What are NFTs and how do they work?
Earlier this month, world famous auction house Christie’s, held an online auction where a piece of art sold for $69 million. The artwork called ‘Everydays: The First 5,000 Days’was created by the artist Beeple. The piece of art is a JPG collage of 5,000 pieces of digital art that Beeple has produced every day since 2007.
Back in February an animated gif of Nyan Cat, a popular 2011 meme of a flying pop-tart cat, sold for more than and just a few weeks later musician Grimes sold some of her digital artwork for more than $6m.
What is an NFT?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a unique token that isn’t interchangeable with another, and they are mostly used as a method of buying and selling digital artwork and media.
Most NFTs are part of the blockchain of the Ethereum cryptocurrency. When you buy one using cryptocurrency, you can verify on the blockchain that you are the sole owner of that work: no one can re-create the exact same one that you have. Other blockchains can implement their own versions of NFTs.
There are several marketplaces that have popped up around NFTs, which allow people to buy and sell. These include OpenSea, Rarible, and Grimes’ choice, Nifty Gateway.
Are NFTs worth it?
Like any investment or stock there are risks, NFT prices can fluctuate, but they can also make people a lot of money.
They provide a secure certificate of ownership over a digital asset for a buyer, protecting the good’s value. Without an indisputable ownership record such as an NFT, the good is essentially worthless.
NFTs make it possible for people to sell something one day, but to also keep earning the next. They can be coded to allow the original creator to collect money each time the token trades hands, usually for between 2.5% to 10% of the .
“NFTs are the single biggest reorientation of power and control back into the hands of the artist basically since the Renaissance and the printing press,” Robert Alice, a London-based artist. He sold an NFT through Christie’s for $131,250, nearly ten times the estimated price. “It appeals to people who have built up their own audiences—maybe on social media—to go and sell work directly to their audience.”
“There’s a high amount of risk,”
“The important thing to understand about the NFT market is it’s very new. And we’re still going through different cycles that are establishing what is the real value of something.”
Harnessing APIs to unlock and operationalise your data
Data is the fuel that powers modern businesses. It’s widely accepted that unlocking insight from data is key to driving successful digital transformation and competitive advantage. Yet the gap between understanding the importance of data-driven insight and being able to achieve it remains stubbornly wide, as critical information remains locked away in silos. To overcome these challenges, businesses must try a new approach. API-led connectivity offers a reusable, standardised way to integrate data across multiple platforms, systems, and applications. When done right, it can be the fast-track to IT and business teams productivity, innovation, and growth.
A data explosion
The past decade has seen a data explosion. Analyst firm IDC predicted that over 59 zettabytes (ZBs) of data would be “created, captured, copied, and consumed” in the world last year alone. In the next three years it’s predicted to continue growing at a CAGR of 26%, during which time more data will have been created than during the past 30 years. At the top of any CIO or business leader’s wish-list is the ability to extract insight from these vast troves of information in order to make more effective decisions. According to McKinsey, data-driven companies are 1.5 times more likely to report revenue growth of greater than 10%.
Unfortunately, just like much of the population for much of the last 12 months, data is locked down and isolated. MuleSoft’s 2021 Connectivity Benchmark report reveals that data silos and existing IT infrastructure are making it difficult for most firms to integrate new technologies and make changes to IT systems and applications. In fact, currently less than third of enterprise applications on average are integrated, so there is still significant room for improvement. Those organisations that are able to connect the dots between their data stand to realise increased customer engagement, business transformation and innovation benefits.
Journey towards API-led integration
Legacy custom code point-to-point integration may have been fine a decade ago when enterprises ran relatively few applications. But today’s businesses need something altogether more agile. Point-to-point can be expensive and complex, which means IT ends up spending too much of its time on maintenance and not enough on innovation.
This is where APIs come in, offering a more seamless and cost-effective way to drive integration through discoverability, self-service, and reuse. Rather than building the same point-to-point integration for use in 10 different projects, which requires each to be maintained individually as unique sets of code, a single API can be developed to be reused across them all. An API-led approach therefore means companies only have to unlock each data set just once to empower business teams across the organisation to use that data in their own projects.
The value of this approach can be extended even further with today’s low-code tools, which support drag-and-drop integrations. This can help to ease the burden on IT teams and empower business users to deliver their own integration projects.
The LendingTree experience
One company that has driven major improvements through reusable APIs is online loans marketplace LendingTree. Originally its 16 different business units were operating with siloed, incomplete data, meaning 360-degree customer insight was impossible—affecting sales and the end-user experience. The firm was not able to capture or analyse call centre data, limiting its ability to improve experiences for its customers.
Using APIs to draw in data from multiple systems and databases in real-time, LendingTree was able to consolidate its customer data on Salesforce to create a single source of truth for cross-departmental teams. This approach empowers service agents by giving them access to individuals’ loan application history from a single console, drastically reducing the time it takes them to consolidate various sources of customer data. As such, its API-led integration approach has allowed LendingTree to free up time and resources to launch new capabilities faster.
The future’s digital
Organisations have been affected in many different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. But across the board, the desire among business leaders over the coming months will be to emerge from the crisis stronger than ever. Data-driven insight will be vital to this achievement, as businesses push ahead with digital innovation. API-led integration can help them to ensure that data strategies are long-lasting and sustainable, paving the way for long-term success and a brighter digital future.