NFTs (or non-fungible tokens) have recently been the center of discussion for many people. Creators can “mint” digital art, memes, Tweets, and collectibles into NFTs, which then gives each minted piece, otherwise known as a token, its unique signature (or fingerprint) that is embedded into a blockchain that can not be altered. However, some wonder why they can’t screenshot an NFT rather than purchase it.
Unless one finds the appearance of an NFT appealing, screenshotting one will provide no actual benefit, aside from intrinsic value and reference. If you were to screenshot an NFT, re-mint, or (even turn it into a physical object like a print) and sell it for a profit, you would be breaking copyright laws.
The visual aspect of NFTs leaves many people confused, unfortunately. Unless one is involved in NFTs, they may not understand the machinations and economy behind them.
This is where I try to educate you in simple terms so that by the end of the article, you understand why screenshotting an NFT is not the same as owning the original NFT. Let’s do this!
NFTs are Worthless or Not?
Before we go further, I need to mention that I am not a financial advisor and that this article or any other article on this website is not financial advice. I’m just a guy that creates NFTs and likes to collect NFTs.
NFTs are a type of cryptocurrency that separates themselves by revolving around uniqueness and individuality. While most cryptocurrencies can be bought and sold, each unit being the exact same as others, NFTs cannot be replaced. This is why they are called non-fungible.
NFTs are linked to blockchains, like Ethereum, which are databases that track the value, sales history, and ownership of each NFT as well as metadata and smart contracts (royalties). This means that if someone were to try and duplicate an NFT as their own, the blockchain would reveal its originality and fraud.
Also, if someone were to post an NFT (screenshot) without buying it, anyone with internet access could use the blockchain to figure out the true owner.
You can’t front with NFTs.
If you are in this situation and want to figure out who created the NFT, who owns the NFT, and how much it has sold for, you can use the techniques described in this post: How to Check the Ownership of an NFT (7 Methods).
There are numerous ways to protect yourself, and NFT platforms are trying to do the same by reducing the number of copycats out there. I just want you to be aware of the copyright/copycat problem and stay diligent when you decide to make a purchase. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The Other NFT Risk
While NFTs have this aspect of digital art and other media attached to them, this can also be a weakness in a way. If the blockchain or your crypto wallet were to crash or be hacked, the value of your NFTs would be lost, while physical art can be tangibly kept, admired, and guarded.
As such, someone should look at NFTs as economically as they can. NFTs can be risky, as many go unsold, and those that do are often sold at low prices, sometimes due to oversaturation. Of course, NFTs are still new and an emerging form of asset, meaning they could go up in value over time.
If you are curious about a potential bubble and crash, this article may provide some insight: When Will NFTs Crash? 3 Possible Scenarios.
Screenshotting an NFT
Many people may look at the NFT market and see it as overblown in value. Not only are many worthless, but if a draw for these tokens is the art associated with it, what stops them from just screenshotting them. Truthfully, there is nothing stopping someone from doing so.
If one were so inclined, they could even include a screenshotted NFT on their social media profiles. I’ve seen numerous CryptoPunks be used on Twitter profiles. In all honesty, someone may like how an NFT looks and want to use it like any other image. Their friends may not care either, leaving them with no pressure to credit whoever made the NFT.
As for concerns of financial gain and creative theft, there should be very little. As aforementioned, the blockchain contains information on every NFT, allowing for artists to be credited as original creators.
If someone wanted to purchase an NFT, they could very quickly figure out if they would be getting true ownership or if they were just paying for a screenshot.
The Concept of Ownership and Authenticity
Aside from the financial concerns that may go along with screenshotting NFTs, there is a bit of a cultural and psychological impact.
Owning an NFT has a sort of social status and, of course, intrinsic value to it that goes beyond its monetary value. Since all information on NFT ownership is publicly available, nobody can deny that you paid for it assuming you did.
This can similarly be seen in another avenue with sneakers like Jordan’s. When someone buys shoes, they may use the brand as a reason to purchase, as purchasing and showing off an authentic pair of Jordans can garner respect and admiration.
NFT collectors love to show off their collections. If you are ready to show off your amazing collection too then you will want to check out these 8 NFT social spaces.
However, having a fake one can be embarrassing when exposed, making any sort of purchase or effort damaging and worthless.
On a personal level, having complete access to an NFT you like can offer a sense of attachment and stability to the art. Plus, you are supporting a creator that may otherwise be struggling to make a living. It’s a significant sign of appreciation.
Just as buying your own art, digital or physical, can give you a stronger attachment to it, the same concept applies to art and collectibles that are NFTs.
Should You Screenshot an NFT?
Screenshotting an NFT is a mostly harmless action. If someone creates an NFT, they should understand that they do so under the terms of the NFT marketplace.
As such, their art or creation is protected by the interests of economics. Since a screenshot cannot interfere with economics, then the artist or creator should have little to worry about.
On the other side of the issue, if an artist or creator hopes to create NFTs with the intention of artistic integrity, they should understand that others may want to use their work for themselves.
In such a case, it would be hard to challenge their creative use since NFTs are an economic asset at their core. Going a route other than NFTs may be best for artists or creators in this situation.
As for someone that wants to screenshot an NFT, they should understand that they will gain nothing financially. All that a screenshot can give them is a picture that they can use, but do not own. For them, it would basically be the same as screenshotting work done by another artist.
As with any new trend or item, NFTs are surrounded by quite a bit of confusion and misunderstanding. There are plenty of haters out there, but the tides are turning. While this will go away over time, many might be wondering how it works or what makes it special. As a result, the idea of screenshotting NFTs seems like an easy way around buying them.
Truthfully, there is nothing stopping someone from screenshotting an NFT or sharing that screenshot. However, this offers no financial benefit, and attempts at repurposing the screenshot as an NFT can be easily proven.
If you’re curious about making your own NFTs and cutting minting costs, you will want to read these two money saver articles:
- What is the Average Cost to Mint and Sell an NFT? (Top Marketplace Examples)
- How To Sell NFTs Without Gas Fees (or less) | Complete Guide