Non-fungible tokens: taking rules further beyond the edges of art
Foreword: M. Chiriatti
Some surprising operations linked to the world of digital art and collecting have turned the spotlight of global awareness on NFTs, the non-fungible tokens. However, these new instruments use such a versatile technology that in the last few months we have witnessed their diffusion in the most disparate fields, with a fortune that has assumed an exponential trend.
Like the whole cryptoasset sector, however, there is no shortage of lively discussion about the risks that can emerge from this new market. For many, it would be “yet another” tulip bubble or, even worse, a new and sophisticated fraud instrument that will favor money laundering; others, instead, welcome the NFT phenomenon as a new paradigm, particularly suitable to ensure certification and ownership of goods and rights, by virtue of the fiduciary thrust granted by the community of users to the decentralized “circuit” based on the blockchain.
The peculiarity of unfungibility, the fact that NFTs contain unique, unmodifiable and non-inter- changeable information, capable of uniquely identifying a digital object and/or a right inherent to a physical asset, could indeed make them susceptible to represent certificates, licenses, credentials and other objects or documents that need to be kept safe, in digital form, preserving them from potential counterfeiting or abuse. However, like any innovation conveying value, the relevant market needs awareness and, above all, clear rules to work and evolve.
As it happened for other crypto-activities, also for NFT there is a widespread belief that the lack of a specific regulatory framework allows, even today, to avoid the application of already existing rules. But the “Code is law” idea, i.e. that it is a code that generates a self-sufficient rule, has been largely disproved by the countless interventions of governments and supervisory authorities, waiting for the efforts of lawmakers to arrive at a synthesis, with the issuance of dedicated rules designed for the novel- ty that blockchain has introduced. If we have to talk about rules, we have to do so not only at a domes- tic level, but also and above all at a transnational level, given the natural global dimension of the web, where NFTs now transit daily. It will be a very near future to tell us if it is really a speculative bubble or if the non-fungible tokens will conquer a stable effectiveness in a normalized market. In the mean- time we can’t help but follow closely their impressive application development.