NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are unique and indivisible blockchain tokens. They can be used to represent and prove ownership of digital products such as works of art, in-game items or characters, virtual trading cards and much, much more. Because an NFT can be used to represent ultimate ownership, they allow users to trade digital items and cryptographically guarantee provenance.
One interesting feature is that Ergo can be used to create PoW-backed NFTs. For most NFTs, a user simply generates a UTXO with the token contract attached. But it’s also possible for miners to create special NFTs, where the id of the newly minted token is the id of a coinbase transaction. This has all kinds of potential use cases, but the core idea is that a miner has the opportunity to create a special NFT when they mine a block. While any number of NFTs can be created via a regular smart contract, a finite number of these PoW-backed NFTs can exist.
There are other applications of NFTs that use the extended UTXO model, including facilitating a new generation of complex dApps. For example, a dApp creator can generate an NFT associated with an address and smart contract. While anyone can use that contract, and even create a transaction using the private key of that address, the NFT owner can still maintain administrative rights or other privileges.
Let’s say you create a phenomenally successful exchange dApp, which pays a small percentage of trading fees to the owner – designated by ownership of that NFT. That token, and future revenues, can now be transferred and sold. The token can also be managed by a secondary smart contract, which could divide revenues among 100 tokens representing shareholders. The NFT could be used to update the dApp, or shut it down, if necessary – whatever conditions were coded into it. The point is that the NFT provides guaranteed, unforgeable proof of identity.