In this exciting new world of cryptocurrency, more and more of us are looking to invest and hopefully turn our pennies into pounds. We see the success stories online, hear Elon Musk and others rave about it, and find ourselves wondering, how can I do that?
Alongside cryptocurrency, NFTs have exploded, and we are all after a unique item to turn a profit from. But with these exciting new times comes more and more questions.
We find ourselves lying awake at night wondering what NFTs are, what an example of them are, and how we can turn a profit from these items.
These questions haunt us, with the fear of us being left behind, digital dinosaurs in a begotten era, the fear sets in, and we begin to panic. After all, who wants to be left out of the next best thing?
But thankfully, you don’t need to worry about this anymore. We are here to take on all of your questions and get you the answers you need. We will look at what an NFT is and examples of it so you can better navigate this new world.
Who knows, you could become the next Elon Musk? Just keep reading for all the answers you need!
What is an NFT?
Before we get into examples and all things NFT, let’s take a step back for those who need it. NFT’s are still relatively new, and you might be sitting here wondering, what even is an NFT? Well, let’s find out!
An NFT or non-fungible token is unique and cannot be replaced with something else. This is where it differs from Bitcoin, as if you trade one bitcoin for another, you effectively have the same thing, Bitcoin.
However, these one of a kind trading cards work differently. You are trading one token for another, completely different token.
These digital tokens are all unique and often are irreplaceable. Purchasing an NFT is effectively buying the ownership of digital property, like buying the rights to something.
These tokens are stored on digital ledgers like blockchain and, unlike Bitcoin, are generally not traded with others for different coins. When people purchase an NFT, they tend to keep them, although we see people buying, selling, and collecting NFTs.
NFTs exist in their digital format and come in all shapes and sizes. Technically speaking, any digital file could be sold as an NFT (don’t worry, we have plenty of examples for you later on!).
Compared to other digital trading, you don’t need any coding knowledge to get involved in NFTs! It helps to understand the value of the file you are trying to buy or sell, but again it isn’t entirely necessary! We always recommend doing your research before buying to ensure the price is right and the NFT is what you are after to avoid getting burnt.
What does buying an NFT get me?
You might now be wondering, what exactly do I get when I purchase an NFT? You will get the digital file you have purchased, for example, an image or audio file. You also get the rights to that digital file, allowing you to use and post it online.
But it's not always that straightforward, digital files can be copied, and the extent of your rights to the NFT isn’t always clear. NFTs are designed to be unique and not copied, but we all know how hard it is to stop people on the internet from copying and redistributing files!
In legal terms, the file creator owns the copyright and reproduction rights, not the owner. While you own the file, you cannot legally make copies of the work; only the creator can.
In some cases, we are sure you can reach agreements about this if you want to reproduce the file, but you will want this in a written agreement to avoid violating any copyright laws.
It can be difficult to stop others from taking your file and copying it without consent, and unfortunately, it is something NFT collectors are dealing with. We might see laws come into place about this as the years go on.
As we continue to rely on technology and our lives become more and more digitized, regulations and laws will catch up to ensure our digital property is correctly protected.
Now that we have established what an NFT is and what you get when you make your purchase let’s look at what some examples offer you a better understanding. If you want to hear more about what an NFT is, we have an entire article dedicated to it! Check it out here!
Without further ado, let’s get into those examples that you came here for!
Can physical items be an NFT?
We’ve spoken a lot about NFTs being digital files that we can trade or collect, but can we also class physical items as NFT? Well, it’s a little complicated. Technically, yes, NFTs can be classed as physical items, but they can be problematic when selling them.
Physical items such as paintings and sculptures can be turned into NFTs relatively easily. The artist, gallery, art dealer, or NFT seller will generate a unique code for the item in question. This code is then attributed to the artwork and listed as an NFT on an auction site.
The buyer will be able to see the code, providing authentication for the item, a description, and in some cases, an image of the painting or sculpture. These will give the buyer peace of mind that they are buying a genuine product and the rights to the item.
Once they have made the transaction, the owner can keep the NFT, sell it on as an NFT, or redeem it for the physical item. You can only sell the NFT once; otherwise, you will have hundreds of people claiming ownership over a rare sculpture or painting!
In these cases, customers can be vulnerable to scams, where they think they will be purchasing an item, only to find out hundreds of NFTs for the same item have been made (more on this later!). Conduct your research thoroughly and speak to any potential sellers to ensure that your physical purchasing item through an NFT is genuine.
Selling physical items as NFTs is still in its infancy. While people are doing it, it's not as common as selling digital content as an NFT. We might see more physical items being sold as NFTs as time goes on, but for now, you are more likely to buy and sell digital items only.
Can a painting be an NFT?
As we have already established, digital files of all shapes and sizes, and content can be turned into an NFT. You can turn your digital artwork into NFTs, and these are commonly used.
Digital artwork can be created these days easily on a range of apps, and turning them into NFTs can be a fantastic way for emerging artists to sell their work and build a business.
As the artist would have the copyright and reproduction rights to their artwork, there is nothing to stop them from selling multiple copies of the same digital painting as NFTs.
It’s a great way to build a business, but as NFTs are designed to be unique, you need to be careful when selling multiple copies of the same digital artwork. Think of it like buying a rare Monet; you want to be the only owner, don’t you?
Turning your digital artwork and paintings into an NFT provides the buyer with a unique code that authenticates it.
They know that they aren’t purchasing a reproduced piece, but the original you have poured your heart and soul into. It supports artists from the smallest creator to some of your favorite and well-known artists.
When selling multiple copies of the same artwork as NFTs, you can impact the value of the artwork or painting. Multiple copies of a painting or digital artwork meant to be unique can cause the value to depreciate.
The copies you sell will not be worth as much as the original, meaning you might sell them for less. Those who buy them might also find that when they come to trade or sell the painting on, they cannot get as much money, as technically, it is not a unique painting or piece of digital artwork.
Can I turn a painting into an NFT?
And what about physical paintings? As mentioned earlier, some people are using NFTs on physical objects, and paintings are no exception. By definition, the original painting is a unique piece of art and can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We’ve all seen auctions for rare artwork and been shocked at the cost, and we wonder if we can add an NFT to these and make a pretty penny.
Well, some people are doing exactly that! No law says you can’t place an NFT on a physical painting, but there can be complications along the way.
If you have a physical painting, for example, a Monet, you could turn the painting into a digital copy, turn it into an NFT, and sell it. You still have the original artwork and are selling reproductions of the painting, usually for less than the original would sell for.
Alternatively, you can turn the physical painting into an NFT without any digital reproductions. To do this, you can use sites such as Flipkick, where each physical painting or item of artwork is attributed to a custom programmed chip that will authenticate the item (essentially an NFT).
The NFT will describe the artwork they have purchased and often come authenticated by the art gallery, dealer, or the artist themselves. In some cases, there can often be a photograph or digital reproduction of the painting included too.
You then sell this chip to the buyer to keep or trade as they see fit. The chip makes them the owner of the physical artwork. They can trade the NFT as they would with a normal NFT or redeem it and have the physical artwork delivered to themselves.
These differ from digital-only paintings, as there is a physical painting the buyer also owns and has the rights to. Like digital NFTs, as the owner is not the creator, the artist in question maintains copyright and reproduction rights and, in some cases, royalties when the painting is sold.
We don’t see many physical NFTs attributed to paintings at the moment, but this, of course, is subject to change.
Some art galleries, dealers, and artists are entering the world of NFTs to sell their work and authenticate it. It can help to reduce the risk of the work being reproduced and sold without the artist's consent.
As time goes on and cryptocurrency and NFTs grow in popularity, you can probably expect to see more artists using NFTs as a way to sell their artwork, both digital and physical paintings. If you are purchasing a physical painting with an NFT, you get some peace of mind that the work is authenticated, but always do your research when parting with your physical cash for a digital item!
Can a photo be an NFT?
Compared to paintings, photos these days are almost entirely digital, meaning turning them into an NFT is an easy task. You can turn anything from your family portraits to stunning sunrise shots into an NFT and sell or trade these.
Turning photos into NFTs can be an excellent way for photographers to protect their work and protect themselves from people sharing their work without credit or reproducing it without their permission.
We have all seen photos online distorted or disfigured by a watermark or copyright mark as photographers desperately try to protect their work.
Well, an NFT would do the hard work for them! When someone buys their photograph, they will be provided reassurance that the work is original and authentic and should not get reproduced or used without their permission.
The photographer will still have copyright and reproduction rights, as with other NFTs, and will be able to sell their work with ease.
These photographs can be a wide range of formats, too, meaning photographers don’t need to worry about the quality of their work being compromised when they turn it into an NFT or send it to the buyer!
Commonly, we see digital files saved as JPEG, GIF, and even GIFs! This is by no means an entire list, we see mp3s and other file formats regularly used as an NFT, so you are unlikely to encounter any issues with formatting.
Like physical paintings that we discussed earlier, you could also sell a photograph’s physical copy as an NFT. It can be an excellent way to sell photos that you have already printed, such as an exhibition.
You or the art gallery can create an NFT for the physical photo and place it on an auction site (there are so many these days!) and sell the photograph to the highest bidder.
The owner can then request the physical photograph, keep the NFT, or sell it on as they would with a normal NFT. As we saw with physical paintings, the buyer will be provided with authentication from the artist, gallery, or dealer and a description of the photograph in question.
In some cases, they are also provided with a digital copy of the photograph, but these will still be subject to copyright and reproduction laws.
If you have any questions about these, it's always best to contact the seller directly or through any contact systems put in place by the auction site. They can provide you with information on the specific NFT you are interested in purchasing and might even be willing to negotiate the copyright with you!
Compared to other licensing agreements that photographers and artists can be subject to, selling their work as NFTs allows them to maintain their full copyright ownership of the item usually. It's more protection than what artists are used to and can be a welcome relief to those who have previously battled copyright and reproduction issues with their work.
As with other artworks, the photographer or owner of the photograph can still be entitled to royalties when the photograph is sold. These can vary from auction sites and artists, but it is always worth keeping this in mind when selling your photo NFT.
When selling your photography and artwork digitally, you can tap into an extra commission that artists sometimes go without. It can be a lucrative opportunity to raise their profile as a photographer and some funds for their hard work for those who do well.
Can a video be an NFT?
Yes, videos can also be turned into NFTs! Whether it's on the phone or a professional-grade camera, Videos shot are all stored digitally, making them the perfect option for NFT selling!
Turning videos into NFTs is another fantastic way for digital creators to promote their content and provide them with a way of engaging with and selling to fans. Videos are being sold as NFTs more and more frequently, with some fetching in millions of dollars!
These videos range widely in their content, with people paying for short films, video clips, or edited compilations of other videos. It might be a student selling their projects or professional video editors selling their commissioned pieces as NFTs.
What we don’t often see is people selling physical copies of their videos as NFTs. We all know that DVDs are rarely purchased, and more and more of us are streaming than ever before.
It’s just not worth the cost of burning the video onto a disc. Instead, the file will be sent across when you purchase your video NFT.
The NFT for a video reassures you that you are the only owner of the video and that it is your unique piece of content. These videos that you purchase as an NFT will be prone to similar rules for other artwork.
That’s right; we are talking about copyright and reproduction rights. As with other work, the video creator will have the copyrights and reproduction rights, not the owner.
In some cases, creators will allow certain reproductions of the video or ownership, but this is on a case-by-case basis.
As videos, especially those edited, can be considered artwork and content, the owner of the video is likely to earn royalties too, which is worth considering. It's excellent news for those creators looking to make some extra cash and share their work!
We tend to see videos commentating on or sharing popular content and views or rare footage selling well as an NFT. This type of content seems to fetch the most money and appeals to a range of customers.
When marketing your NFT videos, it's worth considering any gaps in the market and how you could fill them. After all, this is business, and anything you can offer to set you apart from others is sure to attract attention!
Can music be an NFT?
Music, one of the greatest pleasures in life, can also be made into an NFT! Gone are the days where the music industry rinsed artists and creators of their profits; musicians can now monetize their own work and release it straight to their fanbase!
It's an excellent option for emerging artists as well as successful artists. Instead of dealing with middlemen, managers, or fees, artists can sell directly to their fans.
There is a proven track record too, Kings of Leon’s new album, When You See Yourself, made almost 2 million dollars from NFT copies! Impressive, isn’t it?
The artist keeps their copyright and reproduction rights for their music and can sell fans their own copy of the album without incurring other fees. You are more than likely to have the music as a downloadable file rather than a physical CD copy, though.
Like videos that we mentioned earlier, music these days is downloaded and streamed more than it is physically sold. Yes, vinyl is having a revival, but most music is streamed through phones, streaming services, and house speakers, so why not sell them as an NFT?
When purchasing music as an NFT, it's always best to check that the band or artist in question is the one performing the music. Covers are fantastic, but when spending your money, it's the real deal that you want, isn’t it?
Don't be afraid to contact the seller or the site directly if you have any questions; most reputable sellers are always happy to discuss things with you!
Will we see more artists following the trend of Kings of Leon and selling their music this way? Quite possibly! It saves artists from losing money to the music industry and can help build a thriving community of artists and their fans!
It’s also a fantastic option for new and emerging artists to release their music and sell to fans.
Although it’s worth noting that they won’t have the support and marketing, the music industry can provide new artists with, meaning they might need to work harder to make themselves a household name/
Is there a downside to NFTs?
Now, you might be thinking, this all sounds so positive, could there possibly be a downside to NFTs? We have a whole article dedicated to the potentially negative side of NFTs that you can check out here.
But for those of you who want some quick answers before we bid farewell today, we will also cover it quickly here too!
There are a few concerns people have with NFTs, and a lot of these stem from the fact it's still in its infancy. Some concerns are expected, as are teething problems, and we can expect a lot of these to improve as time and technology advance.
So what are some of the concerns people have about NFTs?
The environmental impact is one of the main concerns. The process of purchasing an NFT uses quite a large amount of energy! Most NFTs are purchased with cryptocurrency, which uses enough energy to power a house for an entire day (70kWh!) when used to make transactions.
In terms of our carbon footprints, cryptocurrency is not doing the planet any favors. Elon Musk has recently announced via Twitter that he will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for Tesla vehicles due to the energy it consumes and its impact on the environment.
This announcement caused fears that Bitcoin would plummet in terms of value, leaving the future of cryptocurrency hanging in the balance. Musk has since suggested that he work with various cryptocurrencies to explore more climate-friendly options in mining and using cryptocurrency.
At present, we are unsure what this means, other than we cannot ignore the impact cryptocurrency and using this to purchase NFTs has on the environment.
As time and technology progress, we might see more carbon-neutral solutions emerge, and it's worth keeping an eye out for these! Until that time, we must all continue to be conscious of the amount of energy we use and hold larger companies to account.
Together we can push for active and long-term sustainable change.
Another concern is the safety of users when they are buying and selling NFTs. Nobody wants to have their data hacked and leaked or potentially lose money when they are trying to invest, launch, or grow a business.
The vast majority of these sites are relatively new and can be prone to cyber-attacks.
Be careful when you are on these sites to ensure that your data is safe at all times. Not all sites come with protection or the software in place to prevent your NFTs from being hacked or protect your account details such as bank account numbers or passwords from being leaked to hackers.
We recommend caution when using these sites. It's always worth a quick Google to see if there have been any security breaches or check the most secure NFT trading sites and auction houses to ensure your online safety.
There is the risk of getting scammed with an NFT too. While one of the positives is that anyone can turn anything into an NFT, you run the risk of potentially being scammed. Sellers can present themselves as having a unique piece of art to sell, but in fact, they have nothing!
Or you will see artists selling the same piece of art to hundreds of users, changing the NFT number each time. While you think you are buying a unique piece of art or photograph, what you buy is something hundreds of others have! Hardly what you want when purchasing your unique token.
Unfortunately, parts of these sites aren’t well regulated, meaning hackers and scammers can run amok. Be sure to contact sellers or the site if you have any concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask for authenticity. Most artists will be more than happy to put your minds at ease and provide you with these details.
Remember to check out our more in-depth article about the dangers of NFTs, too, if you want more information. We’ll even place it right here for you!
And just like that, we have reached the end of our NFT journey together! It’s been a long slog, but we have made it to the end! As you can see, the world of NFTs can be a tricky one to navigate, especially as NFTs are still in their infancy, but you did it; well done!
We have explored what an NFT is, providing you with insight into the exciting world of digital trading and countless examples too!
Ranging from artwork to music and videos, you can authenticate virtually anything and turn it into an NFT, allowing you to make money and collect rare and unique pieces in the comfort of your own home!
We know it can be stressful and confusing at times; parting with your money on things that have no physical presence can leave all of us with a lump in our throats, but it doesn’t need to be that way!
Conduct your research, don’t purchase anything you are unsure of, and keep track of every NFT you have purchased or sold, and you will be on the right track! Once you have bought your first NFT, we are sure you will be hooked and trading unique pieces of art and music with the rest of us.
Join us; you won’t be sorry!