When NFTs first hit the public consciousness earlier this year in February 2021, it’s safe to say they caused something of a splash. It seemed everyone (and their mum) had an opinion on them. Whether it was total support, criticism of their environmental impact, or confusion at what on earth they are, it was all anyone could talk about. Months down the line and, although the initial frenzy and off-the-chart-prices have died down, NFTs are very much still a thing, and several platforms have begun to pop up aiming to remedy the problems – environmental, financial and logistical – and Voice, a platform launched just this month, is among them.
Before we go any further, if the NFT chat has passed you by or you’re still struggling to grasp it, there are few basic things you should know about NFTs and how they work, as explained by Voice: “By purchasing an NFT on the blockchain, you are given unbreakable ownership of the asset it represents, whether it be a piece of digital art, song, or virtual trading card. This ownership is verifiable via an audit of the related blockchain, and holds value in many different ways.” A key aspect is that NFTs are provably scarce – that is, when an NFT is minted (how your digital art becomes a part of the blockchain), a definitive number of copies are made – “this is encoded within the NFT and auditable via blockchain. Simply taking a screenshot of a work doesn’t mean you own the 1/1 or 1/80 token that gives ownership to a work.” In turn, if you own an NFT, it is immutably yours and cannot be taken away from you just because somebody takes your hosting site down. That means, “on the collector side, NFTs offer verifiable ownership and a way to directly support creators they love.”
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The initial rapid rise of NFTs can be attributed to major artist and celebrity buy-ins but the lockdown also contributed, says Voice’s VP of engineering William Anderson. Those who jumped on the bandwagon at the time were interested in investment opportunities, rather than artistic ones. However, William doesn’t “think a mechanism for investment is the only future of ‘art’ NFTs at all. I think they are an opportunity for creators and their fans to engage and grow.” Voice’s beta was built in direct response to this, guided by the company’s mission to put creators first. “At Voice, we leverage technology to benefit creators,” William explains. This means that, unlike other platforms, it’s free to create NFTs, plus Voice is carbon neutral and buyers can use credit cards. Thus, little to no crypto knowledge is needed, making selling or owning NFTs accessible to a much wider audience. As a digital creator himself, William can attest to the benefits of creating NFTs and he hopes that by bringing more people into the process, Voice will foster community. “Voice allows emerging creators to interact with fans and peers in really meaningful ways, and I’m pumped to both build and take part in that. I hope to see current community-first practices like swaps and digital commissions, and artist-to-artist support flourish,” he explains.