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Undoubtedly, the world is continuously shifting into a digital economy, and so digital representation of physical objects is becoming more prominent.
The latest and arguably the hottest technological goods today are NFTs or non-fungible tokens. Over the last year, billions have been put into NFT. If you are thinking about investing in it, keep on reading.
What is an NFT?
Non-fungible tokens are digital native items that are created and managed on a blockchain, just like cryptocurrencies. A blockchain functions like a digital ledger that acts as a database for tracking and managing NFTs.
Fungible means that it can be interchangeable. For instance, money is a fungible asset – its units can easily be interchanged. For example, a Php20 bill can be swapped for two Php10 coins without losing or gaining value.
Considering this definition, a non-fungible asset is a one-off. It’s like a house or a painting. For instance, a painting can be copied a million times but the original will still have the highest value because it’s the only one of its kind.
How do NFTs work?
If a person wants to create an NFT, they need to ‘mint’ it on a blockchain. When this happens, other people can recognize its creation and view its ownership details.
In a way, the concept functions like a phonebook where any person can publish their mobile number, and it can be verified by the phone company and everyone else.
Once an NFT has been minted on a blockchain, it cannot be replicated anymore. It is unique and its ownership will be documented on the blockchain1.
Going back to the phonebook comparison, if you want to trade mobile numbers with a friend, the blockchain will contain information on who the new owner is.
Blockchains are impossible to change or hack so your NFT ownership will be very secure. Nobody can steal, adjust, or change it.
Because of the nature of NFTs, a lot of people confuse them as a kind of cryptocurrency. Despite both running on blockchains, the two are not the same. It’s like saying basketball trading cards are similar to all paper bills. While both are printed, they are not the same.
So why do these digital assets have value?
When you own an NFT, you’ll have ownership of that asset even though it’s not a physical item. Its value comes from its collectability, and its potential sale value if you plan on trading or selling it.
Why invest in NFTs?
The best way to understand why people invest in NFTs is to think about it as a collectible, albeit a digital one.
Investing in NFTs is like the same process.
The important thing to note is before investing in NFTs, you should understand their valuation and do your due diligence similar to when you’re investing in an artwork. We’ve gathered some of the reasons why you should invest in NFTs.
It will give you more liquidity
Tokenized assets will enable you to have more liquidity in your assets when you need them.
One example of this is when you own an NFT domain and you decide to rent out your virtual space to advertisers for a fee. You still retain your ownership but it is liquefied as rent.
NFTs tend to appeal more to people who would benefit from the liquidity offered by digital assets, which are much easier to buy and sell than physical goods.
It has a big potential for growth
NFTs have a massive potential for development and growth. Although it still has a long way to go before it becomes part of mainstream media coverage, more people are becoming attracted to invest in it because of its foundation.
Think about it, cryptocurrencies used to fly under the radar before, but they started to gain traction when their value climbed up.
NFT is linked to crypto wallets so it offers a great springboard to millions of people. Rather than building a system from scratch, NFTs have a great infrastructure in place, and ultimately, the growth of cryptocurrencies will be responsible for the rising growth pattern of NFTs.
Additionally, people are also attracted to NFTs because they can be attached to artwork and games. Their scarcity and collectability are helping increase interest and this makes it interesting for collectors, artists, and gamers.
When you own an NFT, it’s like having a certification of ownership nobody else can alter. NFTs also eliminate the concern of artwork duplication. Therefore, scarcity for the pieces is created and the value keeps on increasing.
Easy to authenticate
If you’re interested in investing in art, NFTs are a great investment to get into since they already contain their own authentication.
There is no need for outside experts to verify anything about your collection.
NFTs are also a good investment for investors who like to gamble big. You don’t have to worry about losing them either: blockchain technology provides unparalleled security you won’t find with other types of investments.
Another area where NFTs excel is charity support. If you’re interested in helping donate to your favorite charity, NFTs are a great way to do so since they can be traded or donated without limitations.
Pros & Cons of Investing in NFTs
Some NFTs are very affordable, but that doesn’t make them a perfect investment. Before investing in NFTs, you first have to be familiar with their advantages and drawbacks.
NFTs are undoubtedly exciting. Investing in NFTs feels like getting on the ground floor of something big. The market is growing, and it’s already evident that NFTs are becoming more than just digital art.
It gives artists ownership.
The chief beneficiary of NFTs is digital artists. Before the advent of NFTs, digital artists were often at the mercy of individuals or companies who profited from replicating and selling their digital art without a cut, or even just credit.
Now that NFTs exist, artists can make money off of items they create by allowing buyers to purchase those digital assets directly from the blockchain.
The main advantage of this on the collector’s end is that they are absolutely sure that what they’re buying is authentic and one of a kind.
Because NFTs are so easy to authenticate, they are easier to trade. When you don’t have to worry about the tedious bits of collecting—like authentication, scams, and so on—it becomes a much more exciting activity.
They are collectible
A lot of people love the excitement that is associated with collecting rare items. NFTs are amazing investments because they offer legitimacy. It can even make collecting artworks more engaging and interactive.
Because they are minted on a blockchain, NFTs cannot be replaced, changed, or erased. This is an important benefit when it comes to proving an artwork’s value.
It’s easy to buy
Because of the popularity of NFTs right now, it has become so accessible. There is also a wide array of platforms where you can buy or sell these assets.
The marketability of NFTs is another benefit for current and future collectors. Whether you want to sell or trade your NFT, the secondary market is fairly large and active—the art scene has already embraced digital collectibles as a way to make money and it doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down anytime soon.
NFTs are not without their disadvantages. Collectors should be aware of the changing regulatory environment for digital assets before investing in them.
This also includes understanding how to take care of your investment since NFTs are still relatively new assets that are still gaining traction in the market.
It can be expensive
Because of the current NFT craze, a lot of collectibles have become expensive and not all may maintain their value in the long term.
There’s still speculation around it
A lot of people are still confused about whether NFTs are only a fad or a long-term investment.
It can be copied
While it’s true that you’re the only person that can have an original, that doesn’t mean your NFT can never be copied. When you own one, it can be replicated as art and posted on various websites and your token of authenticity cannot do anything about it.
It has an impact on the environment
There is a lot of talk about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies, and because NFTs are also based on the blockchain, many individuals also question its sustainability.
It can be stolen
While the foundation of NFTs is secure, some platforms and exchanges are not.
NFTs are inherently risky due to their novelty.
One additional issue that might become a problem is scams. As more laypersons invest in NFTs, the potential for scams will increase.
This is similar to what happened in the early days of Bitcoin and Ethereum: more non-technical people got interested and fell victim to scams that seem laughably obvious to us today.
Because the market for NFTs is so new, there are risks to investing in NFTs that aren’t present with other investments. The price of an NFT can change drastically due to demand or lack thereof.
Longtime investors have seen hundreds of crazes like this come and go. If you are old enough to remember about Beanie Babies, you already know just how quickly a collectible’s value can plummet over time.
How to Buy and Invest in NFTs
If you’ve read this far, chances are that you’re champing at the bit for this part. But before we get to that, let’s talk about four things you have to ask yourself first:
- Where do you want to buy an NFT?
- What wallet do you need to buy NFTs from that platform?
- What cryptocurrency can be used to buy the NFT you want?
- Are there any specific conditions for your purchase of that NFT?
There is no one-stop shop for NFTs. You’ll need to find the best platform for the NFT you want—or be willing to use multiple platforms.
Different platforms do not necessarily have the same requirements.
For instance, if your target NFT is part of an NBA Top Shot pack, you will need to create an NBA Top Shot account. You will need a Dapper wallet to purchase NFTs here, which you can fund using the USDC stablecoin or one of the several fiat options they offer.
You also can’t just point and click the NFT you want; depending on your choice, you will have to wait for the card pack drop and take a shot at buying them before anyone else.
The time you have to get your target NFT can vary wildly. The name of the game is speed: with some drops opening and closing in just a few seconds, you will have to be on your toes if you want to snag an especially popular NFT.
Now that you have a clearer idea of what purchasing NFTs entails, we can start getting into the nuts and bolts.
Since the necessary steps will depend on the four factors we noted above, think of these as general guidelines you can use when you’re ready to get started.
Step 1: Purchase Ethereum
Most NFTs are Ethereum-based tokens. Most NFT marketplaces therefore use that network’s currency, called ether. If you’re new to NFTs and the crypto world in general, we suggest going with ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, to make your learning experience as frictionless as possible.
Reputable cryptocurrency exchanges you can use to purchase ether are eToro or Coinbase.
Once you have your Ethereum, you can now transfer it to your wallet. We suggest using a wallet that supports ERC-721, the standard for most NFT tokens.
Examples of wallets you can use are Trust Wallet, Coinbase Wallet, or MetaMask.
Step 2: Link your Wallet to an NFT Marketplace
Once your wallet is funded, you can now link it to your chosen NFT marketplace. Try to look around and check which exchanges have the kind of NFTs you want.
The steps for linking your wallet will vary from platform to platform, but they will all follow a similar pattern.
You can check out your chosen platform’s specific instructions for concrete steps on how to set this up.
If you don’t have a particular NFT marketplace in mind right now, you may want to check out some of the most popular ones such as OpenSea, Nifty Gateway, NBA Top Shot, or SuperRare.
Once your account is linked, you can start browsing for NFTs you like.
Step 3: Purchase your NFT
This is the easiest part of all.
Many NFT marketplaces use auction-style bidding, so be sure you have enough in your wallet to have a good shot at getting the NFT you want.
The steps for bidding on an individual NFT will vary by platform, but they all operate similarly.
One more thing to consider is whether you want to purchase from a primary or a secondary marketplace.
The key advantage of using primary marketplaces is that you have a better shot at a big payday down the line.
Getting your NFT from a primary marketplace is more volatile. No one really knows how much an NFT will be worth after a year, a month, or even a day. It could be thousands of times more, or it could be worth nothing. There’s essentially no limit on how high your NFT’s value can rise, or how low it can plummet.
With secondary markets, that risk is somewhat mitigated. There is, at least, a consensus on how much a particular NFT is worth. The downside is that your chance of hitting the jackpot here is much lower.
A good way to think about it is that, if you prioritize stability to your NFT investments, secondary marketplaces are typically a better choice. If you want to take a more high-risk, high-reward approach, primary exchanges are your best bet.
How to Create NFTs
The NFT industry is one of the most exciting ones to be in right now.
But what if buying NFTs isn’t something you are interested in? You may want to try creating them instead.
The NFT world is still in its early stages, which means that it’s pretty easy to get started. As the NFT market grows and evolves, this will change, but right now you can think of this as a hobby industry that is open to anyone.
Step 1: Decide on the Blockchain
Before starting, you have to decide on the blockchain you want to place your NFTs. As we’ve noted, Ethereum is the standard here. If you’re just starting out, we suggest going with that to keep things simple.
If for some reason you don’t want to go with Ethereum, you’ll be joining plenty of others that use other blockchains such as:
- Flow by Dapper Labs
- Binance Smart Chain
Remember that blockchains each have their own NFT marketplaces, token standards, and compatible wallets.
Since Ethereum NFTs are the most common, let’s talk about minting your first NFT there.
Step 2: Fund your Wallet
Just as in buying NFTs, you will need a wallet. For Ethereum-based NFTs, you will need a wallet that supports the ERC-721 standard. Feel free to pick and choose the wallet that works best for you.
Some of the more established wallets you can use are Coinbase Wallet, Meta Mask, or Trust Wallet.
Next, you will need to fund your wallet with ether. We would personally set aside at least $50 for our first NFT, but you can go higher than that if you wish.
Step 3: Create your NFT
Once your wallet is funded, head over to an NFT platform of your choice. Some of the friendlier marketplaces for beginners are:
We will use OpenSea as an example, as it is presently the largest NFT marketplace for the Ethereum blockchain. Don’t worry though—the steps outlined here will generally be the same as the steps in any other marketplace.
Here’s how to mint your first NFT on OpenSea:
- Once you are logged in to your account, click on the blue “create” tab. This will redirect you to a screen where you can connect your Ethereum wallet. Key in your wallet password to link it to your OpenSea account.
- Note that you may have to provide a digital signature to establish your ownership of that wallet, but this should pose no major issues—just follow the instructions and click to proceed.
- Hover over the “create” tab at the upper-right corner of your screen and select “my collections”, then click on the blue “create” tab on the next screen.
- You can then upload an image that will serve as the cover for your collection. This is also where you put in your name and a description of your work.
- When your image finishes uploading, you will have to select a banner image. You can do this by clicking on the pencil symbol in the upper-right corner of the page.
- Now that you have your banner image ready to go, it’s finally time to get your first NFT done.
- Just below your cover photo, you will find a blue “Add New Item” tab. Click on it and provide another digital signature.
- You will be redirected to a new screen where you can upload whatever it is you want to become your first NFT: images, GIFs, 3D models, texts, audio, video, and so on.
- Next, you can add a few more attributes to your NFT. This step is not necessary, but many NFT artists utilize this space to increase the uniqueness and scarcity of their work.
- You can also add unlockable content to your NFT, which will be viewable only to its owner. Be as creative as you want here—examples of unlockable content artists have used in their NFTs are discount codes, passwords, or even their contact info. Hey, whatever works, right?
How much does it cost to create an NFT?
Setting the minimum price of your NFT is not as easy as it seems. If it’s too low, your fees will eat up all your profit and you may even lose money.
Once you finalize the artwork, pay the listing fee also known as the “gas fee.” This equals to how much Ether is needed to execute this function on the blockchain and it depends on the congestion of the network. The more people are transacting, the higher the price will be.
Most NFT wallets charge a basic fee of $70 or Php3,500 to $120 or Php6,000.
When you mint at peak times, the amount could go up to $300 to Php15,000. This can be a guessing game until the actual bill comes through so make sure you have extra ETH in your wallet to cover the price update.
If you want your artwork to be minted quickly, it will cost you more money.
How to Sell NFTs
Selling NFTs is very easy in most marketplaces. Just locate the NFT in your collection. Then, choose how you want to sell your NFT.
You can pick a “fixed price” option where you set a price and allow people to buy it instantly. There is also an “unlimited auction” option where people bid on your artwork until you accept an offer.
The final option is called the “timed option,” where the auction only takes place for a specific amount of time and the highest bidder wins.
Top NFT Marketplaces
NFTs are a new way for artists to monetize their creations, and there is a wide variety of platforms out there to choose from.
There is no true measure of what makes a good NFT marketplace. It is ultimately up to you which one works best for your specific needs, but we find it useful to keep track of the number of traders and bid volume on the platform.
We’ve rounded up some of the biggest NFT marketplaces today.
This is the first NFT marketplace that launched on the Ethereum blockchain, and it was founded in 2017 by Alex Atallah and Devin Finzer.
It covers tons of digital assets to meet the needs of all NFT investors, as well as exclusive assets such as CryptoKitties, Axies, ENS names, and many more.
This decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace will give you a seamless trading experience. The interface is also designed to encourage engagement.
Although it caters to different kinds of NFT, it focuses more on digital art assets. Content creators even have the luxury to present a preview of their product people can view.
The marketplace centers on limited edition digital artworks, and NFTs are showcased in a similar way as an Instagram profile.
This marketplace is praised by critics because instead of community upvotes, they have a management team that verifies the artworks.
This platform refers to itself as a “new creative economy” and brings together digital innovators, collectors, and crypto natives to concentrate on digital art.
Not everyone can join this platform. You need to be invited by an artist, and each artist is only allowed to invite one person.
This reliable marketplace aims to make Nifties accessible to all investors by bringing centralized processes to people who use decentralized payment methods.
It does not require any crypto wallet and you can pay using your credit card.
MakersPlace focuses on empowering artists, writers, and other digital creators with the best tools to sell and protect their works to fans and collectors.
The creator needs to sign each piece, and then it is validated through the blockchain. The site also offers detailed artist profiles, searchable tags, and ownership records, as well as the ability to pay through credit cards.
NBA Top Shot is a platform developed in partnership with the NBA.
On this platform, you can get basketball trading digital collectibles, such as NBA’s best moments and highlights.
KnownOrigin prides itself on being an artist-driven NFT marketplace. All digital artworks showcased here are certified as unique through the Ethereum blockchain.
This marketplace is a bit smaller than the other entries on this list, but we feel it deserves a bit more of a spotlight for the diversity of its art—no doubt a product of letting the artists take the lead.
AtomicMarket is an NFT market smart contract utilized by dozens of other websites. The market offers shared liquidity, which means that listing a digital asset here means listing it across all of its partner markets.
The market’s NFT standard is Atomic Assets, which is built on the eosio blockchain. The standard is open to anyone who wants to use it to tokenize digital assets and trade on the Atomic Assets marketplace.
If this is your first time shopping for NFTs at AtomicMarket, watch out for the verification checkmark: it’s the market’s way of recognizing the most trusted traders on its network.
Top Collectibles and NFTs
Here’s a look at some of the most interesting and expensive NFTs ever sold.
Everydays: The First 5000 Days
Sold for a staggering $69.3 million2 of more than 3 billion pesos, this NFT by Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, broke the record for the most expensive digital artwork sold by Christie’s Auction House.
This JPG file contains various images created by the artist. Usually, a single artwork is sold at auctions, but this work is a culmination of everything Beeple has made since 2007.
This is a collection of pixelated digital images that were created on the Ethereum network. There are only 10,000 of these 24 x 24 pieces, and all have been bought3.
If you want to buy one, you need to get it from another user in the marketplace and the asking price depends on the seller or bids.
This Ethereum-powered crypto collectible game kickstarted the NFT scene4.
People can trade, buy, and breed these unique cats to use in the CryptoKitties game.
This NFT was sold for $6.6 million5 or more than Php300 million. This Beeple work was sold on Nifty Gateway.
Unlike the Everydays piece, this one is only a single artwork. It was based on the 2020 US Presidential election.
Sold for $5.4 million or close to Php 270 million6, this signed artwork combines the landmark court decision ruling that states the National Security Agency or NSA violated the law.
It also features a portrait of the whistleblower by Platon. It is the only NFT produced by Snowden.
This is a recent NFT collectible that was introduced in 20217 and is expected to boom in the future. The concept was brought by Microsoft and it works by rewarding players with tokens that can be used in the game itself.
The first tweet by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey was sold for $2.9 million8 or Php 144 million to a Malaysian businessman.
The 2006 tweet was even compared to purchasing a Mona Lisa painting.
The first digital house in the world, “Mars House” is a 3D-rendered building made completely out of glass. The most prominent view from within “Mars House” is the foreboding mountains of Mars. You can lounge around this virtual house accompanied by a bespoke soundtrack from Jeff Schroeder, of The Smashing Pumpkins fame.
Creator Kim Krista described this piece as a “light sculpture”, built in the vein of her real-world design aesthetic. “Mars House” is an intriguing conception of what everyday life could be like on Mars.
It was sold on SuperRare for $500,0009.
“Burning Banksy” is exactly what it sounds like: a Banksy piece being burned.
The blockchain company Injective Protocol purchased the Banksy piece for $33,000, then burned it. The recording of that burning was made into an NFT and sold for $415,58610.
We don’t really get what the underlying message here is, but we can’t lie: it’s pretty cool.
“Finite” was created by the mysterious Pak, a renowned digital artist at the forefront of the NFT movement.
Pak’s work is too hard to pin down in words, but it’s both simple and elegant, with deep space scenes that are hard to describe in anything other than abstract terms. Straddling the worlds of art and game design, his pieces use 3D rendering to create new kinds of depth that feel seductive and spooky all at once.
“Finite” was sold in March 2021 for $809,789.40.
“Seasons” is one of our personal favorites. Created by the digital artist Blake Kathryn, it melds complex textures and vivid colors to create a beautiful, evocative image of the four seasons moving through time—all housed within one structure.
This piece showcases the bold, fresh directions digital art can take, as well as how that translates to NFTs as a medium.
It sold in December 2020 for $22,938.19
Future of NFTs
A lot of people think the potential of NFT has already been reached, but this digital asset is only getting started.
With more celebrities and artists releasing their own NFTs to ride the wave, it’s safe to say it’s more than just a fad. The importance of this technological innovation will become clearer and more widely used in the future since it has enabled the creation of a new business model for artists.
For example, NFTs can give bands the potential to provide perks to their fans. Not only that but it enables items to have clear transaction history that could overcome today’s counterfeiting issues. Soon, it may even alter the rules of ownership not only with art but also with smart contracts used by professionals to ensure that their agreements are honored.
While we anticipate NFTs’ current status as the next big thing in the collecting world not to abate for quite some time, its technology also has numerous real-world uses, especially in cases where the issue of ownership can get contentious.
Some examples of where NFTs can move next are real estate deeds and vehicle titles. There are obviously plenty of other industries that could use the ironclad, yet transparent smart contracts that undergird NFTs
The biggest unknown at this point is where NFTs will go next or, more to the point, what new problems they’ll solve and who’s going to come up with them.
Forbes has compared NFTs to opening Pandora’s box. NFT proponents do not see it slowing down anytime soon, but the question about its long-term value is still worth asking.
Should you Invest in NFTs?
Before you invest in NFTs, you should think about what your goals are and decide based on your answer.
If your goal is solely to make money, NFTs make for a very risky investment. The adage of never investing more than you can afford to lose is especially true for NFTs, due to numerous uncertainties in the market—such as future regulations and consumer perception.
If you don’t have the budget to purchase an NFT from one of the more established artists in the industry, you have no guarantee that your piece will go up in value at all. Taking a gamble on an artist you like is a worthwhile endeavor, but only if you truly believe in their talent and find some value in supporting them.
If you’re okay with taking on some risk, we suggest finding a specific artist that you think has the potential to grow in value over time, much like when people invest in cryptocurrency mining equipment.
It can be risky, but if all goes well you could be looking at massive returns on your investment. From this perspective, NFTs are just another new kind of financial instrument that takes some research to understand and invest in.
When it comes down to it, NFTs are like any other piece of art: they’re something that you can enjoy and appreciate on your terms. If you understand the risks and rewards that come with investing in NFTs and have some spare crypto lying around, we don’t see any reason not to go for it.
Always remember that no one knows for sure whether NFTs will boom or bust. But here’s something we do know: getting on the ground floor of something that could change the world is rarely a bad idea. It will at least be exciting, which is not something you can say about many things, let alone investments.