Alex Caton has given a lot of thought to his girlfriend’s Christmas present this year.
The 24-year-old found a stunning photo taken by a local photographer in her hometown of Mississauga, 17 miles south of Toronto. In the foreground is her city and in the distance the glittering skyline of Toronto, where the couple now live together. He thinks about it like his old life turned towards the future, towards their new life together.
There is a small catch. The image he bought for around $ 200 comes in the form of an NFT, a one-of-a-kind file that exists digitally. Caton, a computer engineer, is the one in the relationship who is most interested in NFTs. He’s aware that even though they are talking about NFT together and recently attended a real-world NFT gallery exhibit, his girlfriend would likely appreciate something more tangible as well. So he’s trying to get an official impression of the photo, as well as a fitness tracker.
“It’s not something that I would like to push on someone,” Cato said of the NFT. “I thought it would be a meaningful gift.”
It’s too late to order or find some of this year’s hottest Christmas gifts, but there’s one buzzy giveaway that’s still doable (if risky): an NFT. A virtual giveaway is often a fallback solution for last-minute shoppers, but it’s also appealing to anyone worried about supply chain issues, rising prices for physical goods, and a variation of fast-spreading coronavirus that makes in-person shopping less appealing than usual.
The term NFT stands for non-fungible token, which rarely erases anything, but they are unique digital assets, like an image or audio recording. Their ownership is stored on the blockchain – a kind of public ledger – and they can double as an investment and a kind of art, even if you admire it on a screen. They’ve taken off over the past year, starting with an NFT created by an artist named Beeple and sold for $ 69 million at auction. More recently, Melania Trump was pushing NFTs out of her eyes, and Tom Brady offered NFTs of his college resume and old studs.
They combine an age-old fun in collectibles like baseball cards with the rush to gamble. For people who may have stayed away from the more purely monetary world of bitcoin, NFTs can be a point of interest. more accessible entrance. Yes, maybe you buy a unique digital token stored on the blockchain, but you also get a cartoon of a depressed primate in a cute sailor hat. And once they have one, they can keep it indefinitely for sentimental value, or trade it in (the rare gift or selling it immediately isn’t always considered rude).
As with any gift, your mileage may vary. Their values can fluctuate and they could end up being worth less than what you paid for. But unlike cryptocurrency, they can still be worth a little something sentimentally. Many families are already ready to participate and know that a virtual gift will be appreciated and even returned. Others are hoping that the offer of an NFT will hook their loved ones so that it becomes a shared passion instead of something a person will not stop talking about. But there is no guarantee that the recipient will appreciate the gift and it could work against you, or at least be confusing.
Then there is the question of how to actually pack a gifted NFT. You can just put it in the recipient’s virtual wallet, but then you miss the drama. Usually, people give a virtual representation when they can’t get the physical gift on time, like a photo of a gadget that’s out of stock. Making an actual representation of an NFT is the reverse – a physical gift that is a placeholder for the virtual.
You can print a wrap version or put in a nice envelope, like Cato, who gets a photo for his girlfriend.
Kristen Langer is an art teacher and calligrapher who plans to create virtual portfolios for her niece and nephew. When you set up the new wallet, you get a list of random words to access it as a recovery phrase, so Langer will write the words in a calligraphic style.
3D printing company Itemfarm has seen an increase in requests to create physical versions of images on NFT. This involves confirming that the person owns the NFT and then converting a 2D image to a 3D file, says Itemfarm CEO Alder Riley.
For people who buy and sell NFTs, this is usually not an occasional interest. It’s the kind of hobby that inspires passion, and in some cases constantly talks about forcing loved ones. Maybe that’s because DFTs only gain value as more people buy into the idea. It has been compared to a pyramid scheme, but advocates say it is no more and no less of an asset than sneakers, paper money or stocks. For some families, it’s more about being involved in something together than about being successful.
Mariana Benton has a vacation list of her dream NFTs and at the top is a Cool Cat, one of the cats drawings (she doesn’t expect anything from the list, just in case). Benton didn’t like NFTs at first, but her husband Alex eventually won her over by showing her the NBA Top Shots NFT, the league’s digital collectibles. The couple traded NFTs for Hanukkah.
“At first I didn’t understand why Alex was spending so much time on this stuff,” said Mariana Benton. “Now that’s a whole new cool thing we can talk about.”
For the couple, who live in Los Angeles with their two children, collecting objects was already a family affair. Everyone in the house loves Pokémon cards, and Mariana and Alex collect baseball cards. Now the kids have their own crypto wallets and their 10-year-old daughter writes about NFTs for a school newspaper.
“My daughter and I hit our first NFT together. We sat down holding hands and clicked the button, ”said Mariana Benton proudly.
Getting involved in NFTs from scratch isn’t exactly easy, and neither is offering one. First, there are the technical issues – the recipient needs a wallet to “hold” the NFT, and the donor needs the right cryptocurrency to purchase it. The cost of entry is high, at least a few hundred dollars, for any NFTs that have the potential to appreciate. There is also special lingo, different subcultures, Twitter accounts to follow, and Discord rooms to join.
Alex Benton also buys his mother an NFT for Christmas, at her request. She follows him on Twitter and wants to get more involved in what he loves, so he’s going to create a wallet and buy her an NFT.
Unlike a beautiful scarf, pair of earrings, or a Swedish ax, getting an NFT is either accepting a whole world that you have to learn or forgetting about it as a bond your grandparents gave you. and not knowing if you will ever benefit from it. financially.
When Langer’s husband Josh lost his job earlier in the pandemic and entered NFT full-time, she didn’t entirely agree.
But he had struggled with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse issues in the past, and she saw how his newfound interest pulled him out of there. Eventually, she started participating with a few caveats: Kristen Langer has the final say on most financial decisions regarding NFTs, and while they’ve invested some of their savings, it’s not so much that they couldn’t get over it.
“He’s got a role model where he just gets just dumb excited about something,” said Kristen Langer, 36. “But I really feel like it brought us closer together because it’s something he can teach me instead of coming home and complaining about our days.”
For his birthday, Josh Langer gifted his wife an NFT song from the Scissor Sisters song “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin ‘”.
“It was my hymn in college,” said Kristen Langer. “I don’t know the resale value, but this song is about me. “
Emily Cornelius doesn’t want DTV for Christmas. Her boyfriend, Ian Schenholm, is an avid gamer who studies for the bar exam and spends hours researching cryptocurrencies and NFTs online. He enjoys telling Cornelius everything, but she’s made it clear that just because they can talk about it doesn’t mean she wants to be so involved.
“I don’t even want to know how to do it. I’m not asking him to get into astrology, I’m not asking him to get into color correction and how that could really improve the photos of himself, ”said Cornelius, a comedian in Denver. “I would rather have something that made sense to me. I think this is true for any gift.