Art 2: Blockchain Boogaloo: A simple breakdown on the NFT trade and how it relates to Bitcoin

Art 2: Blockchain Boogaloo: A simple breakdown on the NFT trade and how it relates to Bitcoin

Charles "Logan" Rutledge, Writer/editor

Just when most of us have been confused enough about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, a new crypto has recently gained notoriety called  NFT, or Non-Fungible Token

I feel safe to assume you’ve been to a museum at least once in your life, and have looked at a valuable piece of art in a museum at least once. Mind boggling how expensive some pieces can be, but what if I told you that some of the memes you see online are probably just as valuable? In a world of digital currency, it should be no surprise that iconic images have been assigned values in the same way as arts in the physical world. 

As a relative of sorts to cryptocurrency, an NFT, or Non-Fungible Token, is a unit of data on a block chain that certifies a digital asset, in this case a photo or video file, as unique and non interchangeable in the same way as bitcoin; Or In simpler terms, a digital identity number that cannot be altered. People have begun to produce and sell NFT artwork and similar media on mass following several massive NFT trades, such as the first post on the Twitter platform which sold for over 2 million USD, the Nyan Cat gif for around six hundred thousand USD, and other similar trades of iconic and well known images.  Across several sites, people convert their art pieces into NFTs and attempt to sell them, sometimes for only a few dollars, sometimes for enough to buy and pay off an entire house.  

One may think that “owning” an image or video online is redundant, as you can simply save the file to your computer and claim it’s yours, but converting it into an NFT if someone hasn’t already, gives you proof of stake, as the token is registered on the blockchain. The Blockchain is a decentralized database that, by its nature, makes it nearly impossible to edit, hack or cheat it.  The database is essentially a digital ledger of transactions which updates and distributes across the entire blockchain system, making transactions of cryptocurrency and similar data secure and prevents the same token from being used more than once and similar fraud. 

Interestingly, NFTs have existed in some form or another for quite some time, and have been traded in smaller numbers and values since 2015 with the “Rare Pepe” trade.  With fairly humble beginnings, this image based crypto originated as a divergent evolution of one of the internet’s largest memes known as Pepe the Frog, with users trading original pieces of art based on the character on Craigslist. In April of 2015, the Craigslist trade was replaced by one of the first known NFT trades to better protect transactions and support growing interest in the trade. 

To begin trading rare Pepes, you will need to download the entire blockchain ledger to your device, like any other cryptocurrency requires, then you can convert USD into “Pepe cash,” a form of crypto that’s used alongside the rare Pepe NFTs in trade as the image tokens don’t have a true value assigned to them like modern NFT; Currently, the value of one Pepe cash coin is about four percent of one cent. When a rare Pepe is bought, the crypto in the buyer’s virtual wallet will transfer to the receiver, then the image NFT will be transferred to his wallet, ensuring that no one is able to walk away without payment. At one point, a collection of rare Pepe NFTs were bought for over $100,000, making it the largest purchase of NFT of its time. 

The internet is an ever changing thing, and we should expect more innovations like this to happen with future markets.  It’s important to learn about and remember some of the pioneers of new and sought after technologies and techniques, so we may learn to properly use them and even predict possible future tangents of valued online media.