Malaysian Innovators

Basic: What is a NFT?

An illustration of a NFT

Recently, the media has seemed to catch on the new invention—NFTs. NFT is a unique, non-interchangeable digital asset basked by blockchain ledger technology. Non fungible characteristic of these tokens or assets refers to the unique and non-replicable nature of this digital-crypto assets, compared to, for example a Bitcoin or a US$1 bill, where each unit of the asset is interchangeable and is the same.

Examples of NFTs range widely from digital art, domain names, games, and collectibles to are audio and video recordings. NFTs are created    (i.e., minted) on a blockchain, such as Ethereum, which authenticates the ownership and the NFT asset (i.e., where it comes from, where it originates, and who is the owner).

In the physical world, a tangible example would be Mona Lisa’s painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. Although there are many replicas, there is one original Mona Lisa in the world, and this piece of art is unique, creative and indivisible.

Similarly, NFTs are creative works of art that, for the most part, do not allow for fractional ownership. Some NFTs can be very expensive, with a price tag of millions of dollars.  

Some trace the origins of the NFTs back to 2012-2013 when colored, small denominations of bitcoins were created. These coins represent different assets with different uses, ranging from collectibles to access tokens. These colored coins were “unique and identifiable from regular bitcoin transactions. “

In 2014, Robert Dermody, Adam Krellenstein, and Evan Wagner founded a peer-to-peer financial platform, Counterparty, which was built on top of the bitcoin blockchain. In 2015 and onward, trading cards and memes became prevalent. Various video games popularized the creation of digital assets to be stored on blockchain technology; these included swords, shields, and even digital parcels of real estate.  Crypto kitties became famous in 2017, launched by the Vancouver-based company Axion Zen.

In 2021, NFTs have gained more momentum and have started to permeate the mainstream economy in some unexpected ways. The NFTs are poised to create a brand-new aspect of the  digital.        

In fact, we are launching our own NFTs based on a series of paintings by a famous Sabah artist, Dato’ Sri Wilson Yong, who called himself the Borneo Art Creator.    

Please note this article also appeared on my special blog,