New Jersey Devils Force Us To Answer The Question “What Is An NFT?”

People walk past CryptoPunk digital art non-fungible token (NFT) (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
People walk past CryptoPunk digital art non-fungible token (NFT) (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images) /

There have been a lot of weird things to do with your money during the pandemic. The sports card market has gone absolutely bonkers, with people spending huge prices for old cards we haven’t seen in years. Cryptocurrency is part of the daily vernacular as Bitcoin hit some ridiculous prices and one of the richest men in the world keeps manipulating the price of a “coin” named after a meme. However, by far the weirdest and most expensive trend seems to be the non-fungible token.

NFTs as they are most well known are basically images and videos that are collected as 1/1. They are usually sold at auction. They can be something like Tony Hawk doing skateboarding tricks or just a weird collage of artwork that sold for $69 million dollars.

So, when the New Jersey Devils spent their Monday trying to explain they were the first NHL team to partner to build these… art pieces? Cash options? It’s actually really hard to explain what they are, but let’s try. Since our team is dabbling in this new technology, we should at least know what the heck it is.

So, the simple way to explain an NFT is to explain it’s a one-of-a-kind piece that is verified to be original by blockchain. With so many people faking collectibles from Nikes to jewelry, it’s very important to know what is being sold. That guarantee is what makes it most valuable. They work on the blockchain “Etherium”, which is basically a blockchain that allows people to make transactions. While Bitcoin wants to replace cash, Etherium is used more as a marketplace.

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So, here’s where things get a little weird. People are paying for these NFTs, but they hold no rights to the copyright. It is literally like owning digital art. If you buy a piece by Andy Warhol, you don’t have the production rights to that piece, you only own the right to hang it up in your living room or the bedroom. This digital art piece can be copied and distributed millions of times and the owner of the NFT cannot stop it. They still own the original, and that has a ton of value, but it’s not like they exclusively can watch the video and sue anyone else who tries.

Basically, people are buying these just like they buy baseball cards, art pieces, or that Princess beanie baby we all somehow own. They hope that they go up in value to either sell for a profit or one day use to show the value they are worth. It’s an asset that holds wealth. Will it last forever? Well, the Devils sure hope so.

Luckily for some very lucky/rich Devils fans, the Devils’ NFT comes with a physical coin and rights to season tickets. So there is something physical that comes with this purchase. It was an interesting, outside-the-box way to get fans excited, but the timing was strange. The Devils season is over, but the playoffs just started. One of the coins has a starting bid of $6,000 and the other coin starts at $3,000. Will it work? Possibly, but the Devils fanbase is very down on the team right now, so spending four figures on something with a very questionable worth is a hard sell. Good on the team for trying something out. The partnerships with sports betting companies were a very smart investment. This could also be smart, but it’s way above our paygrade. Literally.