Published in El Pais, 5 January 2022.
Last week someone sent me a Tik Tok of a video showing an NFT of a simple drawing of a digital blue monkey with red devil horns selling for a whopping $165,000. She was shocked at why such a drawing would sell for so much money and joked that she could draw it herself. Many have asked similar questions after seeing other seemingly basic drawings go for large amounts of money and wonder why? I will try my best to explain it here.
To understand this one must first understand what an NFT is. NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token” that shows proof of ownership on the blockchain, an immutable ledger. This can be applied for lots of things including title deeds, passports and in this case digital artwork. The WHO is even currently working on a vaccine passport on the blockchain that will most likely utilize NFTs, where each NFT represents an individual proof of vaccination.
Next let us look at the monkey being sold for $165,000. That “Monkey” is actually a “Bored Ape” from the Bored Ape Yacht Club. There are 10,000 unique NFTs showing apes in various clothing, accessories, and hair styles. The NFTs are much more than the drawing though, they are proof of membership to their exclusive club. There have been meet-ups around the world exclusive to owners that have include Eminem and Jimmy Fallon.
A more apt comparison would be a ticket to a sporting event with a graphic on the front of the ticket. You did not pay $50 for a piece of paper with a simple graphic, that piece of paper gives you the right to attend the game.
I am not saying the prices being spent are justified, I do not buy and sell NFTs, but if you look past the basic drawings, maybe you will slowly start to understand what the craze is all about.