What are NFTs, this new digital passion?

The first message from the social network written by one of the creators of Twitter, Jack Dorsey? Sold ! And at $ 2.9 million. A work of art made of pixels that has never been exhibited or printed? Sold for over $ 69 million. The world’s first SMS, fifteen characters for one “Happy Christmas” ? Minimum Estimate Before Auction: $ 110,000.

But how to ensure that the buyer becomes the owner of these digital objects? The purchase is made via an NFT for “non-fungible token”, or “non-fungible token”. Specifically, it is a title deed that can be attached to any digital object. It is also digital, but presumably tamper-proof.

The original and the copy

This token will certify that this tweet, which can be viewed by everyone, belongs to you (and yours alone!), The same for this work of art which may have been the subject of thousands of screenshots, or even this message that appears on this old cellphone. The computer file and all its lines of code are yours: you have the original painting of the grand master; the others, a simple copy, a substitute.

Technology ensures this. It is blockchain. If the NFT is a digital security, the blockchain acts as a notary by recording all transactions in its ledger. Except that here, of course, the operation is computerized: dozens of computers will perform authentication calculations.

Terrific financial investments

The NFT then compiles a series of data verified as follows: the owner, the date of creation of the digital object, its creator, the number of transactions carried out … Under these conditions it is impossible to claim a fake or a copy: in case of sale comes into play the right to intellectual property.

→ RE-READ. Art, luxury and video games, NFT “digital tokens” are popular

But why own these digital objects? Jack Dorsey’s tweet is to the Internet what Napoleon’s original correspondence is to a history buff. Above all, NFTs are proving to be formidable financial investments. The boom of this market, under the pressure of that of art, allows us to be convinced of it.

“Explosion”

“With the pandemic and the end of exhibitions, many artists have created digital works, rewinds Mathilde Le Roy, CEO of KAZoART, the European leader in the sale of works of art online. At the same time, investors who had become very rich thanks to cryptocurrencies were looking for new financial investments. “ Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies. Transactions in these currencies are validated in the blockchain. The purchase of NFT is therefore part of a virtuous circle around this technology.

“In March 2021, Christie’s, one of the largest auction houses in the world, sold a work of art in the form of an NFT for over $ 69 million. continues Mathilde Le Roy. This caused an explosion. “ Sotheby’s, the other major auction house, held a similar sale in stride.

A market that is worth more than 10 billion dollars

“From that moment on, NFTs have only been bought by a few very sophisticated investors in the world of cryptocurrencies: traditional investors have started buying them,” confirms Stanislas Barthelemi, a cryptocurrency and blockchain consultant at the consulting firm KPMG.

The leading NFT transaction site, called OpenSea, estimates that the global market has grown from a few tens of millions of dollars at the beginning of the year to over 10 billion dollars in November.

Everyone wants their token

NFTs are now exiting the art market. The young French photographer Sorare made it his business. With 680 million euros, he carried out in October the largest fundraiser in the history of French Tech, this brand that brings together the country’s innovative companies. It aims to collect virtual cards, the inspiring muse of footballers: the value of the cards increases based on the performance of the latter.

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