Non-fungible tokens – or NFTs – could help South African creatives better control the rights to their intellectual property, give them access to a broader market and improve their earnings.
This is according to John Singh, non-executive director of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) and chair of the IITPSA Blockchain Special Interest Group.
Singh explains that NFTs use cryptocurrency blockchains to log and authenticate ownership of digital content ranging from music and videos to art and photographs.
“NFTs are revolutionising the way people do business and exchange goods and value,” he says. “NFTs may be very hyped and sometimes hard to get your head around right now, but at ground level, it’s a normal social concept where communities create value amongst each other. Hundreds of thousands of struggling artists trying to get a break can now use NFT platforms to exchange and sell their art and make a living.”
Singh says owning NFTs has become a way to show status and cultural and social identity in a digital world: “A crypto billionaire shows wealth and status by owning high-priced NFTs, in much the same way as they might create their brand through their cars, clothing and the people they have around them.” NFTs could also prove to be a good investment in the long run, he adds.
While NFTs may not seem tangible, Singh notes that the digital world is an increasingly important one. “With internet and social media acceleration, you see exponential growth in crypto adoption, which is growing at double digits every year. Along with huge adoption, we see new software and innovation coming out of it at a very quick pace.”
Singh says NFTs offer opportunities for South Africans to invest and earn money. “It has become easier to generate an income in areas like art and music on these platforms, because the middlemen aren’t there. You do have to have good work and be able to market yourself, however.”
“The really important thing about blockchain-based NFTs is you can prove ownership without a doubt, so only the person holding the private key is the true owner. You can cryptographically prove you bought it and own it, even if copies are made. For example, there is only one Mona Lisa, no matter how many copies are made. With NFTs, nobody can deny ownership of a work, and the owner has a strong legal foundation for dispute – for example, should a big brand use the work without authorisation.”
If you would like to learn more about NFts, watch the Youtube videos here:
What are NFTs?
What are the benefits of NFts?
How are NFTs relevant to South African creatives?