Learn With Me: The ABCs of NFTs

Alkimi Exchange
5 min readNov 18, 2021

By Milly Putley, Digital Marketing Manager, Alkimi Exchange.

My name is Milly, and I am the digital marketing manager at Alkimi Exchange. I recently accepted a job within the crypto industry, and was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and what it all actually meant. I decided to create this series so that you can learn along with me as I dive head first into the space.

If you are reading this, then much like me, you have entered the crypto space and have come across the term NFT, a term that seemingly you cannot avoid online within the cryptocurrency community. It’s even started to insert itself in everyday conversations and mainstream media, with television shows like SNL taking note of both its popularity and obscurity.

When the Alkimi team came to me and said that they were launching an NFT collection (AlEx The Alkimist), I realised how much I didn’t understand their functionality and actually how much they exist in my life already.

Within this article I have done a brief outline of the NFT, but found it most useful to show some brief examples of the range of which NFTs can be used, as contrary to what many may think, they are much more than just jpegs.

The October report found that 45% of respondents were not familiar with NFTs, and 28% do not understand them.

Innovation within technology is not a new concept, we only have to look at when Marty McFly was sent 30 years into the future as part of the plot in “Back to the Future Part II” where hoverboards were zipping around, people wore self-lacing shoes and flying cars were the norm. The date? It was Oct. 21 2015.

What am I trying to say with this reference? Well back in 1989 the ‘outlandish’ predictions of where human technology would be was not too far from what has actually been achieved.

So with one of the most ancient forms of human self expression, we have strayed far from the days of strictly physical painting with the development of digital art, online visual marketing and even AI-produced pieces. The future of this ancient history now relies more on keyboards and digital pens than it does paintbrushes.

What even are NFTs?

In short, NFT means Non-Fungible Tokens.

Non-Fungible means they cannot be replaced with anything else. As a crypto-technology they are similar to Bitcoin but not quite the same. While Bitcoin can be exchanged for another Bitcoin or cash, NFTs function like a one-of-a-kind trading card.

These are cryptophically unique tokens that are linked to digital (and in some cases physical) content, providing proof of ownership. Importantly they have many different use cases (which I didn’t realise) including artwork, digital collectibles, music, and items in video games.

Like Bitcoin, ownership of an NFT is recorded on a constantly updating digital ledger, most commonly the Ethereum Blockchain. Virtually anything can be exchanged on this digital platform where users can “create, publish, monetize, and use applications” as they wish.

The crypto world has the potential to seem alien to alot of us, or just not practical in everyday life for the everyday person- this is not the reality of NFTs. The reality is they are a powerful digital advertising and marketing tool that some major brands have used.

One thing that really made it click for me, and perhaps the most important part of NFTs, is yes any person can right click and save a digital image file, but much like purchasing a fake or a copy. This is not the real thing and also does not carry the same functionality and or complete ownership of the digital asset much like a physical one.

But let’s not get bogged down, here are some examples of NFT’s that you have probably heard of but didn’t realise were an NFT.

Here are some examples:

Let’s Start Simple: Team GB: original Olympic-inspired artwork.

Team GB has embraced blockchain technology to underpin a unique storefront of NFT collectables for fans and collectors to support its athletes.

Designed to offer locked-down sports fans an alternative way to connect with the team- without any need to fly halfway around the world, or even leave the comfort of their home. The NFT storefront will contain a variety of one-off items.

“Purchase a unique digital NFT Collectable from our shop or bid on an Original Olympic-Inspired artwork. All purchases help support Team GB, a portion of proceeds go directly to the British Olympic Association.”

see more here.

What is important here, is this is not unlike other Olympic Collections that are realised that are unique and to be used as a historical marking of the Olympic Games. However, unlike fake merchandise, the authenticity of this collection is secured as a result of the blockchain and its existence as a NFT.

Here is a slightly more interesting example: Fortnite

Whilst this is not your standard NFT. This illuminates the potential future of NFTs through the habits of Gen Z. There is a whole generation of young people that have grown up gaming and within these games making digital purchases for digital assets.

Fortnite is a perfect example of this, as differing from standard in game purchases, real-world brands have featured collaborations. Some of these include: Air Jordan, Balenciaga, Ariana Grande, Marshmello and KAWS Skeleton.

But what am I really try to say here? What I hear is why would I buy a digital asset, what can I use it for in real-life? What is the real value of a digital asset?

Fortnite is an example that really explains the shift, why wouldn’t you buy a pair of Air Jordan’s for your character on Fortnite for your friends to see? Digital assets have social value, just like real ones.

I hoped this helped you understand the real world application of NFTs. Read about Alkimi Exchange’s NFT AlEx The Alkimist- an NFT Rewards Collection here.

I will be adding more to this series in a bid to coincide my learning with assisting with demystifying applications of crypto for others. Have a topic you’d like me to cover? Leave a comment below!