A lesson in the new digital world Q&A on NFTs and Cryptocurrency (Thanks @NickCarter)

by | Nov 9, 2021 | Nick Carter

In case you haven’t followed Nick Carter real closely lately, let me get you in on a secret: He’s really into cryptocurrency and the new digital marketplaces.  

So much so that he has announced that he is releasing an album and even sooner, a single as NFTs.  For those of us that have not made it to the digital world of currency yet, all the acronyms and names thrown out there like NFT, Bitcoin, HUMBL, Zinu, TKINU, and Dogecoin among so many others are just a confusing bunch of alphabet soup.  

To get a little more information on what the heck all this stuff is and most importantly, what I need to do to be ready to get these singles and albums when they come out, I tracked down a fellow Backstreet Fan who has been dabbling (or diving) in the crypto world for some answers. Sonya has been following the crypto world for a few years now because she is an avid collector of many items which have become popular in the digital platforms. She shed a little light on this ever expanding (and extremely confusing) concept of digital marketplaces.

First, Nick’s typical caution: We are not Financial advisors, nor are we claiming to have all the answers to Nick’s specific situation with regard to his upcoming album.  These are speculative answers based on what we know of the digital marketplace right now, today. In fact, this post is in its 3rd revision because things have changed so quickly just within the last few weeks with HUMBL specifically.  As Nick always says, invest at your own risk!

Aimes: What is an NFT?

Sonya: It stands for Non Fungible Token. “Non-fungible” just means it’s something that can’t be replaced by anything else, so it is basically one of a kind or unique. The token part is what makes it digital, it is a digital asset. Non Fungible can be digital, it can be anything. 

For example, a 1 of a kind trading card in non-fungible because it can’t be replaced.

Aimes: Ok, so if it is a non-fungible trading card, if you traded it, you’d be trading for a different item, not the same card. So it is unique in that way?

Sonya: Yes. When the non-fungible item is a token, it means it is digital or located online.  But there is only a limited quantity of that item.

Aimes: So it is just an item?

Sonya: Not necessarily, it can be an item, or content like the Backstreet Boys NFT they just put out which is a video clip.

Aimes: Why are they the new big thing? Why would I want that rather than, say, a YouTube video?

Sonya: A NFT is a unique identifier that can cryptographically assign and prove ownership of digital goods. It belongs to you, rather than just being a public item.

Aimes: So it can’t really be stolen. It is yours unless you sell or transfer it? Like a collector’s item.

Sonya: Yes, for collectors, this is a cool way to access unique and rare content. 

Aimes: Ok, so like having a classic car.  There are only so many of them and if you are a big car person, that means a lot.  But in this case it’s just digital.

Sonya: Yes. And NFTs for artists are really cool because it is a way to sell your work and ensure that they are compensated for their work while sharing it. They are securely recorded on a Blockchain, which ensures it is one of a kind. This technology makes it difficult to counterfeit it.  

Aimes: Ok, but what is Blockchain?

Sonya: Basically Blockchain is a type of database that differs from typical databases because of the way it stores information.  They store data in blocks, or groups of information, and then when that block is full, they chain or link it to the last block. That sets it up in chronological order.

Aimes: So why is that important?

Sonya: It’s just a place to store information and NFTs live within the blockchain.  The transactions that happen, like buying or selling an NFT, are digitally recorded on the blockchain which makes it so that it can’t be stolen or replicated.  The transactions are visible to everyone and can’t be deleted. They are permanently there. 

And then remember that NFTs are securely recorded on a blockchain — the same technology behind cryptocurrencies — which ensures the asset is one-of-a-kind. The technology can also make it difficult to alter or counterfeit NFTs.

Aimes: That would be appealing to artists because no one can steal your work, right?

Sonya: Right.

Aimes: What is cryptocurrency?

Sonya: Basically crypto is a digital currency, and can be used to purchase a variety of tangible and non-tangible items.  Technically speaking, it is a digital currency in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralized system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority.

Aimes: So it’s just money, essentially, but in digital form.

Sonya: Basically, yes.

Aimes: What is HUMBL?

Sonya: HUMBL is a digital platform.  They want to connect consumers and merchants in a digital economy so they have a marketplace for buying, selling, and trading items.  Similar to a store, but in digital form.  You can go to their website and see what is for sale.  

Aimes: So it’s like amazon but for NFTs and cryptocurrency stuff…

Sonya: It is like an online store in a simplified sense.  But each marketplace is a bit different. The basic premise of the marketplace is that you have access to the items, but there is a limited quantity of the item because it is supposed to be rare.  Once you have the item, you can turn around and sell it for a higher cost because they are rare. And then on the backend, the artist earns their royalties from the sale.  HUMBL also has a ticket marketplace that they launched earlier this year, where they offer consumers tickets to sporting events, concerts, etc. That might be what Nick is planning to use to sell tickets for his album Listening Party.

Aimes: Ok, so what is Nick doing with this album?

Sonya: So, that is hard to say because all we really have up until now is the press release.  But from what he has said, it seems like the album is going to be available on the HUMBL marketplace as an NFT/digital download. So you can purchase the album that way and then likely you would be prompted to download it either within their app, or in a related app.

Aimes: So do I need cryptocurrency to be able to buy it?

Sonya: Yes, if it’s sold the same way other items in the HUMBL marketplace have been sold as of today – you’d need a digital wallet.  This part is a little tricky because they just released a HUMBL wallet over the weekend and their HUMBL Pay app.  But before they released the HUMBL wallet, you’d use a digital wallet through MetaMask to complete the purchase. MetaMask is a software cryptocurrency wallet used to interact with the Etherum blockchain. With MetaMask, you can send and receive transactions between standard Ethereum addresses, such as those owned by individuals and merchants. In this case, HUMBL is the merchant and I would be the individual. Once you create your MetaMask account and you link it, you can complete your transaction in US dollars – HUMBL will use your MetaMask account to complete the transaction.

Now, they have this new in app wallet, and it is brand new, so it’s hard to say what that will look like.  Likely, it’ll be similar in the sense that you would transfer digital funds into the HUMBL wallet either through transactions with other digital wallets or directly within HUMBL, and can use that currency to purchase items from the HUMBL marketplace.  Again, this is brand new, so it’s hard to say if that is accurate or if HUMBL wallet will be the only way to interact with the HUMBL marketplace or if you would still be able to use MetaMask. 

Aimes: Then what is the draw for using this app or digital platform over just Itunes?

Sonya:Many believe cryptocurrency can eventually replace cash (here is a deep dive on why you should care about crypto if you’re interested in learning more – What Is The Point Of Cryptocurrency? (4 Reasons Why You Should Care) | Data Overhaulers). A lot of artists can customize their offering to include other things with it (meet and greets, redeemable codes for something physical, etc). The artist can also receive royalties every time a buyer of the asset sells it to somebody else. This puts a lot of power back in the hands of artists who now have another way to monetize their art or other forms of digital merchandise. That all depends on how the artist sets it up though. 

Aimes: And then Nick also announced he is doing a listening party and tickets are going to be made available on HUMBL.  So if I wanted to go to that, I would just wait for the announcement, click the link and buy the tickets, using cash or cryptocurrency, just like I would if it was ticketmaster or evenbrite or whatever?

Sonya: Likely, yes. HUMBL actually has its own Ticket marketplace that it launched earlier this year like I mentioned earlier. It looks like you can purchase tickets the same way you would through LiveNation or Ticketmaster (using a credit card).

Aimes: So that would be different than the marketplace because you wouldn’t need the digital wallet?

Sonya:If it’s sold the way other tickets are currently being offered in the HUMBL ticket marketplace, then yes – it looks like you can purchase using just a credit card and they don’t require you to do anything through the HUMBL Pay wallet or anything else. But again, we have very little info to go on outside of the press release that this would happen and what we can see with the current HUMBL ticket marketplace. We’ll have to wait and see, but I bet they will make it an easy process for anyone who wants to go to purchase tickets.

Aimes: What is Nick doing with this NFT lyric video and why would I buy it rather than just watch it on YouTube or TikTok?

Sonya:If it’s offered as an NFT and you buy it, you’d become owner of the asset you bought (it’s like owning a baseball trading card – you could take pictures of the trading card and send them to people but you would own the card you took a picture of).  Nick did announce today that they are minting the artwork for it, so that might be the NFT he was referring to before.

Aimes: How does buying music with an NFT benefit the artist rather than streaming or buying in other ways?

Sonya: NFTs can be set up to where the owner can collect royalties every time the NFT transfers hands. Say a music artist had a physical item like a CD they have autographed, and someone buys it for $20. That person could turn around and sell it for $50, the person buying it for $50 could sell it for $100. The artist isn’t earning anything off the continuous resale of the album. But if it were an NFT, they could earn 10% royalties (most royalties are capped at 10%)every time a transaction happens.

NFTs could have a huge effect on streaming platforms – with streaming platforms, artists likely aren’t earning enough money the way they would if consumers were purchasing physical CDs. 

Aimes:  Ok, so then that means that the artist is acknowledged and compensated for their work, even if it is sold. If someone purchases a CD, they have the ability to sell that for a profit, but that no longer benefits the artist. 

Sonya: Right.

Aimes: So it seems like HUMBL is like a digital store and I can use either crypto or regular cash to purchase the item, as long as I have that digital wallet set up.  Once I purchase it, I own it and can sell or transfer it if I choose, and any time it gets transferred, it benefits the artist if they have the royalties set up, so they are compensated for their work. 

Sonya: It’s exciting to see artists and athletes finding new ways to monetize their work.  It’s another way for them to continue to make money, but also a clever way to individualize their offerings. Whoever is issuing these NFTs have more control over them.  It is a way for artists to ensure they are being compensated for their work. 

And there you have it…Crypto in a nutshell.  My big takeaway is that once we get the links to purchase, it should be fairly straightforward.  Hopefully we will get those announcements and links *soon*!

Another Warning: We are not Financial advisors, nor are we claiming to have all the answers to Nick’s specific situation with regard to his upcoming album.  These are speculative answers based on what we know of the digital marketplace right now, today. In fact, this post is in its 3rd revision because things have changed so quickly just within the last few weeks with HUMBL specifically.  As Nick always says, invest at your own risk!

Tags: Cryto | Humbl | NFT | Nick Carter

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