Where to buy NFTs: Understanding irreplaceable tokens and how to avoid scams before you invest

Where to buy NFTs: Understanding irreplaceable tokens and how to avoid scams before you invest

CHICAGO (WLS) — You may have heard of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. The I-Team explains what they are and how to avoid NFT scams before you invest.

NFTs can be proof of ownership of digital assets such as images or music. Some artists are cashing in on the NFT craze, but you can also lose money due to a volatile market and even scammers.

There are no guarantees or government regulations in the NFT world, but your images can be worth money when you convert them to NFT.

NFT stands for non-fungible tokens, which means it is a unique property. They are created online on the blockchain, which is essentially a digital record of transactions.

“Then people can have proof of ownership,” said Chicago-based digital artist Willea Zwey.

She said she was cashing in on the craze by turning her digital images into NFTs and selling them.

RELATED: What is an NFT? Experts explain what ‘irreplaceable token’ actually means

“So the technology of, like, NFT really allows — to really give that sovereignty to artists and allow them to, in a way, make money and make money from selling their art,” Zwey said.

But can people right click on NFTs and copy them?

Zwey says yes, but “they’re not the collector. Only the collector has proof on the blockchain that says they’re the owner. They’re the sole owner of that piece.”

Then the rightful owner can cash out.

Even if you are not an artist, you can buy and sell other NFTs. It’s like buying and selling investments in a virtual art gallery.

However, a warning to consumers, could the value of all this fall?

“Yes, absolutely,” said Brian Uzzi, a professor of leadership at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. “One is, you could buy an NFT, pay a lot of money for it because you think the artwork will go up in value, and it will for the NFT, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. In fact, you might be going in the opposite direction.”

Uzzi adds that you should do your research thoroughly and beware of NFT scams. You can buy an image that isn’t really on the NFT blockchain, or you can pay businesses that may claim to convert your image to NFT, but that business could take the money and run.

“If you’re an artist and someone comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, NFTs are a way to make extra money with your art. I could set you up with NFTs that you could then sell to consumers.’ I think that would be something you’d want to look closely at to make sure it’s legitimate,” he says.

Zwey advises to always do your own research,

“There’s a lot of information floating around in this space, isn’t there? Now. And then, unfortunately, some of it isn’t the best you know, take advice,” she said.

Before buying an NFT, google the service, look for reviews about it and try to talk to others who have had good results with the service. Also, be sure to use a credit card so you can dispute charges if you don’t receive the service you paid for.

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