If you spend any time online, chances are you’ve come across the enigma that are non-fungible tokens (NFTs). For most of us, the concept can take some getting used to. Essentially, an NFT - a cryptocurrency blockchain - is a digital asset (we can take non-fungible to mean irreplaceable, as each NFT is a one-off, original entity).
In the past year, the phenomenon that is NFTs has pervaded into every possible sector, from art (this is the prevailing use of an NFT), to literature, music and photography. High-profile celebrities and influencers are delving into the world of crypto, too. Take Emily Ratajkowski, who is auctioning off her viral essay for The Cut, and Kate Moss, who is selling videos of herself doing mundane tasks like driving and sleeping. Earlier this year, Lindsay Lohan sold an NFT of a portrait of herself for over $50,000. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, sold his first-ever tweet for USD$2.9 million (yes, seriously). Sina Estavi, CEO of a Malaysian blockchain service, purchased the tweet and likened the tweet to a modern-day Mona Lisa.
Glancing over those figures, it should come as no surprise that sales of NFTs are up by 2,000 per cent this year. A lucrative business, indeed. This week alone has accrued much NFT attention, from the viral to sentimental.
We can start with the cutest one. Remember the 2007 viral YouTube hit, “Charlie Bit My Finger”? The video, featuring adorable Charlie biting his older brother Harry’s finger, has just been auctioned off by the family. The NFT was bought for a whopping £538,000 and will now be removed from YouTube.
Labodét, a Parisian luxury accessory store, has revealed its first NFT mobile phone wallpaper. The original item, handcrafted by an artisan, created the piece using exotic crocodile leather and satin-brushed with 18k gold plaque.
In a move that is equally poetic and poignant, artist Khaled Jarrar is selling soil from Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the central West Bank. The work is titled 'If I don’t steal your home someone else will steal it', reclaiming a phrase that an Israeli settler spoke when evicting Palestinian families from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. Jarrar says he chose to use an NFT because of its current popularity, which will “help bring awareness to the issues” that Palestinians face.
The revered Uffizi Gallery, based in Florence, recently sold a Michelangelo NFT for around £120,000. Tondo Doni, a prized painting from the collection, depicts the holy family, dated around 1506. A dozen other works from Uffizi’s collection will soon be made into NFTs, including Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
The top team in the Ukranian Premier League, FC Dynamo Kyiv, is selling NFT tickets for their 2021 season. The ticketing initiative, set to be launched by the end of June, is a fundamental aspect of their strategy to make the club “the greatest technological leader of football within the next two years.”