The recent buzz around NFTs has gotten me thinking about how singularly obsessed we are with scarcity. While we have spent most of our evolutionary history creating all manner of schemes to outwit the various forms of scarcity we find in this world, the flip side of this constant struggle is a marked proclivity toward a sometimes unreasonable drive to own and collect scarce resources. The most scarce of these - unique, one-of-a-kind artifacts - come with price tags full of zeros and entire industries dedicated to telling their stories. The sheer economic volume of the collectibles industry - estimated at $370 billion last year - is testament to the deep and enduring appeal of owning and trading items whose value is derived almost entirely from scarcity.
It is not surprising, then, that Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs for short, are catching a lot of interest right now as their clever trick of cryptography and consensus finds a home in products like NBA Top Shot and the digital real estate being sold in the forthcoming MMORPG Mirandus. You can think of NFTs as a "scarce" digital good - a one-of-a-kind piece of data that can function as a certificate of authenticity on the internet. As I've learned more about how NFTs work and minted a few myself on top of the Avalanche platform my mind has been bubbling over with visions of treasure hunts, unique mementos, genetic algorithms and special editions of digital art. I'm not entirely sure how much of the current craze is a fad and how much is a hint of a vast new market with serious staying power, but at the very least the flood of digital art and scarce digital artifacts hitting the market right now is fun and full of hidden gems.
a nifty experiment
As an exercise in getting familiar with the wide world of NFTs I've decided to run a little experiment. I've minted 10 copies of an NFT representing a special version of the capybara that graces the home page of this website:
If you'd like to be one of the 10 lucky folks to get one of these 10-of-a-kind digital artifacts, create an Avalanche wallet here and send me your X-Chain address, which you can find in the upper right corner of the "Portfolio" screen after creation.
If you know how to get in touch with me, feel free to send me your wallet address there, otherwise you can use the following form to tell me where I can send your special NFT:
Happy treasure hunting!