NFT Craze Gathers Pace as JPEG File Sells for $69 Million

You might’ve seen the term ‘NFT’ floating around the internet a lot lately.

Wondering what it is?

An NFT stands for ‘non-fungible token’. A ‘non-fungible’ item is one that cannot be exchanged on a like-for-like basis, as each one is unique – as opposed to ‘fungible’ assets like dollars, stocks or bars of gold.

These items can be authenticated as original by blockchain technology, unlike other online objects which can be reproduced endlessly.

So basically, it works as a unique ‘certificate of authenticity’ for virtual files such as memes, images and GIFs. 

Anyone can take screenshots of a file and replicate it, but the NFT assures that buyers own an ‘authentic’ copy, giving them the ultimate bragging rights for owning the ‘real’ thing.

However, they are not acquiring trademarks, or copyrights, or even the sole ownership of the file – it is only the knowledge that their copy is ‘authentic’. Crazy isn’t it?

Recently, a JPEG file titled “Everydays — The First 5000 Days” was sold for a staggering $69.3 million at a Christie’s first ever digital auction. The digital artwork is a collage of all the images that the artist, Beeple, has been posting online each day since 2007. 

The auction house describes the piece as a collage of “abstract, fantastical, grotesque, and absurd pictures” that comment on current events and personal moments. The sale has made Beeple one among the three most valuable living artists.

Can this image be replicated? Yes. But only the highest bidder gets the NFT. 

In February, an NFT of the Nyan Cat meme was sold for about $590,000. That’s a lot of dollars for something you can’t even touch or feel, but whatever brings you joy in the digital age!