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NFTs Are the Victim of Non-Friendly Terminology

The fast-evolving NFT industry is a myriad of new jargon, processes and terminology that perhaps could have been more user-friendly.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

"Burning," "gas" and "minting and staking" sound like phrases from the script of a horror movie, not that of bleeding-edge technologies and opportunities that could be changing our world for the better.

NFTs are an acronym for non-fungible tokens, a current market craze that has been fast-evolving over recent months. In essence, NFTs are group of digital contracts linked to digital art or another type of electronic creation or asset. In short, anyone can create an NFT, claim the copyright, stamp it in time and market it for sale using an NFT platform and smart contract. NFTs can even take the form of the lease on a house or physical objects in the real world.

"The NFT space generated $10.67 billion in trading volume during Q3, an increase of 704% from the previous quarter," according to a report by analytics platform DappRadar.

Related: How NFTs are Ushering in the True Age of the Digital Creator

In my humble, yet experienced opinion, the shorthand "NFT" isn't 100% understandable, translatable or appealing at first contact. The same goes for much of the associated terminology. However, once this small barrier is overcome, it really is quite straightforward to understand.

When creating and publishing an NFT, the user "mints" an original creation in time (similar to a patent) and then sells it, gifts it or trades it. The creation is intrinctly linked to the creator forever, along with their comission on any future sale. So, if the idea is appealing to a mass of creatives, why didn’t they call it Digital Art Exchange, EternalCreativity or Art Trader?

Blockchain itself, although fairly descriptive, is simply not very sexy terminology. If only the technology's founders were marketing gurus, they may have named it FutureProof, DigiArt, AssetCommerce or CreatorContracts. And blockchain wasn’t so appealing to the masses at first, until it transformed its appeal with the rise of assets like NFTs that added a creative element.

It's effectively a new market and technology that provides a new type of transparency we have never seen before. Everything is readable and accessible to all — every contract, each person's wallet and all the transactions. There is also a fairly level playing field for amateurs to join, as the market is in its infancy still and not yet fully saturated. NFTs are accessible to almost anyone, and the vibe is hugely inclusive to anyone of any background or demographic, making it an incredibly exciting time.

To drill down a bit, in order to have a workable and tradeable NFT, you need a smart contract on the blockchain and a financial transaction or financial element in cryptocurrency. Most big platforms, such as Opensea, Rarible, KnownOrigin and Portion set this all up for you in the background while you simply make a post as you would on a social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

In order to trade in cryptocurrency in the first place, you need to setup a digital wallet, much like PayPal but for crypto. The golden rule when having a digital wallet is to never give anyone your seed phrase (i.e. personal pass code) and don’t keep it saved on your computer, as it can be ripe picking for hackers.

Sotheby's, Christie's and other big names in the traditional artworld are flocking to the space, with a recent sale of one NFT for $69m, and many other high-level sales and trades going on in the millions daily. The Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs, now has a floor price of around 40 ETH for each piece, from that of 0.08 ETH when it launched several months ago. According to Dune Analytics, Opensea.io traded volumes of $3.3bm (approximately 1m ETH) in August, indicating that the industry is still seeing huge month-to-month growth. 

With digital art collections selling out in minutes and changing the destiny of creators and ecosystems, a new digital dawn is upon us. Don’t even get me started on immersive, worlds, gamification, virtual events and more. This is the new digital frontier and creative revolution.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About NFTs and Cryptocurrency

If you haven’t yet read up or ventured into NFTs, you aren’t too late; now really is the time. Make sure you do your research and compare the platforms and technologies. Read up on the risks, pitfalls and protocols to operate safely and legally. Clubhouse is a fantastic resource for free learning and mingling with others in the space. NFTs are also popular on Twitter and Twitter Spaces. I'd also follow NFTs.Tips, one of the largest NFT communities online, to get some advice, direction and support.

Most of all, don’t fear new markets or innovations or, for that matter, failure. Although the terminology isn’t ideal, the fact that it isn’t easy to understand at first often leads to deeper understanding down the road. Those who arrive into this space clueless end up mentoring others who have just arrived, spawning an impressive chain of unity, development, education and respect.

Jonny Caplan

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Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Jonny Caplan is an award-winning filmmaker, CEO at TechTalkMedia, host of Amazon Prime's "TechTalk" and a serial entrepreneur and innovator, technologist, sustainability and impact leader, multidisciplinary creator, NFT consultant and global speaker.