What Collectors Need to Know about NFTs

As with so many things on the internet, NFTs may be best explained with cats. Specifically, the website CryptoKitties, which launched in late 2017 and in a matter of days saw users spend more than $1 million on its marketplace for virtual cats; many more millions have been spent (and raised) since. The key innovation of CryptoKitties (and other early adopters like CryptoPunks) was in using the blockchain—a kind of public ledger technology—to attribute NFTs to all the virtual cats on the site, thereby making each digital feline into a traceable asset with a publicly listed price and provenance. Whereas digital goods could formerly be replicated ad infinitum by simply copying and pasting them, CryptoKitties exist in finite, traceable numbers.

NFTs introduced scarcity to the market for digital assets, and now sites such as OpenSea, MakersPlace, SuperRare, and Foundation let collectors buy and sell art, typically using the cryptocurrency Ether. Nifty Gateway introduced a further innovation to the formula by allowing collectors to skip the step of buying cryptocurrency and buy works directly with a credit card.

“It was during the CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties era in 2017 that the idea for creating an online marketplace for NFTs really took hold,” said Griffin Cock Foster, who co-founded Nifty Gateway with his twin brother Duncan in 2018; the following year, another set of twins, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, bought the site. “One of the major issues with NFTs at that time was their inaccessibility to people outside the crypto world. We created Nifty Gateway initially to make it as easy as possible for people to buy NFTs.”

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