A non-fungible token (NFT) is a type of cryptographic token that represents a unique asset. NFTs are tokenized versions of digital or real-world assets. They function as verifiable proofs of authenticity and ownership within a blockchain network. NFTs are not interchangeable with each other and introduce scarcity to the digital world.
Fungibility refers to the property of an asset whose individual units are interchangeable and essentially indistinguishable from each other. For example, all fiat currencies are fungible. To act as a medium of exchange, each individual unit must be interchangeable with any other equivalent individual unit. A one-dollar bill is interchangeable with any other genuine one-dollar bill.
NFTs can be used by decentralized applications (DApps) to allow for the creation and ownership of unique digital items and collectibles. While NFTs can be traded in open marketplaces that connect buyers with sellers, it is worth noting that the value of each is unique.
Various frameworks have been created to facilitate the issuance of NFTs. The most prominent of these is ERC-721, which is a standard for the issuance and trading of non-fungible assets on the Ethereum blockchain. A more recent, improved standard is ERC-1155, which enables a single contract to contain both fungible and non-fungible tokens.
The standardization of NFTs allows a higher degree of interoperability, meaning that unique assets can be transferred between applications with relative ease.
NFTs have the potential to be one of the key components of a new blockchain-powered digital economy. They could be used in many different fields, such as video games, digital identity, licensing, certificates, or fine art - and even allow fractional ownership of items. Storing ownership and identification data on the blockchain would increase data integrity and privacy, while easy, trustless transfers and management of these assets could reduce friction in trade and the global economy.