When did non-fungible tokens start?


Even if you live in an isolated place with no internet access, chances are that you’ve definitely heard about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in the past couple of years. The new and fast-developing market made some big changes in how people value assets and provided a new use of Blockchain technology.

The NFT marketplace now is huge and it’s worth multiple billions of dollars. There are also many speculations that the NFT industry and the entire technology are just at the start and in the future as we advance to web 3.0 we will see more of its potential leading to a trillion-dollar market.

So, when did all of this start? Let’s dig a bit deeper into the NFT marketplace and find out more about when this trend emerged and where it is going in the future.

What are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?

Before we can analyze the NFT space and its origins, we have to be on the same page about Non-Fungible Tokens. Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs can represent ownership in almost anything, from digital art to virtual real estate or in-game items.

A few years ago, it was almost impossible to demonstrate rights to a digital asset, but with the introduction of Blockchain technology and NFTs, people can now own digital images in form of collectibles, or other digital assets that are tied to their digital wallet.

The name Non-Fungible Tokens demonstrates that each digital collectible is unique and has its own value. As you can see for yourself there are plenty of collectors in online platforms such as this one: https://wizardia.io/ 

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The Beginnings of NFTs

Even in times when Ethereum didn’t exist the concept of NFTs was born in early 2012 by Meni Rosenfield, which released the popular ‘Colored Coins’ concept for the Bitcoin blockchain. 

Even though ‘Colored Coins’ were very much different from nowadays NFTs, the concept behind was nearly identical. The idea behind Colored Coins was to describe multiple methods for representing and managing real-world assets on the blockchain and a way to prove ownership of such assets. They were similar to Bitcoin but tokenized in a way to determine ownership.

However, at that time, the concept of Colored Coins seemed impossible due to the limitations of the Bitcoin network and technology. With that said, this project was still responsible for laying down the foundation of the entire NFT marketplace.

A few years later, on May 3rd, 2014, the first NFT ‘Quantum’ was minted, which marked the beginning of a roller-coaster ride and the start of technology with at time unknown potential. Kevin McCoy was the first digital artist that minted the first-ever NFT. This was a digital pixelated octagon that hypnotically changes color and pulsates.

This image on November 28, 2021, was sold for $1.4 million in a Sotheby auction.

After this event, big companies and individuals started experimenting with NFTs which led to entire platforms built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. This was the time when the Ethereum blockchain started to emerge providing new opportunities for the developers.

The most notable project at that time was the Counterparty platform which was built on Bitcoin 2.0, and Spells of Genesis, which was the pioneer of using NFT technology for issuing game assets.

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In 2016, it came the time of the meme in the NFT space leading to the birth of Rare Pepes NFTs on the Counterparty platform.

However, using Bitcoin technology was limiting the advancement of the NFT industry due to filling precious block space with tokens that represented ownership of images. This is why the NFT space found a better home on the Ethereum network.

NFTs go Public

In 2017, after companies started using the Ethereum network, the real potential of the NFT industry was discovered. This was the time when popular NFT projects emerged such as Cryptopunks and CryptoKitties, which opened up new opportunities for the entire industry.

After the use of NFTs in gaming, many companies started focusing on developing games where people can play them and earn real-world value using non-fungible tokens.

The Future of NFTs

As of now, new NFT projects are coming up every day. However, since we are at the beginning of the industry and still haven’t fully explored its possibilities it will take time for companies to release new revolutionary ways of utilizing this technology.

With that said, the future of NFTs is bright and we expect to see their use in many different things apart from games and as a form of ownership of digital collectibles.



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