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I Tried to Understand NFT Art. It Wasn't What I Expected

NFT art has plenty of issues. But with the right tech, it could become totally normal in a few years.

When I began my quest to understand NFTs, I did not think I would end up buying one. Yet there I was, scanning a QR code with my phone in the middle of an art exhibit, spending $69 of my own real money to become the proud owner of a jpeg. 

The image, named Independence, is of a sculpture of the Statue of Liberty surrounded by a pair of metallic snakes, designed by an artist who goes by the name Fvckrender. (He may be a big deal in the NFT art world, but I still had to bleep out his name in my video.) 

For three days this summer, I ran around a New York City NFT convention, toured physical NFT art galleries and spoke to the artists and entrepreneurs building this new realm of digital property -- and of course, tried to understand what people even do with their NFTs. I learned that NFTs are much more than overpriced cartoons of bored apes you buy using cryptocurrency -- although there are plenty of people trying to get rich off various pixelated animal heads. 

Bridget Carey scanning a QR code to buy an NFT called Independence.

Look, ma, no crypto. In learning about NFT art, I find myself buying a piece by scanning a QR code and entering my credit card number -- as easy as buying shoes online. But what do you do with digital art?

Candice Greene/CNET

This new way of buying and selling digital property is -- no question about it -- absolutely wacky. A lot of it is also problematic. Yet to my surprise, while immersing myself, I found a side of it all that is almost hopeful and inspiring in its potential for the art world, and I learned what it will take for NFTs to be part of our everyday lives. 

You can follow my quest to understand NFT art in the video above.