Citadel

These guys getting wound up about NFTs didn't quite understand Cash and Cargo.

Rule number 1, whoever's moving cargo is gonna want a bite.

Rule number 2, you better be making people happy at the till.

A lot of people see NFTs as a legitimate way to buy and sell digital artwork using a decentralized marketplace.  What this really means is any time you make a transaction, it is publicly agreed upon in a shared ledger called a blockchain.  Cryptocurrency mining, which is what runs a blockchain, basically means using compute power in the network to keep track of all of the transactions and code that people run, sort of like bidding for work with spot-pricing.

What are you buying?

It can be an interesting piece of art, a video clip, a 3D animation.  Sometimes, it's a very synthetic piece of art; it can even be like if you took a screenshot of this blog post and then, in front of the world, sold the screenshot to someone else.  "Nothing" was created, but it was done permanently and publicly, even if there was no name attached to it.  So it is kind of something.  You could stick any old data in a cryptocurrency transaction and call it an NFT.  As I understand it, there is a degree of intercompatibility on many NFT marketplaces.

One form of artwork that seems to be popular is a sort of digital scrapbooking, where someone will create or purchase something that's like a trophy or a digital Polaroid of something that happened in the world, like a stream clip, a blog post, or a tweet.  So you say, huh, the fact that these NFTs exist – even if they may be appropriating content created by someone else, hosted on some other commercial service – generates buzz in the same way a journalist or a city-guide site would.

How friendly is the fence they build around what you create?

Do they divvy the stakeholders in fairly?  Is their blockchain code free of bugs or exploits?  Some blockchain code is designed so it can be changed.  These are questions you can ask when you evaluate the various marketplaces and digital goods being created.  Do they make it easy for you to withdraw some sort of digital or real currency?  If you're a marketplace, perhaps it is your duty to make your platform fair, transparent, and liquid.  

Say companies like YouTube and Twitch decided they wanted to make their own marketplace for selling digital assets.  Does that preclude other "scrapbook marketplaces" from existing?  Good question.  What they're selling is a screenshot and a timestamp, with a link to the original content.  It's like a teaser, more than it's a stake in the original intellectual property; people hopefully understand this.  Could Twitch actually sell the intellectual property?  They'd still keep their own copy of the video.  This is as media businesses operate currently, but perhaps the pendulum will swing and creators will expect to own the bits and bytes in a real sense.