Why You Should Pay Attention to NFTs

By Enrique Abeyta

Saturday, September 11, 2021
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The desire to accumulate 'things' seems to be inherent to humans...

It ranges across societies – from the little girl who collects Barbie dolls to the billionaire who owns dozens of sports cars.

For some folks, the thrill of searching for and acquiring a specific item is the whole point of the activity. Others seek mementos that stir memories of the past.

Some acquire rarities as investment opportunities, hoping to sell them later for profits over time.

Whatever the intention, humans have been collecting items for thousands of years... and a look at artifacts that have been left behind by civilizations shows that we have always been fascinated by art, precious metals, and even toys.

The will to grow and complete collections of 'stuff,' whatever that may be, is shockingly persistent throughout history...

Over the centuries, most "collectibles" were only available to the super-rich due to the cost of acquiring and keeping their purchases safe and secure.

However, as time passed, what was once only available to kings and emperors was sought out by the middle and upper-middle classes as they slowly began to accumulate more disposable income for the first time.

Sure, the finest art and largest collections of precious metals are still owned by powerful CEOs, hedge fund titans, tech billionaires, and royal families...

And despite the fact that many of these collections can be worth millions or billions of dollars – well beyond the financial capability of 99% of humanity – they remain fascinating to the majority.

Ultimately, this is a study in human psychology...

One of the most common reasons that people collect is to show status. Think about it: People spend far more money than they need to on luxury cars so that they can show other people how wealthy they are. Gaudy jewelry is an even better example. We wear it on our bodies to show others our "value."

The other reason behind collecting – and one that's less explored – is to create a connection to the world around us.

The world can change rapidly, and often in ways we don't understand. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that the change is bad...

Understanding the history of collectibles and the human psychology around why we collect things that we ascribe value to helps us understand why a new form of collectibles could be wildly successful...

I'm talking about non-fungible tokens ('NFTs')...

These assets have been all over financial and social media recently. The idea of a NFT isn't as complicated as the name makes it sounds, but let's break it down...

It starts with the "blockchain" – the technology that underlies cryptocurrency. Put simply, the blockchain allows you to create a single piece of code or an identifier (like a long password) that's completely unique and can't be replicated.

While some skeptics claim it can be hacked (and maybe it can), enough people believe in its security and place great value on the major blockchain technologies.

With bitcoin for instance, each of the roughly 18.8 million bitcoin that have been mined has a unique identifier that can never be replicated. Each bitcoin, though, is essentially given the same "value" and is considered "fungible" for other bitcoin. "Fungible" means mutually interchangeable – it can be replaced with an identical item.

All bitcoins are identical as a store of value, although each of their identifiers is unique.

An NFT relies on a similar concept – something is created with a unique identifier and is then attached to something one-of-a-kind.

Think about how it works with sports cards...

At the most basic level, when you own a baseball card, you own a unique piece of cardboard with a picture and text printed on it. You physically own that single, specific card... and that piece of cardboard is limited in the sense that only so many cards of certain baseball players exist.

But even though you own that card, you don't own the rights to use the picture of the player on it. And you don't the rights to use the team logo, the player's name, or basically any of the text on the card.

People believe the card has value because it's unique and limited in nature.

And via NFTs, digital versions of sports cards already exist – like the NBA's Top Shot.

Now just replace the idea of a physical card with a video clip of an NBA player during a game. Here's what you'll see on the NBA's Top Shot website...

It's a one-of-a-kind digital asset that's limited in how many are produced. And just like with a physical sports card, the buyer of the NFT doesn't own the rights to the video, the team logo, or the player likeness.

The popularity of these digital assets is a product of our evolving world...

And one of the biggest changes in modern history is the migration to living online.

People are spending twice as much time online compared to 10 years ago, fueled by increasing use of tablets and smartphones.

The average time spent online has doubled in the past 10 years, and among 16-to-24-year-olds, that time almost tripled from 12 hours and 24 minutes each week in 2009 to 35 hours and 36 minutes last year.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, millions of people moved increasingly online. And with dramatically more time spent in the digital world, that means digital assets like NFTs have value. You might not ascribe value to NFTs... but enough folks do that the value becomes reality.

This new tech is the next step in blockchain technology, which means big upside ahead...

Essentially, where cryptocurrencies were the first innovation to come out of the blockchain, NFTs are the second.

The concept behind NFTs is more like the Google or Facebook of the blockchain. It's not blockchain's first innovation, but it might be the best one – something completely new, with a clear use case in the real world... whether it's a "certificate of ownership" for a physical item, a ticket to private events, or uses that haven't yet been discovered.

Each time an NFT trades hands, the blockchain automatically records the change of ownership and verifies that it's the original.

That's the key... Without the blockchain involved, nobody would be able to tell if what you own is original.

Right now, I've found the best ways to take advantage of this game-changing tech. In a special presentation, I share all the details... And as a bonus just for watching, you'll even get a free, actionable recommendation. Watch it right here.

Regards,

Enrique Abeyta
September 11, 2021

Whitney Tilson
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About Whitney Tilson

Prior to creating Empire Financial Research, Whitney Tilson founded and ran Kase Capital Management, which managed three value-oriented hedge funds and two mutual funds. Starting out of his bedroom with only $1 million, Tilson grew assets under management to more than $200 million.

Tilson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in government in 1989. After college, he helped Wendy Kopp launch Teach for America and then spent two years as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1994, where he graduated in the top 5% of his class and was named a Baker Scholar.

Click here for the full bio.