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PROJECT

Final Major Project – NFT’s

PROJECT INFO
DESIGNERS / TEAM

BACKGROUND

PROJECT INTRODUCTION

The MA:UX Final Major Project is here and it has dawned upon me that my time at UAL is ending faster than I anticipated.

For months, I had been interested in the NFT’s technology and it is by no surprise that I had a blazing eagerness of delving deeper into the world of NFT’s. At first, I had a slight panic over choosing this specific topic given the fact that cryptocurrencies and blockchains are quite complex. 

So what are NFT’s you may ask?

Non-fungible tokens also known as NFT’s are units of data that are usually stored on a digital ledger (blockchain). These tokens are used to certify digital assets as unique entities and consequently not interchangeable.

NFTs allows you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games(Hill, 2021). An NFT can either be one-of-a-kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.

Whilst this technology is celebrated by many artists as a way of reaping financial gains it is also condemned by environmentally conscious people as an earth-destroying technology. 

 

The NFT technology is fairly new and it is therefore vulnerable in this most nascent stage. These assets are not entirely secure and they can be forged or claimed by anyone on the internet. Just like anything on the internet, NFT’s can be hacked into and stolen by people who claim a digital art to be their own by attaching a token to it. 

Cryptocurrencies and NFT’s also have a negative impact on the environment as a result of the massive carbon output that is usually required to mine them.  Mining and trading cryptocurrencies use up a lot of electricity and many artists have begun to raise the alarm regarding the ecological costs of NFT’s.

NFT Blocks – Image by twenty20twenty (Envato)

HISTORY

WHO CREATED THE VERY FIRST NFT? 

Prior to exploring any concept or designs, I wanted to learn about the history of NFTs and was very keen to know how this technological phenomenon came to be.

I scoured the internet for hours and I eventually learned that the very first NFT was created by a man by the name of Kevin McCoy on May 3rd, 2014.

He created a pixelated pulsating moving image that is shaped like an octagon and it is filled with denoting circles, arcs and other various shapes when you squint to look at it. He named this piece the ‘Quantum’ – a very fitting name considering the colossal explosion of this market.

And he minted his non-fungible token way before the crypto art market had exploded to the magnitude that it has today. The ‘Quantum’ piece is currently available to be bought with a bidding starting price of 1.5 million US dollars.

Kevin McCoy, “Quantum” (2014-21), non-fungible token (image courtesy of Sotheby’s)

PROJECT AIM

The main goal of my Final Major Project is to systematically study the ecosystem of NFT’s, to evaluate the current security evolution measures of NFT’s. I will also critically discuss the NFT model including its challenges and explore design opportunities. In order to ensure that I fulfill the goals of this project, I will explore the following (in no chronological order);

  • History of NFTs
  • NFTs effect on our environment
  • The culture surrounding NFTs
  • The ecosystem of NFTs
  • The ethical problems
  • Speculated future of NFTs
  • Smart contracts
  • The absurdity and peculiarity of NFTs
  • The Legal Aspects of NFTs

NFT Blocks – Image by twenty20twenty (Envato)

POSSIBLE OUTCOMES 

Some of the possible outcomes include:

  1. Security – Take a criminal approach and Hoax the NFT world or break the system. The main goal of this concept is to create more secure NFTs. 
  1. Sustainable NFTs – Create a toolkit that informs crypto artists and agencies on the dangers of NFT and guides them on how to recreate more sustainable eco-friendly NFTs that result in fewer carbon emissions. Anatomy of sustainable NFT can be included in this toolkit

3. Exhibition/Platform: That gives exposure to less represented artists from marginalised communities. An exhibition can also be curated in addition to the platform to further advertise their work.

Initial Possible Outcomes

REFLECTION

WHAT’S NEXT

My own feeling on the subject is that NFT’s are here to stay and it is vital that we consider creating them more ethically. Next week, I will further look into NFT’s by reading journals and articles. I will also create a project timeline that will allow me to stay on track during the summer holidays. 

REFERENCES
  • Caldarelli, G., Rossignoli, C. and Zardini, A. (2020). Overcoming the Blockchain Oracle Problem in the Traceability of Non-Fungible Products. Sustainability, 12(6), p.2391.
  • Chevet, S. (2018a). Blockchain Technology and Non-Fungible Tokens: Reshaping Value Chains in Creative Industries. SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Chohan, U.W. (2021). Non-Fungible Tokens: Blockchains, Scarcity, and Value. SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Dowling, M.M. (2021). Is non-fungible token pricing driven by cryptocurrencies? SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Hill, J. (2021). The ultimate NFT and Crypto Art guidebook : digital and Crypto Art for beginners : a blockchain practical guide to Non Fungible Tokens : the future of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Verenigde Staten: Castrese Pennacchio.
  • Trautman, L.J. (2021).Virtual Art and Non-fungible Tokens. SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Uribe, D. (2020). Privacy Laws, Non-Fungible Tokens, and Genomics. The Journal of The British Blockchain Association, 3(2), pp.1–10.