NFTs (“non-fungible tokens”) are all over the headlines right now, and the definition for an NFT doesn’t do much to clear up confusion about what they are and why people are lining up to buy them.
I thought it would be helpful to look at some recent examples of NFTs, so you can get a feel for the marketplace and learn why people are finding these items so valuable.
What Are NFTs?
NFTs are a special kind of cryptoasset that is part of the Ethereum blockchain. Each NFT represents a real-world object like music, a video, an in-game item, or a virtual baseball trading card. These digital assets are bought and sold online, typically with cryptocurrency.
Things like physical money or bitcoin are “fungible,” meaning they can be exchanged for one another. Non-fungible tokens are unique, and each one has a digital signature that can’t be exchanged. The owner of an NFT can verify ownership using that digital signature.
Top NFT Examples
- Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”
Beeple’s purely NFT digital artwork was the first NFT to be sold at a major auction house. Christie’s auctioned off this asset for an eye-popping $69 million.
- William Shatner’s memorabilia
Actor William Shatner released a collection of NFTs of personal memorabilia from his 60-year career. He sold 125,000 units in 9 minutes, including some of his early headshots, a photo of Shatner hugging Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy, and an X-ray of Shatner’s teeth.
- Grimes WarNymph
Singer-songwriter Grimes made $5.8 million selling a collection of 10 NFTs. The highest-selling asset was a one-a-kind video called “Death of the Old” that sold for $389,000.
- Nyan Cat
A crypto art rendition of the beloved GIF Nyan Cat meme sold for $590,000 in an online auction, in a first foray into NFTs for creator Chris Torres.
"I'm very surprised with the success, but I think I'm most glad knowing that I've basically opened the door to a whole new meme economy in the crypto world," Torres said.
- Glenfiddich whisky
Distillers William Grant and Son recently sold 15 bottles of 46-year-old Glenfiddich whisky for $18,000 a piece, and each one was accompanied by its own NFT artistic impression of the bottle. The NFT allows the owner to show off their purchase and acts as a counterfeit-proof certificate of ownership.
- Jack Dorsey’s first Tweet
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his very first Tweet, from way back on Twitter’s launch day in March 2006. The NFT of the tweet sold for nearly $3 million. Dorsey says the money would be converted to bitcoin, then donated to a charity organization called GiveDirectly.
- Furniture NFTs
Argentinian designer Andrés Reisinger sells furniture NFTs that people can use in open worlds like Decentraland or Minecraft. Reisinger’s most expensive piece sold for a little under $70,000.
- NBA shots sports collectibles
Top Shot is an NFT marketplace for buying, selling, and trading videos of NBA moments – their slogan is “Own the NBA’s Best Plays.” LeBron James dunking against the Houston Rockets is currently their highest-earning asset, selling for $387,000.
- RTFKT’s digital sneakers
Virtual sneakers from RTFKT, made for players’ online gaming avatars, are selling for up to $10,000 a pair. In March 2021, RTFKT collected $3.1 million in just a few minutes by selling a series of sneakers he co-created with another artist named Fewocious.
- Taco Bell GIFs
Fast food giant Taco Bell commissioned a series of GIFs based on dishes from their menu, then sold them online as NFTs. The tokens sold out within minutes of the launch, and Taco Bell donated all the proceeds from the sales to the Taco Bell Foundation, the company’s charity organization.
Want to know more about how emerging tech trends like NFTs are transforming the business world? Check out my books, Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That are Redefining Organizations and Tech Trends In Practice: The 25 Technologies That Are Driving The 4th Industrial Revolution.