What is an NFT?

18 Jun, 2024 · 22 min read

In recent years, the term “NFT” has become a buzzword in the digital and financial world. You might have heard of digital artworks selling for millions of dollars, virtual real estate, or even tweets being auctioned off. All these phenomena are tied to NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens. But what exactly is an NFT? How does it work? And why has it garnered so much attention? In this article, we will delve into the world of NFTs, breaking down their meaning, how they function, and their significance compared to traditional cryptocurrencies. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of what NFTs are and why they matter in today’s digital landscape.

Key Takeaways
  • Unique Digital Assets: NFTs are unique digital tokens that represent ownership of a specific item or piece of content, such as art, music, videos, or virtual real estate.

  • Non-Interchangeable: Unlike cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, NFTs are non-fungible, meaning each token is distinct and cannot be exchanged on a one-to-one basis with another NFT.

  • Blockchain-Based: NFTs are built on blockchain technology, which ensures their authenticity, provenance, and ownership through a secure, decentralized ledger.

  • Wide Applications: NFTs have a wide range of applications, from digital art and collectibles to gaming, virtual worlds, and even real-world assets.

  • Growing Market: The NFT market has grown exponentially, attracting artists, collectors, investors, and enthusiasts looking to explore new forms of digital ownership and value.

What is an NFT (Non-Fungible Token)?

Non-Fungible Tokens, commonly known as NFTs, have become a significant part of the digital economy, sparking interest and curiosity across various industries. These unique digital assets are transforming how we perceive ownership, value, and creativity in the online world. But what exactly is an NFT? To understand their impact and potential, let’s delve into the meaning and functionality of NFTs.

NFT meaning and definition

An NFT, or Non-Fungible Token, is a type of digital asset that represents ownership or proof of authenticity of a unique item or piece of content, stored on a blockchain. The term “non-fungible” refers to the fact that each token is distinct and cannot be replaced or exchanged for another token. This uniqueness sets NFTs apart from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, which are fungible and can be exchanged on a one-to-one basis.

NFTs can represent a variety of digital or physical assets, including but not limited to:

  • Digital art
  • Music and audio files
  • Videos and animations
  • Virtual real estate and game items
  • Domain names
  • Collectibles and memorabilia

The ownership and transaction history of an NFT are recorded on a blockchain, ensuring transparency and security. This allows creators to monetize their digital works in new ways and provides buyers with verifiable proof of ownership.

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How do NFTs work?

NFTs operate on blockchain technology, primarily using the Ethereum blockchain, although many other blockchains like Binance Smart Chain and Tezos also support NFTs. Here’s a simplified explanation of how NFTs work:

  1. Creation: An NFT is created, or “minted,” by a digital artist, creator, or developer. This process involves generating a unique token that contains metadata about the item it represents, such as the creator’s information, a description of the asset, and a link to the digital file.
  2. Ownership: Once minted, the NFT is recorded on the blockchain, establishing the creator’s ownership and the asset’s authenticity. This entry on the blockchain is immutable, meaning it cannot be altered or tampered with.
  3. Marketplace: NFTs can be bought, sold, and traded on various online marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, and Foundation. These platforms facilitate transactions by connecting buyers and sellers and ensuring secure payments.
  4. Transfer: When an NFT is sold, ownership is transferred from the seller to the buyer through a blockchain transaction. This transfer is recorded on the blockchain, updating the ownership history and ensuring the asset’s provenance.
  5. Royalties: Many NFTs include smart contracts that allow creators to earn royalties on future sales. Each time the NFT is resold, a percentage of the sale price is automatically paid to the original creator, providing ongoing income.

The Difference Between Cryptocurrency and NFTs

While both cryptocurrencies and NFTs are built on blockchain technology, they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics:

  1. Fungibility: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are fungible, meaning each unit is identical and can be exchanged for another unit of the same value. NFTs, on the other hand, are non-fungible and unique, with each token representing a specific item or piece of content.
  2. Use Case: Cryptocurrencies are primarily used as digital currencies for transactions, investments, and as a store of value. NFTs represent ownership and authenticity of unique digital or physical assets, enabling new forms of digital ownership and monetization.
  3. Divisibility: Cryptocurrencies can be divided into smaller units (e.g., one Bitcoin can be divided into 100 million satoshis), allowing for fractional ownership. NFTs are indivisible, meaning they cannot be split into smaller parts; ownership is all-or-nothing.
  4. Value: The value of a cryptocurrency is generally determined by market supply and demand, whereas the value of an NFT additionally is often subjective, based on the perceived worth of the underlying asset and its uniqueness.

These differences highlight the unique potential of NFTs to transform ownership and value in the digital age.

History of NFTs

The concept of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has been evolving for several years, with roots tracing back to the early days of blockchain technology. Here’s a brief history of how NFTs came to be and some of the milestones that have shaped their development:

2012: Colored Coins
The idea of NFTs can be traced back to the creation of “Colored Coins” on the Bitcoin blockchain. These were small denominations of Bitcoin (satoshis) that were “colored” to represent different assets, effectively allowing for the creation of unique tokens. However, the Bitcoin blockchain wasn’t designed for this purpose, limiting the potential of Colored Coins.

2014: Counterparty and Rare Pepes
Counterparty, a platform built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, was one of the first to support NFTs. It allowed for the creation and trading of unique digital assets. Rare Pepes, a collection of meme-based digital art, became one of the first widely recognized NFTs on the Counterparty platform.

2017: CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties
The launch of CryptoPunks by Larva Labs marked a significant moment in NFT history. CryptoPunks are 10,000 unique 24×24 pixel art characters, each represented by an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. Later in 2017, CryptoKitties, a blockchain-based virtual game that allowed players to adopt, breed, and trade virtual cats, brought mainstream attention to NFTs. The game’s popularity led to significant congestion on the Ethereum network.

2018: Growth and Mainstream Adoption
Following the success of CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties, numerous NFT projects and platforms emerged. The introduction of ERC-721, a standard for non-fungible tokens on Ethereum, further facilitated the creation and trading of NFTs. By 2020 and 2021, NFTs had exploded into mainstream consciousness, with high-profile sales and celebrity endorsements driving public interest.

The most popular NFTs

Throughout the history of NFTs, certain tokens have stood out, either due to their innovation, cultural impact, or high market value. Here are some of the most notable and popular NFTs that have made headlines and contributed to the NFT boom.

  • CryptoPunks: As one of the first NFT projects, CryptoPunks remain highly valuable and sought after.
  • Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days: A digital artwork by artist Beeple that sold for $69 million at Christie’s auction, making it one of the most expensive NFTs ever sold.
  • Bored Ape Yacht Club: A collection of 10,000 unique Bored Ape NFTs, which have become a status symbol and are owned by various celebrities and influencers.
  • Rare Pepes: A series of digital trading cards featuring the meme character Pepe the Frog, which became one of the earliest examples of NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain, gaining a cult following and significant value.
  • NBA Top Shot: Officially licensed NBA collectibles in the form of digital highlight clips, which have garnered significant attention from sports fans and collectors.
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Buying and Selling NFTs

Whether you’re a collector looking to acquire rare digital artworks or a creator aiming to monetize your creations, understanding the marketplace dynamics is essential. Navigating the various platforms and knowing where to find the best opportunities can significantly enhance your experience and success in the NFT ecosystem

Popular NFT Marketplaces

NFT marketplaces are digital platforms where creators can mint their works as NFTs, and buyers can purchase them. These marketplaces provide the infrastructure needed for trading NFTs, ensuring secure and transparent transactions. Let’s explore some of the most popular NFT marketplaces where you can buy and sell NFTs:

  • OpenSea: One of the largest and most well-known NFT marketplaces, OpenSea supports a wide range of digital assets, including art, domain names, virtual worlds, and more.
  • Rarible: A decentralized marketplace where users can create, buy, and sell NFTs. Rarible also has its own governance token, RARI.
  • Foundation: A platform focused on digital art, Foundation invites artists to mint and auction their works.
  • SuperRare: Another art-focused marketplace, SuperRare emphasizes high-quality, curated digital artworks.
  • NBA Top Shot: Specifically for basketball fans, NBA Top Shot offers officially licensed NBA collectibles in the form of digital highlight clips.
  • Decentraland: A virtual reality platform where users can buy and sell virtual real estate and other digital assets.

How to Create an NFT?

Creating an NFT involves several steps, typically carried out on an NFT marketplace. Here’s a simplified process:

  1. Choose a Blockchain: Most NFTs are created on the Ethereum blockchain, but other options include Binance Smart Chain, Flow, and Tezos.
  2. Set Up a Digital Wallet: You’ll need a digital wallet that supports cryptocurrency transactions and can connect to NFT marketplaces. Examples include MetaMask, Trust Wallet, and Coinbase Wallet.
  3. Fund Your Wallet: Purchase cryptocurrency (usually Ether, ETH) to cover the costs of minting your NFT and paying for transaction fees.
  4. Select an NFT Marketplace: Choose a platform like OpenSea, Rarible, or Foundation to create and list your NFT.
  5. Create Your NFT: Follow the marketplace’s instructions to upload your digital file (art, music, video, etc.) and provide details such as title, description, and metadata.
  6. Mint Your NFT: Minting involves converting your digital file into an NFT on the blockchain. This process usually incurs a fee, known as a “gas fee.”
  7. List Your NFT for Sale: Set your price or put your NFT up for auction on the marketplace.

Risks and Potentials of NFTs

As with any emerging technology, NFTs come with their own set of risks and potentials. Understanding these can help you make informed decisions, whether you’re considering investing in NFTs or creating them.

Pros and Cons of buying an NFT

When deciding whether to invest in NFTs, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Here are some key pros and cons to consider, providing a balanced perspective on the benefits and challenges associated with NFTs.


Ownership and Provenance: NFTs provide verifiable proof of ownership and authenticity, recorded on the blockchain.

Royalties for Creators: Smart contracts can enable creators to earn royalties on secondary sales.

Investment Potential: NFTs can appreciate in value, offering potential returns for collectors and investors.

Supporting Artists: Buying NFTs can directly support artists and creators, providing them with new revenue streams.


Market Volatility: The NFT market is highly speculative and can experience significant price fluctuations.

Lack of Regulation: The NFT space is still largely unregulated, which can pose risks related to fraud and security.

Liquidity Issues: Finding buyers for certain NFTs can be challenging, potentially making it difficult to sell them when desired.

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What are NFTs used for?

NFTs have a wide range of applications that extend beyond digital art and collectibles. Their unique properties make them suitable for various uses, transforming how we perceive and interact with digital assets. Here’s a look at some of the primary fields where NFTs are making a significant impact.

Art and Collections

One of the most well-known uses of NFTs is in the realm of digital art and collectibles. Artists can create unique digital works, mint them as NFTs, and sell them to collectors, ensuring both authenticity and ownership. This has opened up new revenue streams for artists and provided collectors with a secure way to own digital art.

Gaming and Virtual Worlds

NFTs are revolutionizing the gaming industry by allowing players to truly own in-game items, characters, and virtual real estate. These digital assets can be bought, sold, and traded on various marketplaces, creating real-world value for virtual items. Games like Decentraland and Axie Infinity are leading examples of how NFTs are integrated into gaming.

Other Application Fields

Beyond art and gaming, NFTs have potential applications in numerous other fields, including:

  • Music: Musicians can release songs and albums as NFTs, giving fans a unique way to own and support their favorite artists.
  • Virtual Real Estate: Platforms like Decentraland and Voxels (Cryptovoxels) allow users to buy, sell, and develop virtual land parcels.
  • Fashion: Designers can create digital clothing and accessories, which can be bought and worn by avatars in virtual worlds.
  • Sports Memorabilia: NFTs offer a new way to collect and trade sports highlights, player cards, and other memorabilia.
  • Tickets and Access: Event organizers can issue NFT-based tickets, which can prevent fraud and provide additional perks like exclusive content.

Types of NFTs

The world of NFTs is incredibly diverse, encompassing a wide range of digital assets that serve different purposes and industries. From digital art to virtual real estate, NFTs come in various forms, each with its unique characteristics and uses. An overview of the different types of NFTs can be helpful in navigating this dynamic landscape and understanding the range of their applications.

Art NFTs

These are digital artworks minted as NFTs, providing artists with a platform to sell their creations and ensuring buyers own a unique piece of digital art.

Collectible NFTs

These NFTs are similar to traditional collectibles like trading cards, stamps, or coins but exist in digital form. Examples include CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Music NFTs

Musicians can tokenize their tracks or albums, allowing fans to purchase unique copies, often with additional perks like concert tickets or exclusive content.

Gaming NFTs

In-game items, characters, and virtual real estate can be tokenized as NFTs, providing players with true ownership and the ability to trade these assets outside the game.

Virtual Real Estate NFTs

Platforms like Decentraland and Voxels (Cryptovoxels) enable users to buy, sell, and develop virtual land parcels, which can be used for various purposes, from building virtual homes to hosting events.

Utility NFTs

These NFTs provide access to services, memberships, or special privileges. For example, some NFTs might grant entry to exclusive clubs or events.

What is the future of NFTs?

The future of NFTs looks promising, with potential expansions into new industries and applications. As blockchain technology evolves, NFTs could become integral to various aspects of our digital lives. Innovations in interoperability, scalability, and sustainability will likely drive further adoption and integration of NFTs across different sectors.

Mainstream adoption is already underway, with major brands, artists, and companies exploring NFTs to engage with their audiences and offer unique digital experiences. This trend is quite possible to continue, bringing NFTs into more common use in areas such as entertainment, education, and real estate.

However, as NFTs become more prevalent, regulatory frameworks will also evolve to address the unique challenges they present. Issues such as intellectual property rights, consumer protection, and taxation will need to be carefully managed to ensure a fair and secure NFT marketplace. Navigating these regulations will be crucial for the sustainable growth of the NFT ecosystem.

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Taxes and Legal Aspects

Navigating the tax implications and legal aspects of NFTs is crucial for both creators and collectors. As a relatively new concept, regulations around NFTs are still developing. Key considerations include:

  • Taxation: The sale and purchase of NFTs may be subject to capital gains tax. It’s important to understand the tax regulations in your jurisdiction and keep accurate records of transactions. Tools like CoinTracking can help you manage and track your NFT transactions, ensuring you stay compliant with tax obligations.
  • Intellectual Property: NFT creators need to be aware of intellectual property rights, ensuring they have the legal right to tokenize and sell their digital creations.
  • Regulatory Compliance: As the regulatory landscape evolves, staying compliant with local and international laws will be essential to avoid legal complications.

Frequently Asked Questions
about NFT‘s

What does NFT stand for?2024-06-19T09:00:01+01:00

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. “Non-fungible” means that each token is unique and cannot be exchanged for another token of equal value. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, which are fungible and can be traded on a one-to-one basis, NFTs are distinct and represent ownership of a specific digital asset.

Where to buy NFTs?2024-06-19T08:59:37+01:00

NFTs can be purchased on a variety of online marketplaces that facilitate the creation, sale, and trading of these tokens. Some of the most popular NFT marketplaces include OpenSea, Rarible andFoundation.

Where are NFTs used?2024-06-19T08:59:15+01:00

NFTs are used in a variety of fields. In the art world, they allow artists to mint and sell unique digital artworks. In gaming, NFTs enable players to own game items, characters, and virtual real estate. Musicians can release tracks and albums as NFTs. Additionally, NFTs are used in virtual real estate on platforms, in digital fashion, and for collecting sports memorabilia.


NFTs have revolutionized the digital landscape, offering unique ways to own, trade, and monetize digital assets across various fields like art, gaming, and virtual real estate. For those looking to track their NFT investments and manage their portfolios, tools like CoinTracking provide an excellent solution that helps keeping an eye on your NFT and cryptocurrency activities.


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered financial, legal, or investment advice. The NFT market is highly volatile and speculative, and readers should conduct their own research and consult with a professional advisor before making any investment decisions. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, the author and publisher make no guarantees regarding the completeness or reliability of the content. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.

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Luis Schilli: SEO Manager
Content Manager & Crypto Blogger
Crypto trader and blockchain enthusiast with a passion for innovative technologies in the cryptocurrency market.
Crypto trader and blockchain enthusiast with a passion for innovative technologies in the cryptocurrency market.


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