What is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)?
You may have heard of NFTs and you may know that they are in some way related to cryptocurrency or Bitcoin, but maybe you’re also not sure what those are either. Here’s an NFT explainer from The Verge:
“Non-fungible” more or less means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. For example, a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. A one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible. If you traded it for a different card, you’d have something completely different. You gave up a Squirtle, and got a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner, which StadiumTalk calls “the Mona Lisa of baseball cards.”
In its simplest terms, an NFT is a piece of digital art, which for some may only murky the waters because “What is art?”
Yeah, could be anything!
One NFL player who is prominently involved in the NFT community is Rams safety Taylor Rapp, who recently announced that he would be launching a collection of Non-Fungible Tokens that would be auctioned off to raise money and a portion will be going to the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islanders) Community Fund.
Again in simple terms, Rapp is selling unique art — like a football card — and using the money to raise money for charity. Here’s an example:
Some will say, “But if it’s just digital, can’t everybody own it?” Everybody can look at it, everybody can keep a screenshot in their phone if they want to, but only one person will be able to say that they spent thousands of dollars on it and to some that makes it valuable.
In some cases, extremely valuable.
Rob Gronkowski recently sold an NFT card collection for $1.2 million. Instead of letting Topps make the money, players can create their own cards and be able to tell buyers that this is the only one that will ever be made. There’s been enough noise around NFTs at this point that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has noted that they are following the market “closely.”
Tom Brady has even partnered up with high-ranking execs at companies like DraftKings, Lionsgate, Spotify, LiveNation, and the owner of the Dodgers and Warriors and started a new company surrounding NFTs called “Autograph,” which essentially does as it promises: NFTs with celebrity “autographs.”
For me it is not a question of “if” the NFL and by proxy the LA Rams get involved in the NFT space, but “when” and “in what way”. It’s coming.
With moments like the Malibu Draft House sponsored by Rocket Mortgage and an emphasis on creating “comedic content” this year, the Rams give off the vibe of a franchise that’s ready to jump into the deep end of the “What’s trending?” pool and that would inevitably lead to some involvement in the crypto craze.
So if you were in charge of creating or choosing one single moment — an image, a GIF, a highlight, a quote, a soundbite, a piece of music, anything you could call “art” — for the Rams franchise to represent as their first and MOST VALUABLE non-fungible token, what would you choose?
Something from the ‘99 Rams? Something more recent? Something that harkens back to their legendary days as a franchise when they first moved to Los Angeles in the forties and then became one of the more dominant teams of the fifties? Few NFL teams have a better story or history than the LA/St. Louis/Cleveland Rams, so there are plenty of things to choose from.
And it’s probably a choice that’s already being considered by people in the organization. We just haven’t heard about it yet.