If someone tried to sell you a virtual building, would you buy it? That’s right- a virtual building. Not something that will ever be built in the physical world, or something you can occupy, but an image you can look at, or a video you could watch. This is exactly what’s being proposed as architecture enters the realm of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that have taken the world by storm. And in the design profession, which continuously seeks to redefine what it means to be an architect, NFTs have big implications for the future of digitization and commoditization of the unbuilt environment.
How emotional attachment to certain items and gifts could affect our understanding of value.
Brands are very, very excited about non-fungible tokens. Over the past month, some of America’s most recognizable brands have eagerly hopped onto the bandwagon, selling limited-edition Taco Bell cryptoart, old Time magazine covers, a New York Times column, and a virtual Pringles chip flavor. Non-fungible tokens, it seems, have entered the mainstream, even as the technology remains confusing and largely inaccessible to regular Americans.
The growing boom in non-fungible tokens – digital assets that are one of one, as opposed to cryptocurrencies that are one of many – was long overdue. Applying a technology that enables digital bearer instruments to things like art, music and collectibles makes a lot of sense, and is arguably even more intuitive than applying it to money. That’s why I opened my first blockchain book by talking about the music industry.
If you spend some time reading up on NFTs in traditional publications such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone, then what you’ll detect is a collective sigh of relief. The world is slowly realizing that public blockchain networks like Ethereum enables creators to climb out of the digital dungeon they’ve been trapped in for the past 20 years.