Amanda bought a house. But she didn’t go to the bank. She didn’t even meet the seller. Instead, she bought the house as an NFT.
Wait, slow down—what’s an NFT?
NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” which doesn’t explain much. “Non-fungible” means “one of a kind.” NFTs prove the authenticity of digital items, such as pictures and videos. When you buy an NFT, you tell the world, “This is the real one.” Other people might copy that cat picture or that funny GIF, but you own the original. Digital artists have made fortunes selling NFTs to online investors.
But one California-based real estate company wants to offer actual houses as NFTs. The company just sold the first NFT house in Gulfport, Florida, for 210 Ether—about $652,000. (Ether is the cryptocurrency that is traded on the Ethereum digital blockchain.)
How can you buy a real house with a digital token? When you purchase a home, you purchase the property rights. You receive a piece of information that says, “This is my house.” You can turn that information into an NFT.
You still need a physical housing deed to prove home ownership to the non-digital world. But you can buy the rights to that deed as an NFT. The NFT owns the house, and when you buy the NFT, you get the house with it.
But why go through all that trouble?
With NFTs, you don’t need a bank to record the purchase. Buyers and sellers can trade directly. Blockchain technology keeps the record for you. This technology logs transactions in a digital ledger that can’t be changed. Every computer that uses the blockchain helps ensure the record stays trustworthy. Digital cryptocurrencies such as Ether, which Amanda used to purchase her house, use blockchain to prove their value.
Some believe NFTs will make home-buying simpler. Instead of going through long meetings with bankers and realtors, you buy a house with the click of a button. It’s almost as easy as ordering . . . several thousand pizzas.
But should buying a house be that simple? For most people, home purchasing is a life-changing financial decision. Buying a house takes wisdom and preparation.
NFTs and cryptocurrencies carry their own risks too. They can drop in value without warning, so buying crypto can be like gambling.
Many believe that NFTs, cryptocurrency, and other blockchain technologies will play a huge role in our future. But for now, most home-buyers will still need to visit a local bank.
Why? Blockchain technology presents new possibilities for the future of the internet, but people still need to use their money with wisdom.