13 April 2021 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , News Media

The term "NFT" (Non-Fungible Token) has become very popular recently, and it has been constantly appearing in news about the sale of artworks. The digital collage image file "Everydays: The First 5000 Days" created by American digital artist Beeple was traded in the form of NFT. Last month, it sold for a record US$69.3 million (approximately S$93.1 million) at the New York auction, shocking the art circle. The buyer turned out to be an Indian blockchain entrepreneur who settled in Singapore.

The Chinese translation of NFT is "non-homogeneous token", also known as "non-fungible token". It is a digital authentication stored in the blockchain. Each NFT has unique identification information, which can be used to represent any physical or virtual objects such as images, recordings, game items, characters, etc. Even if digital objects can be shared or watched online indefinitely, NFT ensures that only one party owns the original product. The concept is similar to buying a famous painting-anyone can buy a copy of a famous painting, but only one person owns the original painting.

Associate Professor Hahn Jungpil, head of the Department of Information Systems and Analytics at the School of Computing, National University of Singapore, said in an interview that the independent authentication function of NFT can derive many usage scenarios. "For example, a virtual item in an online game cannot be traded outside the game. If the game is discontinued, the item will disappear. With NFT, the owner of the virtual item can sell it to people outside the online game."

Blockchain technology is still developing, and there are many challenges that must be overcome, one of which is the huge power consumption. Blockchain requires so-called "miners" to verify transactions, and the process is called "mining", which includes collecting transaction information, verifying and confirming the authenticity of transaction information, etc. Mining requires powerful computer computing functions, so it consumes a lot of power.

Lianhe Zaobao, 11 April 2021