NFTs are all the rage these days, but there’s still a lot of confusion about how they work, why they’re being sold for so much money, and who can use them.
I invited Gary Vaynerchuk (GaryVee) onto This Week With Sabir to talk about these tokens and clarify some of the burning questions that prospective investors have.
During a 30-minute episode—all of which has been summed up in the guide below—we covered some key points, including
- The Key Players in the NFT Market: Crypto art projects like CryptoPunks and Beeple have made the headlines, but there are many others.
- How to Mint NFTs: You can mint your own NFTs using marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible. It’s not free, but if it’s too expensive, there are cheaper options like Solana.
- Should you Buy NFTs? Although there is a lot of promise in this market, not all NFTs are weighted equally and over 97% of them will fail. They are a good investment, but only if you choose wisely.
- The Future of NFTs: GaryVee believes that NFTs will be used to record everything from marriage certificates to subscription services and could change the world.
- Music, Art, and Film NFTs: It’s not just the art world that could be changed by NFTs, as there is also potential for authors, poets, musicians, filmmakers, and business owners.
If you’re eager to learn more about how NFTs work, what relevance they have to cryptocurrencies and the Ethereum network, and how to find investments that could secure significant growth, check out the following guide and video.
And be sure to read to the end, where you will find GaryVee’s $1.2 million insight on NFTs.
Non-Fungible Token (NFTs) And What They Represent
This Week With Sabir just hit 50 episodes, and to celebrate, I invited the legendary Gary Vaynerchuk for a chat about non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
NFTs are everywhere. Investors love them. Crypto fanatics are obsessed with them, and the media is both confused and fascinated by them.
But what are NFTs, are they a good investment, and what does the future hold for these non-fungible, intangible, crypto-based tokens?
What Is An NFT In Simple Terms?
Firstly, let’s get the basics out of the way.
NFT stands for “non-fungible token”, but as most people have never heard the word “fungible” outside of a crypto context, that probably doesn’t tell you what you want to know.
“Non-fungible” means that it can’t be replaced with something else; it can’t be copied. A fungible token would be something like bitcoin, as you can swap it for another bitcoin and end up with exactly the same thing.
A plot of land would be non-fungible, as it has unique qualities that are not directly related to other plots of land. The same is true for gemstones, baseball cards, and works of art.
How Do NFTs Work?
NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. They can be any form of media, such as illustrations and avatars (also known as crypto art, including the popular CryptoPunks series), and music. These are then sold on marketplaces like Open Sea and Rarible, and all purchases are logged in the blockchain.
It’s a virtual baseball card; a unique collectible that will increase or decrease in value based on market demand.
Many supporters see NFTs as a new kind of fine art collecting. These tokens appeal to collectors, digital art fans, and investors.
What Is The Point Of Owning NFTs?
NFT critics often argue against the value of these tokens, claiming that they can also “own” them just by “right-clicking and pressing ‘save’”. In the NFT community, these critics are often referred to pejoratively as “right-clickers”.
It’s true that someone else can save that image to their computer, but it’s also true that I can find an image of the Mona Lisa online and print it out. Does that mean that I own the Mona Lisa?
Of course not.
As GaryVee noted during our discussion, the issue is that people are seeing NFTs through an internet lens and not a blockchain lens.
Copyright issues are rampant on the internet, and it can be difficult to know who owns what. In the early days, copyright infringement was commonplace, and rights holders were powerless to stop it. Even today, you still have companies stealing from artists and individuals stealing from companies with only flawed systems and high-price law firms capable of stopping them.
But there is no ambiguity with NFTs as the blockchain serves as a ledger. You can right-click and “steal” it all you want, but you’re not taking anything away from the owner in the same way that illegally streaming Star Wars doesn’t mean you’re now part of the Disney Corporation.
The NFT will still be owned by that individual. It will still be unique and there remains just one of them.
They’re not buying the right to enjoy an image. They’re buying the right to own it.
Should I Invest In NFTs?
Asking whether you should invest in NFTs is like asking whether you should invest in action figures or first edition books.
Sure, there are some great action figures out there, but if you drop $10,000 on buying every toy in the store and then sit on them for 20 years, you’re going to be very disappointed.
For every Thundercat and Transformer, there are hundreds of flops. For every Star Wars collectible that would later be worth thousands of dollars, there were tons of worthless junk that no one cared about.
Presently, NFT supply is outstripping demand. Everyone is trying to muscle in on the trend and for every NFT that becomes a valuable collectible, there will be thousands of scams and thousands more that just fade into the digital ether.
So, while NFTs can be a sound investment, simply throwing your money at the latest influencer-advertised scheme won’t work.
What Is The Future Of NFT?
GaryVee believes that everything—including the deeds to your house and your marriage certificate—will be moved to the blockchain within a few decades.
That’s the potential that NFTs have, and while there are no guarantees, it’s certainly conceivable. GaryVee has proven to be very adept at spotting trends early and backing those trends when everyone else is skeptical, so the precedent is also there.
Gary believes that NFTs will begin to play a key role in subscription services and will also be used at sporting events and concerts. They will become keys used to unlock events and content, and not just crypto art purchased as an investment.
The key to this progression is that NFTs are very cheap to produce and can be used by every brand, artist, and influencer.
There are going to be a lot of terrible NFTs out there and we’ll see a huge number of failures. But there will be some gems along the way, and they could open the doors for new opportunities.
Is There An Opportunity For Artists?
If you’re a digital artist, NFTs will no doubt be on your radar.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice for anyone in this position is “don’t say no”.
Artists often see it as a threat and not an opportunity, and their lack of knowledge scares them away.
NFTs are not something that will go away just because you want them to. Traditional art will remain and there will always be opportunities for painters, illustrators, and graphic designers, but the real opportunity is in NFTs.
As a digital artist, you can’t afford to overlook the potential in these tokens.
GaryVee recommends spending about 30 to 40 hours immersing yourself in the world of NFTs to truly understand what they are about. Not only will you acquire the knowledge needed to prepare and sell your work, but the more that you learn, the more comfortable you’ll be about the entire process.
Everything can feel a little strange, awkward, and even scary when you know nothing about it. And for someone who’s used to creating physical or digital artwork and selling directly to clients, NFTs will seem like an alien concept.
As you learn about the ideas and processes behind NFTs and cryptocurrencies, the darkness will clear, and everything will start to make sense.
I recommend checking out some of the most successful NFT projects. Don’t try to replicate them directly, as countless artists have already tried and failed with that approach, but use their designs and stories as inspiration for your own projects:
- CryptoPunks: A single collection (featuring an alien wearing a mask) sold for $7.5 million.
- The First Tweet: The first-ever tweet posted on Twitter sold for $2.9 million.
- Ricky and Morty NFT: A collection based on the show earned a 7-figure sum that was eventually given to an LA homeless charity.
- Hashmasks: A collection of thousands of digital portraits from over 70 artists that sold for $16 million.
- Forever Rose: The $1 million sale of Forever Rose, a digital artwork of a rose, became the most expensive piece of NFT art back in 2018.
- Replicator: This digital artwork of a photocopier is designed to generate new NFTs every 28 days, all of which have potential resale value. It sold for $4.1 million in April 2021.
- Beeple, Everydays: This is the artwork that everyone talks about when NFTs are referenced. Everydays is a collection of digital artworks that sold at Christie’s for $69 million in March 2021.
Is There An Opportunity For Authors?
NFTs are mainly focused on crypto art right now, but there’s a potential for all kinds of media, including publishing.
We have already seen the self-publishing wave and that changed the industry forever, with unpublished authors given their time in the spotlight and established authors afforded more control and a greater share of the royalties. In the future, we could see a wave of NFT publishing.
It remains to be seen whether or not that age will come and what it will mean for the publishing and self-publishing industries, but the pieces are certainly there and they could start coming together in the next few years.
What Should People And Businesses Do With NFTs?
Every single person should buy an NFT and mint one.
That was GaryVee’s advice when I asked him what businesses and everyday internet users should be doing with regards to NFT.
He described it as sampling the industry, not unlike signing up for an internet service provider for the first time back in the day.
And if you can’t afford to buy or mint an NFT using Ethereum, there are other options available, including Solana.
There are many ways to mint NFTs for less, and when you try it for yourself, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Expert Insight Into NFTs
I always finish my show by asking my guests for their “$100,000 insight”.
These insights are invaluable to entrepreneurs and professionals and could literally lead to 6- and 7-figure growth.
But for Gary Vaynerchuk, I wanted to raise the bar a little and so I asked him for his 20 BTC or $1.2 million advice.
His advice was to “stop going on the no-train” and “fall in love with maybe”.
If you’re one of the people who have rejected NFTs because you can just “right-click” and save, then it’s time to change your mindset and start thinking about the “maybe”.
Some people rejected the iPhone when it was first released as they missed physical buttons. Others considered the iPad to be just a “comically giant iPhone” and then there are those who rejected streaming, MP3s, and pretty much every other game-changing tech.
NFTs are here to stay, and if you don’t want to miss an opportunity, you should start learning about them and swapping that “no” for a “maybe”.
Quick Questions And Answers About NFTs
If you still have a few questions about NFTs, crypto art, cryptocurrencies, Ethereum, and how all of these things blend together, the following FAQs may help.
Is NFT A Cryptocurrency?
NFTs are virtual assets, not cryptocurrencies. Each NFT is completely unique and exists as part of the Ethereum blockchain.
Is Bitcoin An NFT?
Bitcoin is not an NFT. In fact, it is a fungible token in that each bitcoin is not one-of-a-kind.
How Do I Create An NFT?
To turn something into an NFT, simply use a site like Rarible. The process is very easy and pretty self-explanatory. However, before you start any serious selling or buying, I recommend checking out a few more videos and guides on the subject just to make sure you have a firm grasp of the technology.
Can Anyone Create An NFT?
If you own the property rights to the media that you’re selling, you can create an NFT. You should never try to sell something for which you are not the rights holder. NFTs do not give you a free pass to bypass copyright laws.
What Is An NFT Company?
An NFT company is simply a brand that is invested in the NFT space, whether as a marketplace, creator, or an investment fund. Some of the biggest companies in this space include:
- OpenSea: A leader in the NFT space, OpenSea is a marketplace that supports many different tokens.
- Larva Labs: The creators behind the famous CryptoPunks project, which eventually sold for millions of dollars after initially being given away for free.
- Rarible: A large NFT marketplace.
- Nifty Gateway: The platform through which the Beeple assets were sold, as well as NFTs from Grimes.
What Are NFTs Used For?
NFTs are tokenized forms of real-world digital assets. They are a representation of that asset and while the asset can be used and replicated freely, the NFT will always retain a single unique code and cannot be replicated by anyone or owned by more than one user.
Are NFTs A Good Investment?
It depends. As noted in the guide above, NFTs is a pretty broad category and as with any potentially lucrative industry, there are a lot of low-quality products.
You probably know that comic books can sell for thousands of dollars and that some issues have sold for millions. Does that make all comic books a good investment or just those early editions of Superman and Batman?
The same is true for all collectibles. For every rare first edition Harry Potter, unopened Darth Vader, and pristine Transformer there are thousands more that don’t even retain their value, let alone go up in price.
If you decide to invest in NFTs, you need to do your research. And as GaryVee noted during our discussion, you shouldn’t let the big brands fool you into making a ridiculous investment. Just because there is a Star Wars-branded NFT doesn’t mean it will be the next big thing. Oftentimes, the ones that blow up the most are the ones that come out of nowhere and are then picked up by influencers and enthusiasts.
If you keep your ear to the ground, you’ll have a greater chance of spotting these investment opportunities and making a sound decision. If you simply throw your money at the first NFT you see, your odds of getting a return are incredibly slim.
What Does NFT Stand For?
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. It is also an abbreviation used in other areas, such as “No Further Text”, “Not For Tourists”, and “Not For Trade”. In a general context, however, it nearly always refers to non-fungible tokens, especially now that these tokens are so widespread.
Does It Cost Money To Sell An NFT?
Yes, there are mining, listing, and auction fees associated with the selling of an NFT. The actual amount you will pay depends on the site/service, the asset itself, and the complexity of the transaction.
Gary Vaynerchuk Bio
Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and serves as the Chairman of VaynerX, the CEO of VaynerMedia, and the Creator & CEO of VeeFriends. Gary is considered one of the leading global minds on what’s next in culture, relevance and the internet. Known as “GaryVee” he is described as one of the most forward thinkers in business – he acutely recognizes trends and patterns early to help others understand how these shifts impact markets and consumer behavior.
Whether its emerging artists, esports, NFT investing or digital communications, Gary understands how to bring brand relevance to the forefront. He is a prolific angel investor with early investments in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo, Snapchat, Coinbase and Uber.
Gary is an entrepreneur at heart—he builds businesses. Today, he helps Fortune 1000 brands leverage consumer attention through his full-service advertising agency, VaynerMedia which has offices in NY, LA, London, LATAM, and Singapore.
VaynerMedia is part of the VaynerX holding company which also includes VaynerProductions, VaynerNFT, Gallery Media Group, The Sasha Group, Tracer, VaynerSpeakers, VaynerTalent and VaynerCommerce. Gary is also the Co-Founder of VaynerSports, Resy and Empathy Wines. Gary guided both Resy and Empathy to successful exits — both were sold respectively to American Express and Constellation Brands. He’s also a Board Member at Candy Digital, Co-Founder of VCR Group, Co-Founder of ArtOfficial, and Creator & CEO of VeeFriends. Gary was recently named to the Fortune list of the Top 50 Influential people in the NFT industry.