One of the strengths of buying and investing in NFTs and crypto assets in general is that you can prove authenticity of crypto art on blockchain. This post will discuss how authenticity works with tokens.
There is a good amount of misinformation out there on this subject so let’s begin with the basics. A token is a representation of any ‘thing’ written on the blockchain technology. Examples include a picture, video, song, 3D rig, a stake, voting right, coin, currency, or an identification.
A fungible token is any thing that does not have a unique identifier so it can be exchanged with another identical thing and have the same value. A physical coin is a decent example of this. A quarter minted same year and from the same mint can be swapped for another identical coin and it would represent the same value as the first. This is much the same way a bitcoin works. It may have been mined from a different source but it is otherwise identical to every other bitcoin out in the economy.
An NFT meaning a non-fungible token is a token that is not able to be replaced with another identical item as there is no other token in the economy that is exactly the same. Each NFT created (also called minted) is given a unique identifier called its token ID. This ID on the Ethereum blockchain is a data type ‘uint256’ which is a number with 78 decimal digits. There are so many combinations that it allows NFTs to be created unique even if the thing they represent looks similar to another.
This comes to the next concern. What if an artist creates an artwork, mints it within the economy, and someone else creates an identical looking artwork within the same economy? The artwork represented in both tokens look the same so how are they unique? Each has a unique token ID. This ID can be traced through each sale on blockchain all the way back to when it was minted. At its creation the unique ID of the creator is written to the blockchain. It then becomes a matter of looking up the ID of the official artist and verifying that one token came from their ID and the other did not. This is how authenticity can be proven on blockchain.
As it stands right now, looking up the ID of an artist can be easy if they always mint their works on the same platform or sign it with same wallet. It can become a little more difficult if the artist mints artworks on multiple platforms or on different blockchains as they may have different IDs on each. Nevertheless, all transactions between IDs are recorded and can be traced.