In the first of our series focusing on NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), we meet Francesco Vincenti, NFT creator. We find out what an NFT is and the opportunities for NFTs in Jersey.
NFTs – Non-Fungible Tokens – What is an NFT?
An NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a digital item that can exist on the internet and specifically on a blockchain.
In order to understand better NFTs, I’d like to make an example about real life. My shirt – it’s mine, I bought it. I can trade it, I can give it to my friend, I can go with this to the office, to another office, to another country. These are characteristics of physical objects. Imagine if we were to give these characteristics to digital objects.
As an example, you post a photo on Instagram, but if you want to bring it to Facebook, you need to repost it on Facebook. Instead, imagine that there is a way in which you can own, really own this digital photo. Today, if you post on Instagram, Instagram owns the photo, so this would allow you to own it and bring it around the digital world that we have built so far. That’s an NFT.
Anything digital can be an NFT, also anything physical can be an NFT. NFTs are digital tokens and can be thought of as certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets.
Can you give us some examples of how NFTs can be used?
In February we saw an explosion of NFTs in digital art mainly. We saw a lot of artists that for the first time had the possibility of selling their art without an intermediary because they used NFT marketplaces.
We are now also seeing NFTs in gaming in music. For example I can sell a ticket for an event and make it as an NFT or I can own a digital item inside the video game. I can buy it and keep it and I can resell it on a separate marketplace. We see a lot of applications, but art, music and gaming are using NFTs in a lot of creative ways.
An example of an NFT in the news recently was the first web page by Tim Berners-Lee. What’s the advantage of converting that digital asset into an NFT?
Let’s think about this web page and this web page has got a monetization right, so you can monetize with advertising from it. If you convert it into an NFT you can sell the license of this monetization to other people and this can help you in creating a better community and income around your product.
An interesting use of NFTs is as a system of voting, It means that people that own an NFT can have the power of voice, the power of vote and input into some decisions because you have a community of active users that have invested in you, that have invested in what you’re doing and they can decide the next step with you.
There have been security stories recently about various blockchains. How secure are NFTs and what are the risks around using them?
I wouldn’t say that NFTs aren’t secure in technical terms, because there are people that are working on very deep game theory in order to create an incredible system around the blockchain. I would say that the risk of NFTs are for people that see it as for easy money.
A risk is where someone sees their friends making money with NFTs, so they buy the first entity that they can. It’s absolutely wrong because there are a lot of products and you need to study why this product is valuable. It’s not just for the fact that an NFT is an NFT that is valuable, you you need to understand what’s behind the scenes of the team, what’s the long-term vision, what’s the price, is it a good price because you never have to forget that an NFT is a financial asset.
Before buying an NFT, do your research and study.
It’s a very early industry, so don’t be ‘hyped’ in trying to monetize everything that you’re doing. Study and understand it, because as many people say in this industry, we are like the 1995 of the internet. So we are ‘before’ social media, before Facebook, before e-commerce, before everything that we see today. It’s very early – there are a lot of projects that are similar – the risk is thinking that everything is good, but we are so early – relax and take the time to make the right choice.
What’s your connection with Jersey and why Jersey for NFTs?
My partner moved in Jersey a few months ago. I was in Rome, decided that I wanted to do something new to challenge myself and I started to study finance. I soon understand that in Jersey there is a great potential with finance. I moved to Jersey in March 2021 and as soon as I was here, I started my podcast series all about NFTs.
I wanted to learn more, I wanted to create a resource, because in March there weren’t so many (NFT) resources that we have today. I soon started to talk with people and understand that there was interest since 2012 into cryptocurrencies in Jersey. I saw that it was one of the first places in the world that understood bitcoin.
I saw a trend, I saw a trend in the rising of the use and the understanding of digital assets because first of all to understand NFTs, you need to be financially educated, you need to understand traditional finance and then you can dive more into crypto, into NFTs. Because 20% of the population of Jersey is working in finance, I thought that this seems the right place to start because it’s a great community, but also a small community so it’s easy to understand and know the right people to build something with.
Jersey has always been at the forefront of change – in technology, internet of things and different finance products. Do you think Jersey could be at the forefront of NFTs by being an early adopter?
Absolutely yes and this is why my partner and I are creating the first NFT art exhibition in Jersey – planed for the fall – it’s called Two Lights. There will be more information on this very soon.
I see Jersey as the intersection of finance and digital and also culture. We have mixed up different communities of the Island and I think that that’s the power of this Island, that’s the community. It’s people knowing each other, people that want to work with each other and people that want to invest in something new.
It’s something that comes from the island itself, from people, from different jobs that can mix and create something new. NFT is an incredible tool to create something new, that can be rewarding for finance people, for art people and for all the other communities that we see in the island.
What do you think the next steps are for Jersey, so that we can facilitate the use of NFTs here?
I think that the next step for Jersey, for the people that have already joined the NFT space is educating and ‘onboarding’ the others to this new technology and to the new uses that these financial assets built on blockchains can have.
How do you educate people? Of course you can introduce some courses to the schools and we can make events. We need to share the various possibilities and opportunities brought by NFTs and the blockchain technology and we need to understand that this is just the evolution of technology.
This is where the world is going and in ten years or twenty years from now, we will all have an NFT wallet as today we have social media accounts. What I’m trying to do with my podcast is inviting as many guests as possible from different industries, artists, gamers and entrepreneurs. With broader examples, people can understand the power of owning a piece of the Internet today.
Francesco Vincenti, creator of 2 LIVES, Jersey’s first NFT Art Exhibition planned in fall 2021.
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Main image credit: Max Burnett.
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