Columns, Opinion

Modern Toolbox: No, NFTs aren’t just expensive .jpegs

Global markets continue to suffer as the consequences of the pandemic combined with the overarching theme of overvaluation in stock markets reach a fever pitch. 

Bitcoin is now down a little under 50% from its all-time high achieved last November, leaving many in the mainstream media to once again begin announcing the death of crypto. Is crypto dead? The short answer is no. Cryptocurrency prices may be going down, but that doesn’t mean that the underlying technology behind cryptocurrency will be going anywhere. 

On the contrary, blockchain technology is slated to revolutionize the world in ways that we may not even be able to imagine today.

Smaran Ramidi / DFP Staff

NFTs, the crypto flavor of the past year, are probably one of the most hated things on the internet today. It’s pretty understandable — illustrations of clothed chimpanzees should not be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s illogical.

What this whole NFT-as-collectibles craze has distracted us from is how the application of NFT technology has the potential to really affect change.

A few weeks ago, an Ethereum hackathon organized by ETHglobal hosted participants who created many diverse projects related to NFTs in two days.

One such project is ENS-Signature, aiming to integrate Ethereum Universal Sign-In into documents. It’s similar to DocuSigns, but done so in a decentralized manner that registers the documents into the blockchain, leaving an entry in the permanent Ethereum ledger. It’s more complicated, but essentially, this would expedite business processes by using no middlemen while maintaining high levels of security.

Another project from the hackathon is Creativerse, a Minecraft server connected to Ethereum where in-game land and buildings are registered as NFTs. There’s also 0xPhotos, a stock photo marketplace, which provides royalties to creators every time their photo is used. 

We could go all the way back to December 2019 when Nike patented a use of NFT technology. It both improved authentication processes of highly-sought-after shoes with “CryptoKick,” and even a system to create an offspring of your sneakers with “CollaboKick,” designs which may even be used for the creation of actual sneakers in real life. 

Collectibles and art authentication are just the beginning of where NFTs could take us. Just because something is called an NFT doesn’t mean it should be instantly dismissed as another .jpeg of questionable value. Some of these things have real, exciting applications that I can’t wait to see come to fruition in the coming years. 

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