NFT, the initials of “Non Fungible Token”. You may have heard of this buzzy little acronym before. But concretely, what is this market that is slowly starting to turn heads around the world? Explanations.
If crypto-currencies are now well established in the Belgian landscape, here is a new digital baby to tame. Appearing in 2017 on the Ethereum platform, which is a decentralized exchange protocol allowing users to create smart contracts, NFTs only became popular very recently. So what is it really?
As expert Brice Le Blévennec from Emakina explains, NFTs are digital certificates of ownership of a file. This can act as property of a digital artwork but also of many other things like luxury bags or diamonds. “These are certificates of ownership that identify an address and a wallet, because we collect these NFTs in what is called a wallet (“wallet”). One of the best known is called Coinbase, and recently went public.“.
“I buy 10 a day, it’s very addictive!”
Christophe, 42 years old and from Gosselies, activated the orange Alert us button to tell us about his new activity, which started at the end of last year. “I am an NFT investor and in the cryptocurrency world since November 2021“, he specifies.
For him, the world is changing and it is useful to be interested in these novelties. Christophe claims to be one of the biggest NFT collectors in Belgium: he has some 700 pieces in his collection. “I buy 10 a day! I won’t say it’s like a drug, but it’s addictive, I spend a lot of time on NFT platforms, whether it’s early in the morning or late at night… and sometimes even in the middle of the night. It’s an investment I’m making for the future, for my wife and children.” he says.
Christian, a resident of Genappe, is a radiologist but also an artist who recently started producing NFT. In the art world for more than 30 years, he too has looked into this digital novelty. “Christophe sent me a message on Instagram because he wanted to set up a project together. I had known this world for a short time and so I responded favorably. It also allows me to expand my clientele and diversify my art. The goal of an artist remains that as many people as possible can see his work, whether real or virtual!
Combining radiology and art, is it possible? According to Christian, it can even put one of his strengths. Thanks to medical imaging, he can offer unique works, such as an NFT of his skull, in medical imaging.
For the average person, the advantage of owning NFTs is twofold. “The main interest is speculation. You can buy an NFT for not much and sometimes be able to resell it 100 times more the same day. It doesn’t always work, of course, but it’s worth looking into.“, explains Brice Le Blévennec. Secondly, having NFTs in your possession can be a marker of wealth, taste, style. Some buyers post them on the networks, or display them in a digital frame.
For our collector, the benefit will come later. “It already pays a little, but it will bring much more in the future, that’s for sure“. Convinced of the benefits of investing in NFTs as soon as possible, he encourages anyone to get started, regardless of the budget they have: “Don’t watch the train go by, but get inside! It’s internet 3.0, people who were hesitant to buy cryptocurrency a few years ago are biting their fingers now. It will be the same for NFTs! I’m even trying to put my son’s foot in the stirrup.”
Christophe, however, wants to remember one important thing: you have to invest what you can afford to invest, it would not be smart to put yourself in the red to acquire NFTs. “I invested money I didn’t need, money I could afford to spend, it’s worth pointing out.”
In December 2021, a work created by artist Pak, named “The Merge” was sold for the tidy sum of $91.8 million. Like a huge puzzle, this achievement is divided into more than 250,000 digital units which are shared between 29,000 buyers.
A still poor market in Belgium
Rome was not created in a day, the same goes for the NFT market and the expansion of it in our country. If a demand exists, it still remains, for the moment, quite limited. Christophe and Christian also explain that since the market is global, most of the business they do is done with foreign buyers.
“In Belgium, there are people who are into it, but it’s not yet huge either. It’s still a small market, and users go abroad more often. Currently there are few local activities and artists, but that could change soon enough“, believes Brice Le Blévennec.