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A brief history of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Can NFTs change business, transfer ownership, and revolutionize financial markets? I don’t fucking know. I can tell you a little about the history of NFTs, and we can see who’s right or wrong in the end. Surprisingly you’ll come to find out that they have been around a lot longer than you thought and intertwined in our lives in more ways than one. Shall we?

This is a summary of a much more in-depth article found here. Otherwise, here’s NFTs in a nutshell. It’s a little bonkers in Yonkers, if you ask me.

Simple explainer. NFT 101.

Early on, humans need a way to communicate. Depictions and mono-alphabets were ways that early humans met that need. Out of that need was a need for privacy. Hence the birth of cryptography. Encryption was the movement of letters based on a set standard in its simplest form. Today, we encounter the hash code when interacting with tokens and wallets.

Cryptography’s primary purpose was to deliver on the fundamentals of confidentiality, data integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation. There are a variety of cryptographic solutions that offer different levels of security and encryption. A big part of cryptocurrencies and the underlying concepts that NFTs are attached too.

I bet you didn’t know that back in 1993, that an NFT was born. I also bet you didn’t realize that those ideas would be essential aspects of what we know of today. Initially a joke, the first-ever explanation conveyed digital signatures, rarity, and trading concepts. Built on somewhat of a crypto trading card that would be scarce and exclusive, Hal Finney paved the way for modern-day applications.

NFTs didn’t get mentioned again, however, at least the idea, until 2012. Brought forth by Yoni Assia, it was known as colored coins. This time attached to real-world examples like as real estate, commodities, and bonds. They even allowed for the storage of small amounts of metadata. Sound familiar?

Digital art and gaming have always been connected to NFTs. Initially, a monetized graphics system sparked today’s modern market. Born from the minds of two men, McCoy and Dash, they dreamed of a world where artists could get paid for their work. But also control provenance, ownership, distribution, and control too.

On May 2, 2014, “Quantum” was “minted,” and an NFT was created. 

The 2015 Devcon 1 conference made another mark on NFT history. Etheria was launched to the public as a game that let you buy, sell, and build on digital land. Unfortunately, nothing happened, and all the game heard was crickets. Fast forward to today, the entire map is sold out. 

One of the most popularly known collections, CryptoPunks, is thought of as the first-ever actual NFT. It was the first on the Ethereum network and an experiment with randomizers. Initially it was only sold for the price of gas and went on to earn millions.

CryptoKitties was another collection that came out in 2017. Letting users breed cats and produce new cats with combined attributes. Genesis collections were launched via a Dutch auction. A crucial moment for pricing mechanisms. They’re also credited with clever releases and an on-chain breeding algorithm.

Keeping speed from early projects 2018 saw massive growth with over 100 projects in the NFT ecosystem. The emergence of Layer 2 games began. Development was easy. Advancements garnered attention from venture capital. Enthusiasts could create museums, galleries, towers with top NFT projects, and in-world stores. 

There was no resurgence until around 2019-2020. NFTs were described as a new asset class. Projects like Axie Infinity, Neon District, and NonFungible came to life. Artists began experimenting with technology on a larger scale. Marketplaces and platforms emerged. Minting became more accessible, and more people flocked to the space.

Use cases grew beyond collectibles and digital art. Companies saw value in the underlying technology. One of the most significant is gaming. In-game assets have existed for a long time. Still, games themselves were beginning to form around NFTs, and “Gamefi” was coined. Big-name brands were even taking huge bets.

The astonishing growth in 2021 has been roughly $2.5 billion. 

When you think about it, NFTs have been around for a very long time. We just haven’t understood them. The airline points we’ve collected are NFTs. Remember, it’s simply a type of technology. Digital art is only data attached to a use case. There’s no telling if we’re going to make it or not, there is one thing that’s for sure NFTs have come a long way from their early inception.

For an in-depth look at the history of NFTs, read the full article.

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