In this article, we take an in-depth look at the transformations that non-fungible tokens – better known as NFTs – have undergone within the brief timeline of their existence and provide some insight into ways they can help usher in a new era of internet — one which leaves the user in control of all data they generate online.
A Brief History of NFTs
The idea of NFTs started with the premise that certain characteristics of physical items could be recreated digitally, thanks to the fundamental properties of the blockchain. The first example of this, predating the term ‘NFT,’ can be found with the Rare Pepes, a collection of ‘digital trading cards’ stored via the Counterparty protocol on the Bitcoin blockchain.
The next year, in 2017, CryptoKitties took the world by storm, with the digital cats selling for thousands of dollars. CryptoKitties were so popular at one point that they accounted for the majority of transactions on the Ethereum network.
It wasn’t until mid-2020 or so until NFTs really began to find a footing outside of the usual bubble of crypto collectors, with major brands like the NBA, Marvel and Topps expanding into the space and attracting a new audience to the blockchain.
A digital art movement quickly sprung up around NFT markets like OpenSea, Rarible, and SuperRare, in which anyone could showcase their artwork and sell it to the highest bidder. This movement culminated in the March 2021 NFT sale by the artist Beeple…