What Are NFTs and How Do They Work?

One of the main benefits of owning a digital collectible versus a physical collectible like a Pokemon card or rare minted coin is that each NFT contains distinguishing information that makes it both distinct from any other NFT and easily verifiable. This makes the creation and circulation of fake collectibles pointless because each item can be traced back to the original issuer.

Unlike regular cryptocurrencies, NFTs cannot be directly exchanged with one another. This is because no two NFTs are identical – even those that exist on the same platform, game, or in the same collection. Think of them as festival tickets. Each ticket contains specific information including the purchaser’s name, the date of the event, and the venue. This data makes it impossible for festival tickets to be traded with one another.

The vast majority of NFT tokens were built using one of two Ethereum token standards (ERC-721 and ERC-1155) –  blueprints created by Ethereum that enable software developers to easily deploy NFTs and ensure they’re compatible with the broader ecosystem, including exchanges and wallet services like MetaMask and MyEtherWallet. Eos, Neo, and Tron have also released their own NFT token standards to encourage developers to build and host NFTs on their blockchain networks.

Why do they have value?

Like all assets, supply and demand are the key market drivers for price. Due to the scarce nature of NFTs and the high demand for them from gamers, collectors and investors, people are often prepared to pay a lot of money for them.

Some NFTs also have the potential to make their owners a lot of money. For instance, one gamer on the Decentraland virtual land platform decided to purchase 64 lots and combine them into a single estate. Dubbed “The Secrets of Satoshis Tea Garden,” it sold for $80,000 purely because of its desirable location and road access. Another investor parted with $222,000 to purchase a segment of a digital Monaco racing track in the F1 Delta Time game. The NFT representing the piece of the digital track allows the owner to receive 5% dividends from all races that take place on it, including entry ticket fees.