Non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) are cryptographic assets on the blockchain that are distinguished from each other with unique identification codes and metadata. Unlike fungible crypto assets, such as crypto currencies like Bitcoin, which are divisible, interchangeable, and not unique (i.e., they can be exchanged with any other token of the equivalent kind), NFTs are unique and not interchangeable.
“A non-fungible token is like a unique serial number or a seal of authenticity that includes ownership details and other metadata, recorded on a decentralized blockchain and verified by network participants,” per Dapper Blog. This is “similar to how a car’s VIN number can be used to look up its ownership history, accident record, and other unique features.”
While NFTs were largely popularized between 2020 and 2001, the world’s first NFT – called “Quantum” – was minted by Kevin McCoy on Namecoin in 2014. McCoy’s NFT was not labeled as such at the time, as the term was not coined until September 20, 2017, when Dapper Labs CTO Dete Shirley used it in his ERC-721 documentation that later became the universal standard for all modern NFTs.