UKC/UKH are launching a collection of Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, the digital collectible cryptoasset craze that's booming globally and gaining traction in the digital art world, the US NBA basketball fanbase and beyond.
"WTF is an NFT?!" we hear you ask. NFTs can be anything digital — a photo, video, artwork, a PDF, music, a Tweet, a newspaper column or even body parts — and they are made non-fungible (not interchangeable) by assigning a unique code to the asset that is then stored securely on a blockchain, a digital ledger where transactions are encrypted. Blockchains enable the existence of crytocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin, which rely on encryption to control and record the creation and transaction of monetary units.
The genesis of NFTs dates back to the early 2010s when 'digital tokens' called Colored Coins were used to represent assets ranging from property to company shares. As blockchains became more advanced, digital art such as memes became more prevalent and popular, resulting in the creation of the Cryptopunks and Cryptokitties characters in 2017. In the first two months of 2021, the amount of NFTs sold was quintuple the amount sold in all of 2020, lying somewhere in the hundreds of millions of US dollars, according to Forbes. On 11 March, a JPG file called Everydays: The First 5000 Days by digital artist Beeple was sold for $69.3 million by Christie's, attracting more than 180 bids in its final hour.
While we're not trading in the millions just yet, we're excited to start small and offer accessible NFTs to our UKC/UKH users for investment purposes. We're trading using the Ethereum cryptocurrency on the popular OpenSea platform. To buy one of our NFTs, you'll need to set up a digital wallet, such as MetaMask or Skrill. Our collection includes UKC/UKH-related content - our Olympic athlete profile cards, our legendary Indian Face Top Trumps cards, Rockfax topos, guidebook PDFs, UKH route cards and Alan James' Pokketz cartoons.
The basketball world has already recognised the potential of NFTs. In the US, the NBA launched their collectible Top Shot Moments, short video clips of memorable shots and goals, which have amassed over $500 million in sales so far. It's possible that clips of Adam Ondra pulling through the crux of Silence 9c, or Alex Honnold free soloing El Capitan could be minted and monetised in a similar fashion. As we expand our collection, we hope to collaborate with athletes and brands to create new NFT assets.
Journalist, former Technology Editor at The Guardian and one-time UKC Editor, Charles Arthur, commented: "When I look at the popularity of NFTs, I'm literally lost for words. I mean, climbers have always spent loads of money on collecting things - full sets of Friends, every size of RP - but now they can do it for topos too."
Prices start from 0.0015 ETH (£2). Use any currency exchange tool to get to grips with the value of Ethereum. UKC Supporters can access special rates. All funds raised will go towards a
fancy mansion for the boss site improvements.