Factbox: What are NFTs and who's cashing in on them?

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: "EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS" is a collage, by a digital artist BEEPLE

(Reuters) - NFTs are all the buzz this year, with people raking in millions by auctioning these digital assets.

Digital artist Beeple sold an artwork for nearly $70 million at Christie's on Thursday and Twitter Inc boss Jack Dorsey is auctioning his first-ever tweet as an NFT with the top bidder willing to pay $2.5 million for it.

SO WHAT ARE NFTs?

An NFT, or a non-fungible token, is a type of digital signature that allows anyone to verify the authenticity and ownership of an asset. The digital record is saved on blockchain ledgers that can be read by anybody looking to find out the owner of the asset. Blockchain is also the technology driving the cryptocurrency market.

NFT enthusiasts hope these digital assets will retain value because it is possible to distinguish the original work from copies. They compare it to the original Mona Lisa painting at the Louvre Museum, which is unique and priceless.

Digital objects can be minted as NFTs and traded as assets, including art, sports collectibles, patches of land in virtual worlds, cryptocurrency wallet names and even tweets.

Google searches for NFTs have soared this year - https://graphics.reuters.com/CRYPTO-CURRENCY/dgkplewyyvb/

(GRAPHIC: Who's cashing in on NFTs this year? - https://graphics.reuters.com/CRYPTO-CURRENCY/xegpbgyxlvq/)

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Maju Samuel)