NFTs have become one of the most exciting trends in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. With many existing projects and more in the works, crypto enthusiasts now consider NFTs as potentially rewarding and an attractive asset. These specialized assets have generated a lot of media hype, speculation, and commendable value for the greater crypto and blockchain ecosystem.
However, many people are still unaware of the specifics which make NFTs work such as minting, applications, and their general significance towards the crypto and traditional sectors. People also don’t know what to make of the trend, and whether or not they should participate in the hype. As popular as they are, NFTs suffer from the effects of many widespread myths and misconceptions, making these assets some of the most misunderstood in the finance and blockchain sector.
What are NFTs?
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are digital assets with uniquely verifiable qualities contained in their metadata. These tokens function as a popular and effective way to represent traditional or blockchain assets because they are non-fungible, meaning they cannot be freely interchanged in a one-to-one manner, duplicated, or forged. Once created, NFTs are permanently etched on the blockchain’s public ledger and are visible by all nodes on the blockchain. The unique nature of NFTs affords them significant utility across various sectors.
While the principle behind NFTs has real-world applications, these assets are still in their infancy. Many people, including crypto enthusiasts, are still only aware of the myths and misconceptions created by mainstream media and do not fully understand these assets which can have huge potential. Here are some of the most widespread myths about NFTs and the truths behind them.
Click here for our in-depth explainer on what are NFTs.
Myth #1 – NFTs Are a Kind of Cryptocurrency
The biggest misconception is that NFTs are a kind of cryptocurrency. Although they are both developed on blockchains, the critical difference is their fungibility. Cryptocurrencies are fungible assets traded only by an asset with the same value. For example, Ethereum’s Ether (ETH) token is only tradable if exchanged for other ETH or another cryptocurrency with the same exact value. On the other hand, each NFT has a unique value and cannot be replaced with another. One Ether is always worth the same as any other Ether, but the same cannot be said about NFTs, making them a digital asset, not a currency.
Myth #2 – NFTs Are Harmful to the Environment
Since creators mint NFTs on energy-intensive blockchains, many people think they are harmful to the environment. However, this is not the case. People are now using the more energy-efficient Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain protocol instead of the Proof-of-Work (PoW) protocol, which is more energy-intensive.
Click here to learn more about Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake.
Myth #3 – NFTs Don’t Have Value
Another common misconception about NFTs is that they do not have any value. On the contrary, am NFT derives true and inherent value from the underlying blockchain technology that enables the ownership, transparency, and security of digital assets.
The utility of NFTs transcends digital artwork, avatars, and collectibles. For example, certain NFTs offer holders various uses and benefits ranging from VIP concert passes to private dinner reservations. Additionally, NFTs are applicable in the real estate sector to transfer land deeds or verify ownership.
Myth #4 – NFTs Are Easily Copied and Forged
A common issue with digital collectibles is validating their authenticity and rarity, mainly to prevent the sale of counterfeit or pirated items. This is a problem that blockchain technology quickly solves.
A blockchain maintains a series of public transactions across different computers or nodes. Each node “witnesses” all transactions to ensure that they are all 100% authentic. With NFTs, the blockchain creates a clear chain of ownership making collectors confident that their NFT is the one-and-only “original,” also ensuring that buyers can verify authenticity before exchanging money.
Myth #5 – NFTs Encourage Scams and Money Laundering
Many still commonly believe that blockchain assets are for criminals and tax defaulters. However, cash is still much more utilized for nefarious purposes and crime-driven than cryptocurrencies and NFTs. All transactions on the blockchain are completely transparent and easily trackable if there is a need to detect fraudulent activity. Furthermore, in some cases, it is also possible to recover stolen funds from scams or money laundering.
Myth #6 – Buying an NFT Means Owning the Intellectual Property
This myth is more of a technical misconception. Owning an NFT does not automatically give ownership of the underlying asset or its intellectual property rights. Unless otherwise stated, ownership of the intellectual property stays with the creator of the NFT. Even after the purchase, buyers or collectors do not have the right to use the NFT outside the scope outlined by the creator. Think of it as a collectable book or movie; just because you purchase it doesn’t mean you have the right to reproduce or monetize the intellectual property.
Myth #7 – NFTs Are Just a Fad
Like the internet, many people thought NFTs would not catch on or only find applications for illicit activity. Some also believe that these tokens are just hype and will suddenly disappear, leaving many people holding worthless assets. However, given the many possible use cases, NFTs are unlikely to disappear.
We can see that NFTs are not dead or just a fad from the launch of video game retailer GameStop’s NFT marketplace. GameStop launched its NFT marketplace on 12th July 2022, ahead of its initial anticipated release after hinting at this for over a year. GameStop has in May 2022 already released its digital asset wallet for users to store, send and receive cryptocurrencies and NFTs in anticipation for this marketplace launch.
The launch of GameStop’s NFT marketplace also appears to be a success, with trade volumes exceeding US$1mil (over 1,028 ETH) in 24 hours. Commentators on Twitter also suggest that GameStop’s launch was even more successful than that of the Coinbase NFT marketplace, since GameStop’s trade volume in 24 hours was equivalent to 60% of Coinbase NFT marketplace’s entire lifetime sales.
Conclusion: NFT Myths?
NFTs are here to stay and are slowly gaining massive traction across the crypto space. Although popularity is on the rise as creators are continuously minting new ones every day, crypto enthusiasts worldwide still need to stay informed about utility to better understand the technology, how it works, and how creators can sustain the NFT market well into the future.