NFTs are a hot topic in the digital world, and while many may associate them with expensive JPG images, there is a lot more to explore in the world of non-fungible tokens, especially when it comes to written works. In 2021, there was a surge in NFTs for digital art, but the idea of NFTs for the words people have written on a page has yet to reach the same level of popularity.
Writing is often seen as the purest form of art, as it captures thoughts and ideas and brings them to life through prose. So, why aren’t people already creating NFTs for written works? Text in the written form could lend itself nicely to NFTs for articles, poems, short stories, novels, and ideas. There is already a market for first editions of books, so it’s safe to assume that there are collectors who would be interested in owning the first manuscript of books by well-established authors.
Furthermore, the idea of creating an NFT for a breakthrough or innovative idea is fascinating. It is analogous to creating a trademark or a patent, but without the need to work with a third party. By creating an NFT of an idea captured on a page, the original creator can forever prove that they were the first person to capture the idea.
Several related ideas for text-based NFTs are already being explored. For example, Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, sold an NFT of his first-ever tweet recently for $2.9 million, and Ethereum developer Nick Johnson has started creating Amulets, which are short sentences stored as NFTs.
However, there is potential to go even bigger and simpler with text-based NFTs. Imagine owning an NFT of the Bitcoin Whitepaper signed by Satoshi, the original Ethereum Whitepaper signed by Vitalik, or the first draft of a novel written by a renowned author. These are true collector’s items.
To address the technical aspects of creating NFTs for written works, a suitable format for the source text of these NFTs needs to be determined. Markdown, a widely used format in writing circles, is considered an ideal format for capturing raw text as it provides just enough formatting to meet the needs of most writers. If Markdown is not possible, PDF, as an open format, could also be considered.
Creating NFTs of written works can be seen as a form of intellectual property registration using the blockchain. It allows creators to prove that they were the original person to register that intellectual property. This is especially valuable for creative individuals who want to officially attribute their ideas to themselves.
While the concept of NFTs for written works is still in its infancy, the potential for this market is significant. As the technology and understanding of NFTs evolve, it will be interesting to see how written works are incorporated into this innovative digital space.