“NFT” is 2021’s “Word of the Year,” Collins Dictionary announced Wednesday.
NFT is an abbreviation for non-fungible token, which according to the dictionary is “a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible.”
Perhaps the most well-known example of an NFT is “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” a collection of digital art made by graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple. In March, an NFT for the piece sold for $69.3 million.
Because of the blockchain technology, Beeple will continue to earn money each time his art changes hands. He gets 10 percent of the price after every sale.
Another American artist, Anne Spalter, sells some work as NFTs. At first, she did not think NFTs were a good idea, but then changed her mind. She said the technology has made people who might never go to an art gallery in person interested in art. She did, however, say she remained “mystified” by how high the prices have gone for some pieces.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold an NFT for his first tweet for $2.9 million.
“Whether the NFT will have a lasting influence is yet to be determined, but its sudden presence in conversations around the world makes it very clearly our Word of the Year,” the dictionary said.
In 2020, the word of the year was “lockdown,” but pandemic-related words like “double vaxxed” and “hybrid working” were still among the finalists for this year. “Crypto,” short for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, and “cheugy,” meaning clunky or outdated, were among this year’s finalists.