What are NFTs?

Webkinz for Adults?

What is an NFT? Well honestly, I don’t know. They seem to be everywhere in pop culture, with many celebrities using them as their Twitter profile pic. Even though they’re everywhere, there aren’t many people who genuinely understand what they are.

Some celebrities with NFTs as their profile picture.

NFT stands for “non-fungible token”, which isn’t a very descriptive name. The technical definition of an NFT is a “unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger, that can be sold and traded”, which is another confusing definition (Wikipedia). Essentially, an NFT is similar to a Bitcoin in that it is an online currency, but an NFT is more visually traceable because every NFT is a unique picture, video, or audio. In short, an NFT is a virtual token that says you own a digital item or membership.

Two celebrities who have ‘bored apes’ as their profile picture.

One specific NFT is the “Bored Ape Yacht Club”. Many celebrities have these ‘bored apes’ as their profile pictures, from Eminem to Jimmy Fallon to Gwyneth Paltrow (shown above). Through my investigation of their official website, the Bored Ape Yacht Club seems similar to Webkinz, the children’s games site, in that you buy avatars in order to access virtual rooms. The official website for the Bored Ape Yacht Club says, “Your Bored Ape doubles as your Yacht Club membership card, and grants access to members-only benefits, the first of which is access to THE BATHROOM, a collaborative graffiti board” (Bored Ape Yacht Club). So, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is pretty much Webkinz for adults, but instead of a stuffed animal, you get a photo of an ape NFT (shown below), which is arguably less fun.

Examples of “Bored Apes”

The number of “apes” released by the official company is limited, only 10,000. Initially, the apes sold out in 12 hours for about $190 each. As of now, if you want an ape, you have to go on cryptocurrency trading sites. On the official website for Bored Ape Yacht Club, it transfers you to OpenSea, an NFT marketplace that uses cryptocurrency as their currency (cryptocurrency “is an encrypted data string that denotes a unit of currency”) Some of the most expensive apes are going for 42K ETH, a type of cryptocurrency known as Ether. Currently, one ETH is worth 3,088 US Dollars, but this number is perpetually changing. Doing some math, that makes the ape on the left (shown below) worth 129,909,072 dollars. Even the cheapest Bored Ape that I could find on OpenSea was worth 79.8 ETH, or 246,422 US Dollars. Like stocks, the worth of these NFTs and cryptocurrencies are ever changing, making them difficult to track and understand. 

A screenshot from OpenSea of the most expensive apes

After all this research, NFTs still exist as a cloud in my mind, a jumble of information about some abstract concepts that are being gatekept by the members of this community. I’m going to stick with my “Webkinz for adults” description, because I think it’s the easiest and more accurate way to define NFTs, specifically the Bored Ape Yacht Club. I would also like to point out that there are tons of NFT brands, such as Cool Cats, The Doge Pound, and Zenft Garden Society. I think that most people buy NFTs to sell and gain money, similar to how Bitcoin and stocks work, but NFTs have also become a status symbol. They’re so exclusive and expensive, so celebrities buy them to show importance. 




“Bored Ape Yacht Club.” BAYC, https://boredapeyachtclub.com/#/home. 

Chayka, Kyle. “Why Bored Ape Avatars Are Taking over Twitter.” The New Yorker, 30 July 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/infinite-scroll/why-bored-ape-avatars-are-taking-over-twitter. 

Clark, Nicole. “Why Celebrities Are Buying Bored Ape Nfts.” Polygon, Polygon, 27 Jan. 2022, https://www.polygon.com/22904893/nft-explainer-why-celebrities-buy-bored-ape-yacht-club-jimmy-fallon-paris-hilton. 

“Cryptocurrency.” Definition, https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/definition/cryptocurrency. 

“Non-Fungible Token.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Feb. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-fungible_token.