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Three reasons to ride the NFT wave

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Why are so many people captivated by the blockchain and crypto world? It’s an infant compared to the traditional financial world; a little unsteady on its feet, still growing and trying to figure things out. Yet it’s thrilling to watch it evolve, to discover new realms and possibilities it’s crashing into, to witness it disrupt and break down traditional rules and barriers.

To see its potential in making your wildest imaginings and dreams real – virtually real. And recently, more and more people are beginning to take notice of a particularly exciting, relatively new trend: non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The advent of blockchain and cryptocurrencies opened the gates to making value transfer accessible to anyone, anywhere. Then DeFi, decentralized finance, entered the scene in 2020. Suddenly, blockchain technology had expanded to more complex financial use cases, from trading and insurance to savings, loan, and more. Incredibly disruptive and with limitless potential, it’s no wonder DeFi became the biggest craze in 2020.

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But while the large majority kept their eyes on DeFi, a shining dark horse has been growing in the shadows. NFTs are tokenized versions of an asset, digital or otherwise. They represent non-fungible assets like collectibles, artwork or real estate – items in the world that are unique and rare.

This is what makes them special and appealing. Currencies, whether traditional fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or stablecoins, are fungible and more easily interchangeable. They are what they can buy you. A dollar note in your pocket can be exchanged with the one in your mate’s, a bitcoin can be traded with another bitcoin without any loss of value. But NFTs are different, you can’t exchange them the same way you do with fungible assets since no two NFTs share the exact same unique properties and attributes.

NFTs experienced their first rise to fame in 2017, when a game built on the Ethereum blockchain called CryptoKitties incited hundreds to collect, exchange, and even breed virtual cats. No two cats in the game are the same, and the game was appealing enough to move millions of dollars and attract thousands of beginners to the crypto world.

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The NFT marketplace remained stagnant after the CryptoKitties boom but started rising again rapidly in the second half of 2020, with projects reaching record-breaking sales such as the blockchain-based trading card of Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé that sold for $66,850, meanwhile obliterated by the latest high-profile NFT sales worth several million each, such as “Crossroad”, by Beeple.

NFT use cases have also grown to include a variety of assets: virtual collectibles, game items, digital artwork, event tickets, real estate, identity documents, certifications, and more. They’re unlocking new revenue streams and creating opportunities for artists, game designers, musicians, etc. But why bother with NFTs instead of real-world and non-tokenized versions of these unique and rare assets? Three reasons: they can prove authenticity, provide ownership, and are transferable.

1. Authenticity

The standardization of NFTs and the detailed attributes of their smart contracts make each of them uniquely identifiable and authentic. Users know that there is only one of each NFT in existence, so they cannot be duplicated or copied and there’s no chance you’ll end up with a fraudulent item. The transparency of blockchain technology also means that it’s possible to verify and prove authenticity.

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Counterfeiting and fraud is a big problem for many industries such as art or luxury brands, but Cointelegraph points out that “The blockchains powering NFTs clamp down on counterfeiting — and give buyers confidence that they’ll get what they pay for.” Coindesk reports that luxury brand conglomerate LVMH, owner of the iconic Louis Vuitton label, is riding the NFT wave and is preparing to launch a blockchain to prove the authenticity of their luxury goods.

The goal is for products to be given NFTs so authenticity can be verified. It will also be possible to trace an individual handbag’s lifecycle journey from alligator farm to the store it was sold in and its subsequent multiple owners who previously purchased and sold it.

2. Ownership

Blockchain technology enables people to truly start owning what is theirs. It’s worth noting here that NFTs can only be transacted and transferred by the owner(s) of the asset due to their smart contracts and associated rights. This means that even the issuer of the NFT can’t replicate or transfer the NFT without its owner’s permission.

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Gamers have traded virtual currencies and assets for years, from Fortnite’s cosmetic character skins to World of Warcraft’s gold. But in a traditional game, you don’t truly own anything in the virtual world because its economy exists exclusively in a closed marketplace.

You might have spent $60 to own the license of the program, played it for a month, beat the game and then put it away with nothing else to show for it. In other words, you can’t exchange an in-game currency or item with fiat currencies and nor can you bring it with you to another game because you don’t truly own it.

But in the world of blockchain games, you own all the tokenized in-game assets (in the form of NFTs) in your wallet and can trade, battle, fight or race with them across multiple games.

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You own and control all these assets, whether it’s an enchanted sword, skins or currency. In the Futuristic Conference 2020’s panel on The Future of Gaming & Non-Fungible Tokens, Dr. Jesse Reich (CEO Splinterlands) elaborates on how owning your assets is a one-way valve:

“The second you start owning your sword and your armor and your characters and something custom about them, the idea that you’ll then go and play this other game and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and not own any of those things will cease to be appealing.”

Dapper Lab’s Naayem echoes this with the observation that once users have experienced uniqueness, scarcity and ownership in a virtual world, handing over cash in ordinary games completely loses its appeal.

 3. Transferrable

Since NFTs are decentralized, there’s no requirement for a central issuing agency and they’re a lot easier to move around. It allows users to dive into permissionless peer-to-peer interaction, trading, and specialist marketplaces without meddlesome third-parties who could slow down or complicate the process.

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Following the gaming example above, NFTs solve the issue of exclusivity in traditional games as assets can easily be transferred to use between different blockchain games. Since the assets that you’ve built or bought in one game are owned by you rather than the gaming company, they’re transferable between different worlds and can be taken from one game to another. They’re also transferrable in the sense that these tokens enable millions of people to have ready access to them and they can be traded for other cryptocurrencies.

Conclusion

NFTs are exciting and interesting because they’re about more than money. They tap into the human habit of collecting items that trigger passion or entertainment. They’re appealing because they represent special and rare items but mean more because owners know the items are authentic, truly owned by them, and are easily transferable. NFTs have opened a wide range of possibilities for real-world and virtual assets, and have unlocked opportunities for creators and new revenue streams in gaming, art, sports, and technology.

The current crypto market revolves heavily around bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading and mining. But to encourage mass adoption, it needs to move away from this area. NFTs are fueling this as they have the capacity to capture the hearts and minds of individuals and onboard them into the blockchain space in a way that fungible currencies haven’t been able to.

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By introducing new users to the crypto world through channels of entertainment and recreation, it’s easier for beginners to access and understand the value that blockchain technology and decentralization can provide to them. So if you’re not ready to enter the fungible side of the crypto world, how about dipping your toes into NFTs instead? Transfer your passion for digital art, gaming, sports into an avenue that will provide true value.

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The Wolf of Wall Street Joined the NFT Craze, Vowed Never to Leave it

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Jordan Belfort. also known as the Wolf of Wall Street, has joined the NFT craze and doesn’t plan to leave it anytime soon.

The cryptocurrency space has seen numerous prominent individuals who went from criticizing it to joining it years later. Jordan Belfort, who used to bash bitcoin but later predicted it will tap $100,000, is now a keen supporter of the non-fungible token industry.

  • NFTs have garnered the attention of numerous celebrities outside of the cryptocurrency space in the past year.
  • Individuals like Tom Brady, Steph Curry, Eminem, and Paris Hilton, to giant organizations like Marvel Studios, DC, New York Knicks, and more, have all hopped on the bandwagon in some form.
  • The latest to dip his toes is the so-called Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort. He expressed his astonishment at the space in a recent tweet and vowed never to leave it.

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  • This is somewhat intriguing coming from Belfort due to his past. He used every opportunity to lash out at the primary cryptocurrency and the rest of the industry years ago.
  • Back in 2018, when most tokens were in a bear market, and bitcoin had lost more than half of its USD value in months, he tapped to his past and said the BTC landscape reminds him of the days where he and his company used to scam people.
  • Moreover, he urged investors who wanted to get in because “they believed in it” to run away.
  • Earlier this year, though, Belfort changed his tune. He went from predicting that bitcoin will go away to envisioning a price tag of $100,000.
  • He reasoned that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent actions undertaken by world governments completely changed his mind on the asset.
  • Following his latest Tweet, after which he also changed his profile pic to include an NFT, it seems that he is now a believer in non-fungible assets as well.

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Buyers shell out $7M for unseen NFT collection

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Nonfungible token (NFT) investors have poured $7 million into a dutch auction that sold 50 tokens conferring ownership over digital artworks that will not be minted until December.

Tyler Hobbs, the artist behind the popular NFT series Fidenza, will launch 100 one-a-kind digital artworks in his latest collection Incomplete Control at the New York City-based Bright Moments gallery from Dec. 9 to Dec. 13.

On Oct. 22, Hobbs’ fans contributed 1,800 ETH (worth more than $7 million) in exchange for 50 of 100 “Golden Tokens” that grant its holder ownership rights to one of the artworks slated to be minted during the event. Each of the tokens features a number between one and 50 that corresponds to a specific artwork from the collection.

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The Golden Tokens were sold via a dutch auction hosted by Mirror Protocol that lasted just 90 minutes. The tokens were initially priced at 500 ETH each, with the price scheduled to decline by non-linear intervals every 5 minutes until reaching a floor of 5 ETH. All 50 tokens were sold at prices of between 30 Ether (roughly $120,000) and 80 Ether ($320,000) each.

Nonfungible token (NFT) investors have piled $7 million into a dutch auction that sold 50 tokens allowing buyers to mint digital artworks they have not seen.

The remaining Golden Tokens will be randomly distributed to 50 of the wallets that currently hold artworks from Hobbs’ previous series Fidenza or the CryptoCitizens NFT project on Nov. 5. Individuals who receive the tokens will be entitled to purchase an Incomplete Control NFT at for 15 ETH a 50% discount compared to the auction’s final clearing price.

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Hobbs describes his Incomplete Control series as exploring themes of imperfection, and how the digital sphere is able to transcend many of the imperfections present in the physical world. Hobbs’ website states:

“The forces of chaos and entropy give the natural world a certain warmth, and there are patterns and lessons there that we can use. I like to introduce these elements into the digital world, and Incomplete Control continues that work.”

Hobbs’ previous NFT series Fidenza comprises a curated drop of 999 NFTs that comprise unique generative artworks created using the purchaser’s transaction hash as a data input. The collection was sold for more than 37,000 ETH (roughly $400,000) and is being showcased on the generative NFT platform, Art Blocks.

During September, Solana-based NFT project SolBlocks came under fire from Hobbs for using Fidenza’s open-sourced code to generate images for commercial purposes without Hobbs authorization. Hobbs has since rejected SolBlocks’ offer to share profits from their sales with him. 

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NFTs ‘on Bitcoin’: Yes, That’s a Thing!

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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage right now. From CryptoPunks to Bored Apes, millions in crypto are exchanging hands for pixel art, tokenized memes, and crypto collectibles. 

For the most part, the action takes place on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, which has made some hardcore bitcoiners skeptical of this new crypto market segment. However, there is also a market of NFTs secured by the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain.

Read on to learn about what’s happening with Bitcoin-secured NFTs. 

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NFTs are moving beyond Ethereum

Until recently, Ethereum has been the go-to blockchain for minting and trading NFTs. That is changing quickly, however, as Ethereum high gas fees have pushed out many would-be market participants, making NFTs on other chains more attractive. 

The Bitcoin blockchain has also a role to play here.  

While NFTs “on Bitcoin” don’t exist purely on the Bitcoin blockchain (in a way that ERC721 tokens exist on Ethereum), they are secured by the Bitcoin blockchain. The additional tech stack that powers the ability to issue and secure NFTs with Bitcoin is provided by the likes of CounterpartyStacks, and the Liquid Network

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Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most prolific NFT projects secured by Bitcoin.

Rare Pepes & crypto art on Scarce City

Scarce City is a Bitcoin-secured art auction platform that enables artists to sell their artwork for BTC. 

The Scarce City team claims that “Bitcoin’s finest goods should be sold according to the network’s properties of pseudonymous, borderless, permissionless, trust minimized, and verifiable authenticity and supply.” 

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On the auction platform, art is sold via Lightning-powered auctions to “keep auction participants accountable by collateralizing their bids through instant, anonymous, low-fee Lightning Network payments,” the team explains on its website.

In addition to giving artists the ability to sell their physical art in exchange for BTC, the marketplace also sells an NFT series based on the Pepe The Frog internet meme, called the Rare Pepe collection. 

Rare Pepe NFTs are powered by Counterparty – an open-source protocol built on top of the Bitcoin network – that uses the Bitcoin blockchain to record data. 

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By securing NFTs on Bitcoin, these digital collectible cards arguably have a chance of lasting longer than NFTs secured by newer chains that may end up disappearing (or forking) in a few years’ time. For NFT holders, that is something to consider. 

NFT skins for Bitcoin gamers

Bitcoin-secured NFTs are not only limited to artworks and dank memes. They also have applications in the gaming world. For instance, Lightnite, a play-to-earn online game powered by Lightning payments, utilizes Blockstream’s Liquid Network to enable players to purchase and earn in-game items in the form of NFTs. 

The Liquid Network is a Bitcoin sidechain that can facilitate the trading of these and other Bitcoin NFTs. While it was created by Blockstream, it’s currently governed by a federation of parties and operated on an open-source blockchain platform called Elements. 

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In a blog post, Blockstream explains that Lightnite players receive a unique Liquid token in their account every time they purchase or earn a skin. These tokens can then be withdrawn to a personal Blockstream wallet for safekeeping or to trade with other Lightnite players. Should a Lightnite player receive a skin outside of the game, they can deposit the Liquid token in their Lightnite account to receive the skin and deploy it in the game. 

Lightnite skins are not the only NFTs floating around on the Liquid Network. Another notable NFT project on Liquid is Raretoshi. 

Raretoshi is an NFT marketplace that enables artists to sell rare digital art for L-BTC (pegged bitcoin on Liquid), benefiting from lower transaction costs and the ability to get paid in bitcoin. 

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NFTs on Stacks: Web 3.0, built on Bitcoin

Stacks says it is a decentralized, open-source network built on Bitcoin that aims to unleash Bitcoin’s potential as a programmable base layer to build “a better Internet.” That means that developers can mint NFTs and build NFT marketplaces that are secured by the power of the Bitcoin network. 

The Stacks team says that “Bitcoin has all the properties that decentralized apps and smart contracts need: the security, the settlement assurances, the capital, and the network effects.” 

In light of Stacks’ Bitcoin-powered technology stack and the rising popularity of NFTs, it comes as little surprise that the first NFT ventures have already started to emerge on Stacks. 

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StacksArtSTXNFT, and Boom are examples of up-and-coming NFT platforms operating on the Stacks chain. 

Interestingly, Satoshibles – an NFT collection by bitcoiners for bitcoiners that launched on Ethereum – announced that it plans to move to Stacks via an NFT bridge between Ethereum and the Stacks blockchain. 

“Using Satoshi as our mascot, we have always felt that we are the NFT for Bitcoin enthusiasts, however, it’s a pretty hard sell when your project is on Ethereum,” the Satoshibles team admitted. 

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To bring its series of 5,000 algorithmically generated, Satoshi-themed NFTs close to the Bitcoin community, Satoshibles holders will be able to port their NFTs to Bitcoin via Stacks.

As the NFT market continues to grow and more NFTs “powered by Bitcoin” emerge, we could see even more money flowing into non-fungible tokens, especially when collectors can trust that their NFTs are secured by Bitcoin. 

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In a blog post, Blockstream explains that Lightnite players receive a unique Liquid token in their account every time they purchase or earn a skin. These tokens can then be withdrawn to a personal Blockstream wallet for safekeeping or to trade with other Lightnite players. Should a Lightnite player receive a skin outside of the game, they can deposit the Liquid token in their Lightnite account to receive the skin and deploy it in the game. 

Lightnite skins are not the only NFTs floating around on the Liquid Network. Another notable NFT project on Liquid is Raretoshi. 

Raretoshi is an NFT marketplace that enables artists to sell rare digital art for L-BTC (pegged bitcoin on Liquid), benefiting from lower transaction costs and the ability to get paid in bitcoin. 

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NFTs on Stacks: Web 3.0, built on Bitcoin

Stacks says it is a decentralized, open-source network built on Bitcoin that aims to unleash Bitcoin’s potential as a programmable base layer to build “a better Internet.” That means that developers can mint NFTs and build NFT marketplaces that are secured by the power of the Bitcoin network. 

The Stacks team says that “Bitcoin has all the properties that decentralized apps and smart contracts need: the security, the settlement assurances, the capital, and the network effects.” 

In light of Stacks’ Bitcoin-powered technology stack and the rising popularity of NFTs, it comes as little surprise that the first NFT ventures have already started to emerge on Stacks. 

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StacksArtSTXNFT, and Boom are examples of up-and-coming NFT platforms operating on the Stacks chain. 

Interestingly, Satoshibles – an NFT collection by bitcoiners for bitcoiners that launched on Ethereum – announced that it plans to move to Stacks via an NFT bridge between Ethereum and the Stacks blockchain. 

“Using Satoshi as our mascot, we have always felt that we are the NFT for Bitcoin enthusiasts, however, it’s a pretty hard sell when your project is on Ethereum,” the Satoshibles team admitted. 

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To bring its series of 5,000 algorithmically generated, Satoshi-themed NFTs close to the Bitcoin community, Satoshibles holders will be able to port their NFTs to Bitcoin via Stacks.

As the NFT market continues to grow and more NFTs “powered by Bitcoin” emerge, we could see even more money flowing into non-fungible tokens, especially when collectors can trust that their NFTs are secured by Bitcoin. 

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