What are NFTs, this new digital passion?

The first message from the social network written by one of the creators of Twitter, Jack Dorsey? sold! And to $ 2.9 million. A work of art made of pixels that has never been exhibited or printed? Sold for over $ 69 million. The very first SMS in the world, fifteen characters for one “Merry Christmas” ? Minimum pre-auction estimate: $ 110,000.

But how do you ensure that the buyer becomes the owner of these digital objects? The purchase is made through an NFT for “non-fungible token”, or “non-fungible token”. Specifically, it is a deed that can be attached to any digital object. It is also digital, but supposedly tamper-proof.

The original and the copy

This token will confirm that this tweet, which can be seen by everyone, belongs to you (and yours alone!), The same for this artwork, which may have been the subject of thousands of screenshots, or even this message that appears on this old cell phone. The computer file and all its lines of code are yours: you own the original painting by the Grand Master; the others, a simple copy, a replacement.

Technology takes care of that. It’s blockchain. If NFT is a digital title, blockchain acts as a notary who records all transactions in its ledger. Except that here, of course, the operation is computer-controlled: dozens of computers will perform authentication calculations.

Formidable financial investments

NFT therefore compiles a series of data verified in this way: the owner, the date of creation of the digital object, its creator, the number of transactions completed … It is impossible in these circumstances to claim a counterfeit or a copy: by sale, the right to intellectual property rights comes into play.

→ READ GEN. Art, luxury and video games, NFT “digital tokens” are popular

But why own these digital objects? Jack Dorsey’s tweet is to the internet what Napoleon’s original correspondence is to a history buff. Above all, NFTs have proven to be formidable financial investments. The boom in this market, during the progress of art, makes it possible to become convinced of this.

“An explosion”

“With the pandemic and the end of exhibitions, many artists have created digital works, coils Mathilde Le Roy, CEO of KAZoART, the European leader in online art sales. At the same time, investors who had become very rich thanks to cryptocurrencies were looking for new financial investments. » Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies. Transactions in these currencies are validated in blockchain. Buying NFTs is thus part of a good circle around this technology.

“In March 2021, Christie’s, one of the largest auction houses in the world, sold a work of art in the form of an NFT for over $ 69 million, continues Mathilde Le Roy. This caused an explosion. » Sotheby’s, the second largest auction house, organized a similar rigid sale.

A market for more than $ 10 billion

“From then on, NFTs were only bought by a few very sophisticated investors in the cryptocurrency world: traditional investors started buying them”, confirms Stanislas Barthelemi, cryptocurrency and blockchain consultant at consulting firm KPMG.

NFT’s main transaction site, called OpenSea, estimates that the global market has grown from a few tens of millions of dollars at the beginning of the year to more than $ 10 billion in November.

Everyone wants their token

NFTs are now coming out of the art market. The young French shooter Sorare has made it his business. With 680 million euros, it completed in October the largest fundraising in the history of French Tech, this brand, which brings together innovative companies in the country. It offers to collect virtual cards, the muse of football players: the value of the cards increases according to the performance of the latter.

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