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Molly Dorkin

[non-fungible token]

A unit of data that is stored on a digital account (blockchain) and certifies a digital asset—including an audio file, image, or video—as unique and not exchangeable. It serves as a proof of ownership even for a digital item that is easily copied and distributed. NFTs can therefore be traded and sold like other assets, and, with the provenance permanently recorded in the blockchain, the risk of fakes is largely eliminated.

The market for NFTs has exploded in recent years, valued at over $250 million in 2020 and with sales of $24.9 billion 2021 (calculated across ten blockchains). Digital artwork is not a recent invention: the first exhibition of digital art in America took place at Howard Wise Gallery in New York in 1965. There are also precedents for the sale of art that does not involve the exchange of a tangible work, such as performance art, conceptual art, and installation art. In acquiring such works, a collector typically receives a certificate from the artist authorizing the reproduction or performance of the work in question....