NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. NFTs are media files that are recorded on a digital ledger or blockchain. If you’re already confused by crypto currencies, be prepared for NFTs to blow your mind!
Bitcoins or US Dollars are fungible tokens. A dollar bill (or note) represents the same as another – they are interchangeable.
Now imagine that Michael J Fox signed a dollar bill for you. That dollar bill is now worth more than a regular dollar bill – at least to you. But that doesn’t give you the right to copy and sell one hundred copies of your dollar bill – you don’t own the copyright to the dollar image, nor to the image of MJFs signature. Your signed dollar bill has become a non-fungible token.
Okay that’s probably an over simplificaton and I’m also new to this, so don’t go crazy if you’re an NFT expert.
Minting an NFT
Let’s say you took a great photo and saved it as a .JPG. You can publish it on the internet and maybe even earn some cash by selling copies. The copies are all the exact same file as you have on your computer – none are unique.
What if you could embed a special invisible mark within your photo and sell that as the ‘original’? Well that’s pretty much what is happening with NFTs. Owners of media files are linking their files to a blockchain identifier to make them ‘one of a kind’. This is called ‘Minting’.
I just minted an animated .GIF (prounced with a hard G and not a J no matter what the inventor says!). I called it Drug Bug.
And just to add to the artistic nature of this amateur graphic, I added these details:
Are my drugs bugs? Or are my bugs drugs? Should I swat them or swallow them?
My Drug Bug NFT is for sale on an NFT sales platform called Open Sea here.
At the time of writing, my Drug Bug NFT hasn’t sold – current asking price 0.3 Ethereum (3rd May 2021 value US$930).
If you’re thinking; ‘well that’s rubbish, why would anyone buy that?’ then take a look at this:
Punk 6965 sold for 800 ETH ($1,540,063.96 USD) https://www.larvalabs.com/cryptopunks/details/6965#
I know right?!
How did I mint my NFT?
I visited https://opensea.io/ – they are apparently the largest NFT marketplace.
I chose ‘Create’ and saw this:
So I clicked ‘Get MetaMask’ and I was taken to a MetaMask page that asked that install a brower add-on.
And I installed MetaMask. MetaMask allows you to buy the Ethereum cryptocurrency. Buying any cryptocurrency is a risky affair as there isn’t anyone you can call when you forget your password and/or lose the computer that stores your virtual currency. Buy at your own risk!
I decided it would be good to also install MetaMask on my iPhone – two locations for my virtual coins instead of one. I then used the iPhone app to confirm my identity and convert some real money into Ethereum. I was provided with a sequence of words that could enable me to access my Ethereum on any device.
Hang on! Why did you have to buy any Ethereum?
I’d previously read that to ‘mint’ an NFT, you had to pay a fee (called ‘gas’). I didn’t really understand what I was doing and just thought I’d go along with this to see how it worked – don’t risk more than you can afford!
Back to OpenSea
With my MetaMask browser add-on installed and Ethereum loaded, I went back to OpenSea and clicked ‘Sell’. OpenSea took me through a process where I uploaded my DrugBug.gif, set a price and chose to mint it as an NFT. I was also able to set a commission of 10%, which I think means I’ll get 10% from every subsuquent sale of DrugBug.
The equivalent of US$100 dissapeared from my MetaMask account.
I started to wonder if I would have been better responding to the email from a Nigerian Prince, who wanted to send me a million dollars!
But at least I could say I created an NFT.
More NFT Listings
OpenSea looked different afterwards. I can see my DrugBug NFT, but it now allowed me to add new collections of ‘NFTs’ for sale without charging me any more Ethereum gas money.
So I uploaded entire episodes of the Tuesday Night Drinks animated series.
OpenSea didn’t let me set a price, but I can see that anyone can make an offer for any of the episodes. You can find them here https://opensea.io/assets/tuesday-night-drinks.
You can watch them for free on OpenSea, or on the BugAdvisor YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/BugAdvisor
I’ll let you know when I sell anything!