Joe Rogan joined many other people in trying to figure out what NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are, after comedian and musician Reggie Watts brought up the popular digital art trend during a recent episode of the JRE podcast.
After Watts talked about going to an NFT installation, Rogan said, “Hold it please. Explain NFTs to people who don’t know what you’re talking about. Because I don’t know what you’re talking about. I do, but I don’t. I know it’s a non-fungible token, but I don’t really know what that means.”
Watts joked, “Well it’s just not very fungible. You know how tokens are super fungible? These aren’t very fungible.” Rogan responded, “What does fungible mean? Let’s Google it.”
Rogan asked his producer, “Young Jamie” Vernon, to look it up on DuckDuckGo, and they found out fungible is an economic term. Rogan read off the screen, “(of goods contracted for without an individual specimen being specified) able to replace or be replaced by another identical item; mutually interchangeable.” He then read the example, “it is by no means the world’s only fungible commodity.” And said, “OK, I understand it even less now.”
According to The Verge, “Non-fungible” more or less means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. For example, a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. A one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible. If you traded it for a different card, you’d have something completely different. You gave up a Squirtle, and got a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner, which StadiumTalk calls “the Mona Lisa of baseball cards.” (I’ll take their word for it.)”
The Verge adds, “At a very high level, most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin or dogecoin, but its blockchain also supports these NFTs, which store extra information that makes them work differently from, say, an ETH coin. It is worth noting that other blockchains can implement their own versions of NFTs.”
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Watts Explained to Rogan That He Has Made NFTs Himself
Watts, who leads the house band for The Late Late Show With James Corden, told Rogan he has made and sold NFTs. Watts said, “So basically, I’ve made a little video of me, 30-second video of me, running around a park or something like that. If I want to make that non-fungible, then I mint it. And by minting, use a minting service like Foundation or Zora or there’s many others, you get a crypto wallet and you get the crypto wallet set up and you put money in it. It’s converted into the crypto of your choice. So let’s say ETH, which is very popular. Ethereum.”
Rogan interjected, “What? That’s a very popular crypto.” He turned to Vernon and asked, “Have you heard of that. … F****** nerds, both of you.” Watts then showed Rogan some NFTs he had created:
See the top left, that’s the Looking Glass holographic display. And so that device, we made an NFT, me and my friend Panther Modern … He made the 3D motion graphics on the TVs and designed all of that stuff. We shot a bunch of video of me doing the thing, we inserted them on the TV screens. And then we formatted it. It’s on a loop. It’s got music with it. And that is then put into this device. I’m trying to push this phrase, called phygital, meaning the convergence of physical and digital media. So that’s like a perfect representation. The NFT is sold with the device. So when you bid on it, you win it or whatever, that device is sent to you.
There’s laser etching on the back that says the name of the piece, who made it, and so forth. But technically it’s that unit with the hologram, so it’s the world’s first holographic NFT. Which was bought by Charlie Lee, who created Litecoin, another cryptocurrency. He bought it for almost nothing. So he now has the physical unit that has the hologram in it. And you could ostensibly just put it on a shelf and call it good. Or you could use the display to upload more holographic stuff if you want. So that was the first holographic NFT. Those other videos that you saw cycling were just standard, ‘Here’s a video, we made it an NFT.’
Rogan asked, “But then someone can’t replicate that video?” Watts replied, “Exactly, they hold the license to it.” Rogan said, “Right. But if you just replicate it and have it on your laptop, how’s someone going to stop you?”
Watts answered, “I guess if you were trying to make money from it, then you couldn’t. Something like that. You wouldn’t be able to make money off of it. Technically, you could screenshot it, you could screen capture it. If it’s a video. In this case it’s a hologram so you would have to have a looking glass device and you’d have to get the file to see it. Which is available.”
Rogan Asked, ‘How Would You Go About Being Actually Rich With This?’
Rogan said, “But it’s stunning when you hear guys like Beeple sold an NFT for what $59, $69 million.” Rogan asked, “And how would you go about being actually rich with this? How does Beeple go from this to being a baller?” Watts answered, “Well, you know, they bid, whoever bids just like a regular auction. And they bid using crypto. And the crypto is transferred before they transfer the file.”
Watts then told Rogan that yes, Beeple could convert the crypto into dollars and then put it into a bank account. “And then you could buy a Ferrari,” Rogan added.
Vernon then explained that in some NFT contracts there is a clause where when the person who bought it sells it, 10 percent of the sale goes to the original creator.
Watts said, “Yeah, you set the resale. So on ours, we did 15 percent. Which is the average.”