The first wave of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) brought mostly speculation on art linked to a blockchain (but not deployed on a blockchain) and a little technological innovation. Nonetheless, NFT sales were skyrocketing: Beeple at $69 million, CryptoPunks at $7.58 million, and many more. This resulted in FOMO (fear of missing out), in which everyone tried to make a quick buck without considering what they were buying or when they were buying it. However, in the long run, NFTs may be adopted across a wide range of use cases, including the gaming market, and crypto art may play a declining role in the overall use of NFTs.
The current state of NFTs
An NFT is a type of technology – a type of information – stored on a blockchain that represents the right to digital property. This technology is a byproduct of an Ethereum smart contract standard known as the ERC-721.
The underlying technology of NFTs has been around for a while, but it is only recently that the general public has come to understand a specific use case. NFTs can be digitally linked to physical items. A lawyer or judge, for example, may regard a one-of-a-kind token as proof of ownership. NFTs can also be linked to virtual items like 3D in-game items or digital land.
To begin with, NFTs can be used in slower markets. You might be able to use an NFT to sell your house or car, for example. When you want to transfer the item, you make a payment with, say, Ethereum and send the NFT to the recipient. The person who now owns the NFT can present it in court to prove ownership of the property.
NFTs have the potential to be widely recognized in the legal world, representing real estate ownership, company shares, and even marriage or divorce agreements. This is exactly what Bitcoin and subsequent blockchains were intended to do: keep records.
In the case of a cryptocurrency, the record keeps track of who has access to a coin and when they have it. Similarly, in the case of real-world property, NFTs provide a more efficient process than dealing with paper agreements.
This technology is on its way. However, some questions remain. How fast will legal reality catch up? What kinds of interfaces will be used? How will they be used? How quickly and how much will it cost to transfer an NFT?
The Future of NFTs
Because virtual reality is the best way to feel and experience 3D in-game items, the future of gaming will almost certainly be built on VR, and NFTs can play a role in this space. The film Ready Player One demonstrated how virtual reality can improve our daily lives. Based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, the film’s story is set in 2045, when people seek to escape reality through the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), a VR simulation that must be shut down every Tuesday and Thursday to force people to spend more time in the real world.
Within the next ten years, we may have direct integration of augmented reality (AR) with glasses or even our eyeballs, and virtual 3D environments may be broadcast directly through our brains. Snap’s new Spectacles, for example, are AR glasses. Snap’s Spectacles are an example of what’s to come, despite the fact that they’re not yet ready for the mass market.
They have dual waveguide displays that can show AR effects, as well as frames with four microphones, two stereo speakers, a touchpad, and front-facing cameras that detect objects and surfaces so that graphics can interact with the world around you naturally.
“Forget about the Covid crisis,” Rafael Yuste, a neurobiologist at Columbia University, told The New York Times contributing opinion writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff. “What is coming with this new technology has the potential to change humanity.”
Recent advances in computing have transformed society. We’ve progressed from room-sized mainframe computers to personal desktop computers and laptops, and now to mobile computing via smartphones. Is non-invasive brain-reading technology, a potential third great leap, on the horizon? Many people believe it is a foregone conclusion.
Some consider Elon Musk’s Neuralink to be the most advanced brain-sensing technology currently in development. Despite the fact that surgery is required, Neuralink is designed to be thin, flexible, and capable of adapting to the topography of the brain, with the ultimate goal of reading and writing to the brain.
It’s possible that in the future, high-quality graphics will be broadcast directly to our eyes, and the best way to experience everything – including NFT-based 3D items – will be in our heads.