What is the best mental model for NFTs?
One way I've been trying to wrap my head around NFTs is that the recent explosion represents what will be regarded as the first waves of digital "settling", or "moving in" to the web.
Our web experiences to date have [for the majority of users] been like running errands out from points of departure/return within the physical world. Of going out to the web to - browse the news, buy something, trade a stock, whatever - but then coming back to the physical world. Our trips are short, and we travel lightly - by necessity - for we have no real way to "bring" anything with us from site to site besides our wallets.
The NFT, at least as a concept, represents something of a sea change in that mentality. That the web will not be errand space forever, but a place that we come to "inhabit" to a deeper degree than we do now (and maybe which most people would even think they'd ever want to).
The settlement process for the web then has started with the accumulation of these little personal effects; things we own and which can be associated uniquely with identity. One of the first things people did at their office jobs was place a picture of their family in their cubicle or office - they brought little personal effects with them in an attempt at personalizing the space, making it comfortable. Accordingly, I think NFTs are the beginning of the process of "getting cozy" in digital space; of making it feel more like our own.
To the extent that most people who've even heard of NFTs (I used the term "explosion" above, but that really is very relative) just think of "overpriced jpegs", I think they are missing the idea of NFTs as a means of establishing property rights for web space, including portability of one's "belongings" across different sites (e.g. an item we win in a video game becomes "ours", and we can take it outside the game), and/or anchor them back to real-world objects. As this post does an excellent job of pointing out though (and in ways I did not previously appreciate), if you look under the hood - as with most things web 3.0 - there is perhaps a disproportionate ratio of optimism to substance.
> Not convinced? The first round of buyers for one of the most storied NFT collections around, CryptoPunks, actually got them for free. They simply had to get in the game early enough, and pay transaction fees.
Same with crypto itself. I've been reading up on early Bitcoin history, and apparently in 2010 there was a thingy called "The Bitcoin Faucet". To get 5BTC(~=$250K now) you had to solve a captcha.
This is a great model for thinking about NFTs. I love the idea of allowing a more democratic form of VC investment in creators and y extension decentralizing talent discovery and development. It also creates an economy of tastemakers to monetize directly vs the current social media influencer paradigm. My fear is that government and securities law will be heavy handed and stifle innovation severely in the US because they can’t grasp your reformulation of scam vs magic beans.
Sounds like NFTs have a potential (to manage/enable/extract currently unclear rights), in the same way a computer has the potential to be a wordprocessor. going back to microsoft vs ibm - where is the money to be made - in the hardware (NFTs) or in the software (ways to unlock the potential)?