NFTs are the future of digital ownership, here’s how you can be a part of it
Imagine that you bought the Monalisa from Leonardo da Vinci, or had Rabindranath Tagore give you a signed copy of one of his manuscripts, or more likely, had an autographed photo of your favourite star.
When it comes to physical assets, establishing exclusive ownership is fairly simple. In the digital world, however, it’s quite easy to multiply or copy a digital asset, posing a challenge for exclusive ownership. This is where Blockchain-backed Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) come in.
What are NFTs?
Simply put, NFTs are digital certificates of authenticity and can establish irrefutable proof of ownership and provenance for virtual collectables. They are largely gaining in popularity to certify original creations in a digital form: from art to GIFs to music or videos. The NBA is using them to sell highlight videos. Artists are using them to sell digital works. Musicians are using them to retain royalties.
In other words, if it can be digitised, it can be an NFT.
NFTs: the future of digital ownership
NFTs are having their moment in the sun right now. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's first-ever tweet has been sold for the equivalent of $2.9 million. Everydays: The First 5000 Days, a digital image by artist Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple), sold for $69.3 million at high-end auction house Christie’s. Sales of NFTs soared to more than $2 billion in the first quarter, alone.
However, the large sums of money currently being shelled out for single pieces leads to overall misconceptions about the value of NFTs and their importance in the market. The true value of technological innovations often emerges once the initial hype dies down. And history cautions us against dismissing NFTs as a passing fad.
Why all kinds of digital creators are moving to NFTs
In the art and music world, NFTs are creating opportunities for new business models that didn’t exist before — ones that are especially kinder to artists. With NFTs, artists can attach stipulations that ensure they get a percentage of the proceeds every time the NFT gets resold. This means that they can benefit if their work increases in value — in perpetuity.
In the music world, NFTs give artists the potential to provide special digital memorabilia to their fans. When it comes to sports, estimates suggest that up to 80 percent of memorabilia are known to be fake. Creating NFTs could overcome the problem.
Beyond all of this, the true potential of NFTs goes much further. Transactions have historically depended on layers of middlemen to establish trust, and NFTs makes this redundant.
Beyond art and music, NFTs will soon involve all manners of digital assets. Script writers can create NFTs of their original scripts; musicians, their unreleased trucks, graphic designers, their posters, and so on.
Buying NFTs in India
Thankfully, the WazirX NFT marketplace makes buying and selling NFT assets way easier and much more economical. For one, WazirX is the only Indian marketplace for NFTs at present. Secondly, the Binance smart chain (BSC) with the WazirX NFT marketplace operates with is low on the ‘gas fee’ for NFT transactions. By comparison, a transaction on Ethereum would cost between $60 to $100 on gas fee, whereas Binance costs only $1.
How to buy or NFTs on BSC
If you are keen on buying or selling NFTs in India, all you have to do is create an account on WazirX linked to a Metamask or Binance wallet ID. If you’re a creator looking to make your first listing, you'll have to first mint the NFT: Set the price of the artwork in WRX, set the royalty, and mint the NFT. The only fees to be paid here are the gas fees.
Currently in its beta phase, the WazirX NFT marketplace currently hosts over 23 spotlight artists, 130 whitelist artists and 27 collectors, with a modest $70,000 in sales till date.
WazirX NFT marketplace’s notable creators include Laya Mathikshara — a 13-year-old from Chennai passionate about art and tech, who presents artworks on Indian cultural themes.
Another popular artist, Prasad Bhat, is known for his unique illustrative style of capturing faces. His viral GIFs have been featured on 9gag, Reddit, GQ, Bored Panda and Rolling Stones, and loved by over 3,00,000 followers across social media. His self learnt signature style involves creating unique illustrations from scratch with a mouse.
WazirX is also excited about its music category with artists such as multi-instrumentalist Lydian Nadhaswaram and poet Priya Malik featuring on the marketplace. Ahead of the launch, multidisciplinary contemporary visual artist Santanu Hazarika had dropped an NFT on World Music Day (21 June) on WazirX.
Yet another interesting creator is the Mumbai-based musician-artist Sambit Chatterjee - son of the Grammy-nominated tabla maestro - Pandit Subhen Chatterjee. His contribution to the marketplace includes the demo version of world's first ever heavy metal song to feature the Sarod.