Despite the fact that a majority of Americans still don’t know what an NFT is, the non-fungibles have really taken over the country—burrowing their way into our wallets and also, apparently, our hearts.
America’s confusion likely stems from the fact that NFTs can be pretty much anything. Since the designation refers to a technical process by which a digital file is minted on the blockchain and transformed into a crypto asset, lots of stuff can qualify—so long as it goes through that process. So while the list of non-fungibles has included highfalutin content like postmodern murals and digital art videos, it has also included images of toilet paper, Gucci Mane’s sneakers, and something called a Pringles CryptoCrisp.
Well, if you have an iPhone, now you can turn practically anything into a unique, one-of-a-kind digital token. A new app is out that, by its own admission, lets you turn “every idea” into an NFT. It’s called S!NG, and it is the first and only free iOS app designed to let you create as many NFTs as you want. Where previously you would have had to pay a crypto exchange to get your asset minted, S!NG does all the minting for you, free of charge.
Founded by ex-Apple executive Geoff Osler, the company has sought to make its product really easy to use, too: it has a point-and-click function—so it’s basically as simple as taking a picture or making a recording on your phone to create them. You can also upload files. A spokesperson for the company laid it down like this:
S!NG allows anyone to create a gas-free NFT. Picture, sound bite, file, etc. Upload or point and shoot; once loaded up, the file is time-stamped on the Ethereum blockchain and therefore minted as an NFT.
That “gas-free” part is important, as it refers to the fees that are associated with minting NFTs. On most NFT exchange platforms, users are responsible for paying a “gas” fee, which covers the cost of actually creating the crypto asset. These can be pretty pricey, so it’s a good thing that S!NG lets you off the hook.
As the name of the app might suggest, it’s being marketed to artists and musicians. A video on the company’s website claims that S!NG wants to use NFTs to protect creators from intellectual property theft—which is an interesting idea. The thinking here seems to be that because the non-fungibles designate specific ownership over a unique digital asset, they can preclude you from getting your song lyrics or digital recording copied and legally foisted away from you. Thus, the website claims S!NG is the “easiest way to put a stamp on an idea, label it as your own, convert to an NFT and stored in a centralized portfolio,” also adding that the app is a space where ideas can be shared “confidently and hesitation free, without having to lawyer up.” In other words, it’s like that old trick of sending yourself a certified letter to copyright text or song lyrics: it works, but only barely.
While this all sounds pretty good, the flip side is that it makes S!NG sound almost like a notepad app, where every note becomes an NFT. When you consider the ecological toll that NFTs purportedly are wreaking on the world, maybe it’s not a great idea to make every thought you jot down a non-fungible? Then again, people are apparently working on this problem, so maybe we can assume it’ll be a short-lived issue.
Putting all that aside, the fact that the app has made NFT-creation so accessible is pretty wild, any way you slice it. The startup just completed its’ second round of private financing in March, and seems to be well on its way to becoming a very widely used product. The app’s designers have made it clear that accessibility is what they’re really offering here—which is a good thing to offer when you’re dealing with a poorly understood phenomenon.
“There is no learning curve or background in crypto needed to use our platform,” said the company’s spokesperson. “If you can take a picture, you can create an NFT.”