTs (or cryptocurrencies) they are flogging are sure things. Because other than death, tax, and the laws of Physics, nothing is