The History of Non-Fungible Token (NFTs)

Surprisingly Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs for short, have had somewhat of an interesting history. Whilst picking up notoriety amidst the whole crypto boom between 2020 and 2021, NFTs have actually been a thing for a little longer than dating back to those years.

NFT history has developed quite a bit over the years. Whilst many know them to be expensive JPEGs the history of NFTs has diverged away from just profile pictures and strange looking CGI monkeys.

There are multiple forms NFTs now take up including in-game items for crypto games, collectible items that offer real world incentives for those holding, art pieces and videos to name a few.

Whilst prices have lowered for NFT collections like CryptoPunk and Bored Ape Yatcht Club, the love for them and the community driving the mainstream adoption is still rampant. Don’t believe the headlines and misunderstanding! NFTs are here to stay and their history will hopefully live on.

With this in mind, let us look deeper into some moments in NFT history and why they are about to be another groundbreaking concept coming from the blockchain!


@ Emerging Europe

What is an NFT?

To set the stage for this article, we will give a widely accepted definition of what a Non-Fungible-Token is.

This gives those reading who may be new to this concept a clear understanding of what the article is covering and covers over any grey areas in knowledge and understanding.

“non-fungible token (NFT), a non-interchangeable digital asset such as a photograph, song, or video whose ownership has been authenticated and stored on a database called a blockchain and which can be collected, sold, and traded on various online platforms.” – Mark Cuban for Britannica

When was the first NFT minted?

Believe it or not the first NFT was released back in May of 2014, so a considerable amount of time before we saw them plaguing our Twitter feeds.

The first NFT to technically be minted was one called “Quantum” and was done so by Kevin McCoy on Namecoin. At this point Bitcoin was only worth around $318 by the end of the year so the whole space has come a long way since then!

The Quantum NFT is just a still JPEG and can generally be considered to be just a piece of art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and when you consider the nature of the piece of art, it is more than just a file on a computer screen. It is the birth of a modern phenomenon that has already swept the globe whether you like it or not.

Quantum has had quite the legacy. In 2021 it was sold at a Sotheby’s “Natively Digital” auction for a staggering $1.47 million.

Once the sale was complete and the NFT was acquired, some controversy followed as a company named, Nameless, went to court claiming they were actually the rightful owner.

Kevin had reportedly let his ownership expire a few years after the digital collectible was created.

Despite the court hassle and legal battle, the sale still stands and Quantum is proudly at the top of the most expensive NFT sales so far recorded.

Can it be beaten? Only time will tell I suppose.


@ Sotheby’s

What came next on the NFT timeline?

What occurred in 2014 was a catalyst for a new generation of online subcultures and media. Whether Kevin knew it or not at the time, he created a monster (a good one at that).

Currently in 2023 there have been some amazing projects come and go, and a lot of a fluff too. The good that has come from NFTs is groundbreaking to say the least.

Below we will cover some of the most notable projects and when they actually immersed onto the scene.


The very first official NFT game was released back in 2015. It was called “Spells of Genesis” and it comes as no surprise this project was a trading card game.

It currently is still active and has moved over to mobile devices also. It is the first of its kind and each NFT has a reference to the blockchain culture.


2016 was the year that birthed NFT art collections as we saw “Rare Pepes” birthed. These were NFT cards released with pictures of Pepe the Frog, the popular online meme.

Originally this project was released on Counterparty but after the NFT boom, it was migrated further over to the Ethereum blockchain by the founders of the project.


@ Rare Pepes


One of the world’s most notable NFT projects, CryptoPunks was released in 2017 by Larva Labs.

Each punk is different and is unique to the holder which is why flocks of celebrities and retail investors jumped on this project. It still remains prominent today and the ecosystem like many other of the early projects is still growing.

Did you know that CryptoPunks is actually the earliest collect build on Ethereum in the history of the blockchain list?


Axie Infinity, everyone’s favourite sprite battling card, was made in 2018 and has actually revolutionised blockchain gaming.

Whilst still being a card game it has opened up doors to the possibilities blockchain gaming holds as esports was brought to light on the blockchain through this game.

Whilst token prices have plunged, Axie Infinity is showing no signs of slowing down their developments.


Award winning sandbox builder and VR experience The Sandbox was brought to the blockchain in 2021 and proved a HUGE success through their marketing efforts.

Many won’t know this but The Sandbox was actually a 2D mobile game released back in 2012 however it made the transition over the blockchain on the Ethereum network and has not looked back since.


@ The Sandbox

NFTs and user generated content are at the heart of this game and it’s immersive gameplay is brought to us by a whole host of world famous brands and celebrities. A great introduction to NFT trading and the blockchain if you are yet to familiarise yourself with it!

What’s next for NFTs?

This past year we have seen the emergence of mainstream organisations utilizing NFT technologies such as Nike, Adidas, Starbucks and soon to be Amazon!

The gaming sector is really pushing NFTs as always along with the music industry as we see live experiences and collectibles being released by bands and DJs.

One thing we are after is legislation. Many are still falling victim to scams via the space and there is little to no repercussions for those acting out these vicious acts. As we have seen the whip cracked on staking legislation, we hope a similar one can be done for NFTs.

Going forward this would further legitimize this new concept and hopefully entitle people to educate themselves more!

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