NFT stands for non-fungible token. That may sound like an intimidating technical term, but NFTs are just digital certificates of authenticity that prove ownership of a unique digital asset like art, music, collectibles, videos or anything else with blockchain technology.
If you buy a physical painting, you know it’s real because you see the artist’s signature on the canvas. Somebody can photocopy the painting, but they don’t own it — you do. Before NFTs, digital assets were like photocopies:
You can see who posted something, but you can’t see who owns an Instagram post, Pinterest Pin or Reddit meme.
NFTs are like a signature for digital items. Just like physical certificates, they document:
- Who created it
- When it was created
- Who bought it (and when)
- The price(s) it sold for
- Who owns it now
(Technically, NFTs can contain any data the creator wants to include, but the above are most relevant.)
All of this is public via a blockchain, so anyone can trace each of your NFTs from the original creator all the way to your wallet—and verify its authenticity (even the friends who call you crazy for buying a profile picture 😉.)