It’s been impossible to avoid hearing about NFTs in recent months. Hype for the tokens—pitched as proof of ownership of a digital item—has reached a fever pitch, while billions of dollars have poured into the market for them. To some, these non-fungible tokens are the hottest new collectible hobby, to others a powerful investment tool, and still more, they’re the future of the internet.
The reality is, as always, more complex. In their current state, NFTs aren’t actually capable of doing much of what they’re often claimed to do. The extremely technical nature of how NFTs, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies work means that it’s easy to simplify the explanation of the tech to the point of being misleading.