In the long history of development, we are all concerned about what "human beings" want, but often ignore the real needs of "things". If we really think in other people's shoes, what kind of desire does each work created by human beings have?
In my opinion, things themselves also have vitality, rather than the monotonous "one", which is simply exchanged or used. At least, it expects to be recognized and worshipped, has more value and can be widely spread, also be considered authentic and unique, not a reproduction or plagiarism. Even it wants to be the master, just like the creators, it hopes to have some sense of control over the master, and hopes to exchange positions with each other, to be able to enter a material world that is self-controllable, free and unconstrained – to become a social subject with subjective initiative, and achieve fair intercommunication, mutual recognition, and mutual management with other things in this world.
This idea may sound surreal, but in the era of Web3, can become a reality. In the present, it is concrete manifestation of NFT, in simple terms is a homogeneous tokens, has many characteristics, such as an inseparable, irreplaceable, unique. We can understand it as a numbered RMB, and there will not be two RMB with the same number. As they say, "there are no two identical leaves in the world". The key innovation is to provide a way to mark the ownership of native digital assets and anchor anything in the real world. Here, the leaf will be a unique digital asset that cannot be copied and will never disappear.
If the leaf in the digital world has "human nature", what does its heart yearn for? It will desire to be worth more, can be praised as the most beautiful leaf in the world, or be collected by more people, and can even numb or confuse its viewers and make everyone a fan of it! This is the charm of NFT, and it is also the mission given to NFT in the future Web3 era!
Because of this, NFT has developed rapidly in recent years, especially in the field of games, music, painting and other works of art, showing unprecedented vitality:
On March 11, 2021, Christie's sold "Every Day and Every Night: The First five Thousand Days" by artist Mike Winkelmann(Beeple) for $69 million. In April of that year, Sotheby's first NFT project sold tens of thousands of copies of "The Fungible" in collaboration with digital artist Pak for $16.8 million. In July, Russia's Herwinter Palace Museum sold five works by George Oni, Leonardo, Kandinsky, Monet and Van Gogh for $440,000 in an NFT that the museum's director excitedly declared would be "an important stage in the development of the relationship between people and money, and between people and things".
In addition, there are also CryptoPunks, NyanCat, NFTs for the 3rd anniversary of the release of "Ultraviolet" by musician 3LAU, and thousands of NFTs on mainstream NFT platforms such as OpenSea and Rarible, all of which have become popular on the market. According to nonFungible, a third-party data agency, NFT transactions reached us $14 billion in 2021 - 1.3 times the global art auction volume of US $10.57 billion in 2019 before the pandemic.
Perhaps many people will wonder why these seemingly ordinary works can obtain such a high price? They are just text, pixels, and yet why they can attract such high attention?
Is it really artistic value? Or it just did a good PR and marketing job?
I think it’s nonsense. Regardless of the factor of early dividends, the better explaination is brought by the new ability of returning things back to value ontology, which is endowed by NFT, a product of Web3 era, to "things", that is - things or content itself can be used as the transmission of value. This has happened before, but only in the early days of the human society.
In the increasingly mature blockchain technology today, decentralization has become the strongest voice of Web3, and the realization of direct transmission of value will undoubtedly be used in the Internet protocol.
However, just as speculative evils appear on the night before every new technology is born, so do NFTs. The cruelest reality at the moment is that most people do not buy NFT for the value or artistic charm of the thing itself. On the contrary, these are a means for them to invest. This is the same as speculating on coins. The biggest vision is to hope that investors who enter the market later will take over the market to obtain high returns. Although NFT seemingly gives creators the freedom to produce content independently, but for now, it is more of a marketing strategy. Maybe it can attract more creators to enter the market, but not necessarily it can stimulate their motivation to create better content. After all, it was the night before dawn, and although we saw the dawn of Web3, the night was extraordinarily long.
It stands out in the following aspects:
First of all, copyright issues. As a "certificate of digital property rights", the current NFT is not necessarily able to fully protect the intellectual property rights of creators. Rampant piracy and fraud are repeatedly prohibited.
As NBC has previously pointed out, the current mainstream NFT exchanges are not perfect at protecting copyrights, and instead push the job of protecting property onto the creators:
"On most NFT platforms to date, including OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, people can create an account and start selling any digital images they want to upload."
"Sellers are not required to provide proof of ownership or use their real names to start an auction, but artists submitting copyright certification must prove that they are the genuine creator of the work."
At the same time, NFT products sold on one trading platform may be "unofficially copied" to another NFT trading platform, resulting in the loss of most ordinary buyers.
Second, the transaction speed is slow and the cost of consensus mechanism algorithm increases. The current blockchain technology based on NFT pursues more decentralization and security at the expense of execution efficiency.
Bitcoin adopts PoW consensus mechanism, which processes 7 transactions per second and confirms each transaction for nearly 1 hour. Such mechanism meets the requirement of sufficient security and de-neutralization. Ethereum can process about 20 transactions per second, and each transaction takes about 4 to 8 minutes to confirm. Visa, a centralized organization, officially disclosed that VisaNet processed a total of 204 billion transactions in 2020, with an average of 6,469 transactions per second, while Alipay processed hundreds of thousands of transactions per second at its peak.
Therefore, centralized organizations also have their advantages. Instead of blindly all-in decentralization, we should choose solutions according to business models and attributes.
In addition, cost is also a point that needs to be improved. Investors will find in the transaction that has an unpredictable transaction fee, called "gasfee", will be incurred at the same time as the transaction. The fees required to mint or purchase NFT will fluctuate based on demand.
Finally, storage is also the most critical problem, if not solved, Web3 is just a sweet dream.
At present, there are only a few NFT artworks like CryptoPunk that achieve reliable decentralized storage of works. Most NFTS circulating on OpenSea require digital art to be stored in OpenSea's centralized storage facility during the minting process. This makes no sense. If this compromise doesn't change, they'll say, "If something is truly decentralized, it becomes very difficult to change, and often remains stuck in time". This will certainly shake and erode the credibility and consensus of the decentralized nature of blockchain in the minds of ordinary users.
I will write a separate article to analyze the Web3 era of decentralized storage exactly how to achieve because this issue is critical and involves a lot of content.
To sum up, the reason why NFT can get so much attention is not only because of the advanced nature of blockchain technology, but more importantly, the concept of changing the roles of people and things, and turning things into subjects to achieve self-awareness is first demonstrated in a specific way. It is not as simple as machine learning like artificial intelligence, but a great transformation that the Web3 era has given to each content to realize the value of direct transmission. I believe this feat will lead to more changes.