NFT Canon

The NFT Canon is a go-to resource for artists and creators, developers, corporations and institutions, communities and other organizations seeking to understand or do more with non-fungible tokens.

It’s a curated list of readings and resources on all things NFTs (inspired by the a16z Crypto Canon), and is organized from the big picture of what NFTs are and why they matter, to how to mint, collect, and do more with them — including various applications such as art, music, gaming, social tokens, and others. 

We will continue to update this as more people try out new things, share their work, or publish resources for learning about NFTs. If you have suggestions for quality pieces to add, let us know @a16z.

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The Big Picture, Beginners Guides, & FAQs

Life Is Non-fungible: The Evolution of Ownership, Assets, and Us  — ownership is deeply human; collectibles for self-expression, identity, money, trade
by Roham Gharegozlou
https://youtu.be/u894J50AqOs 

NFTs and a Thousand True Fans — evolution of the internet and better economics for creators
by Chris Dixon
https://a16z.com/2021/02/27/nfts-and-a-thousand-true-fans/ 

Stories, Scarcity, and Mimetic Desire — how NFTs turn millions of stories into scarce assets
by Nick Tomaino
https://thecontrol.co/stories-scarcity-and-mimetic-desire-c4a344fa74e1 

A beginner’s guide to NFTs — what they are, why they’re interesting, applications
by Linda Xie
https://linda.mirror.xyz/df649d61efb92c910464a4e74ae213c4cab150b9cbcc4b7fb6090fc77881a95d 

What is an NFT? — properties of blockchain-based non-fungible tokens
by Devin Finzer
https://opensea.io/blog/guides/non-fungible-tokens/#What_is_a_non-fungible_token 

All about NFTs — the what, why, and how of NFTs, their applications, and process as well as common questions & misconceptions
by Jesse Walden, Linda Xie, Sonal Chokshi
https://a16z.com/2021/03/27/nfts-explainer-faqs-hype-reality-innovation-crypto-creator-economy 

The new magic of NFTs the cases, the elements of crypto, and how it’s about so much more
Katie Haun interviewed by Tim Ferriss
https://tim.blog/2021/02/24/katie-haun-transcript/ 

NFTs invert the ownership model of media — offering creators, their audiences, and developers who build for them a viable alternative to platform-driven monetization
by Jesse Walden
https://variant.mirror.xyz/T8kdtZRIgy_srXB5B06L8vBqFHYlEBcv6ae2zR6Y_eo 

NFT subculture — properties of disruptive subcultures
by Denis Nazarov
https://d.mirror.xyz/OQrTGdbiDDKs-7it-URF2NYRG9xLMYEQcNnET8fah3I 

8 Reasons why crypto art > art and the new economy of digital creativity
by Scott Belsky
https://scottbelsky.medium.com/the-furry-lisa-cryptoart-the-new-economy-of-digital-creativity-6cb2300ea081 

Crypto Will Change Value, NFTs Will Change Society — how NFTs change internet, work, economics, business models, more
by Andrew Steinwold
https://andrewsteinwold.substack.com/p/crypto-will-change-value-nfts-will 

What Critics Don’t Understand About NFTs — the paradox of certain digital goods; NFTs’ value don’t convey anything resembling traditional ownership
by Jonathan Zittrain with Will Marks
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/04/nfts-show-value-owning-unownable/618525/

NFTs, the trend — overview, projects, players, lessons, haters, opportunities
by Dru Riley
https://trends.vc/trends-0050-non-fungible-tokens-nfts/ 

NFTs
by Saturday Night Live
https://youtu.be/mrNOYudaMAc 

Building Blocks & Technical Foundations

NFT metadata — on-chain, off-chain, storage, more
by Devin Finzer
https://opensea.io/blog/guides/non-fungible-tokens/#Non-fungible_token_metadata 

Do You Really Own Your NFT? — data storage, URLs vs IPFS, off-chain, more
by Dan Kahan
https://thedefiant.io/do-you-really-own-your-nft-chances-are-you-dont/ 

Non-fungible token standards — from Ethereum to non-Ethereum standards
by Devin Finzer
https://opensea.io/blog/guides/non-fungible-tokens/#Non-fungible_token_standards 

What is ERC-721? — non-technical explanation of how the original standard powering NFTs on blockchains works
by William Entriken
https://fulldecent.blogspot.com/2018/06/nontechnical-what-is-erc-721.html 

ERC-721 Non-Fungible Token Standard — powering unique, rare, collectible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain
https://eips.ethereum.org/EIPS/eip-721 

Crypto Glossary: Cryptocurrencies & Blockchains — key concepts and terms to know that relate to NFTs (cryptography, proof of stake, more)
by Alex Pruden and Sonal Chokshi
https://a16z.com/2019/11/08/crypto-glossary/ 

Crypto Wants to Be Seen — experiencing crypto in ways that enable creators to master it and be immersed in core concepts
by Kayvon Tehranian
https://thedefiant.io/crypto-wants-to-be-seen-op-ed-by-kayvon-tehranian/ 

Arts, Music, Gaming, Other Applications… and Creator Stories

Tips for Creators Getting Into Crypto
by Patrick Rivera
https://p.mirror.xyz/WQQywdjjfnksMRPMaNKBMxPBqfE5k8nL6pCLe1roGyw 

Ideas for building in NFTs — community as art, more [thread]
by Dylan Field
https://twitter.com/zoink/status/1372561281002004481

On NFT consumption, audience, utility — third-party consumption experiences and what’s needed
by Tal Shacher, Jonathan Glick, Jarrod Dicker
https://darkstar.mirror.xyz/bOWhYyX4u5mY0AfY-ObnQSOOcMVEmJQPVUFSw1qJsdc

Musicians meet audio NFTs — an overview of audio NFTs, limited edition audio/visuals experiences issued and sold as tokens on Ethereum
by Cooper Turley
https://coopahtroopa-eth.medium.com/musicians-meet-audio-nfts-aa495cfd2996 

The relationship between visual art and music
Devendra Banhart interviewed by Samantha Ayson
https://foundation.app/blog/devendra-banhart 

Two crypto creators — on art galleries to tokenized collectibles
by Pak, Signe Pierce, Zoran Basich
https://a16z.com/2020/11/22/crypto-for-creators-tokenized-collectibles-nfts/

How the blockchain broke the auction block — how is a Beeple JPEG worth $69 million?
by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and Mary Childs
https://www.npr.org/2021/03/12/976513031/the-69-million-jpeg 

Monetization for Gamers in the New Cryptoeconomy — how blockchain technology realigns economic relationships, collaboration, community, and creativity
by Kevin Chou
https://a16z.com/2020/03/09/monetization-for-gamers-in-the-new-cryptoeconomy/ 

Community economics and the limits of today’s game economies — on the economic activity inside and outside virtual game worlds like Animal Crossing
by Kaiser Hwang
https://techcrunch.com/2020/07/17/animal-crossing-new-horizons-and-the-limits-of-todays-game-economies/ [also at https://www.forte.io/?p=507

Where Crypto meets the metaverse — without the assumption of a robust economic membrane, the entire concept of the metaverse quickly collapses
by Piers Kicks
https://metaversed.net/Into-The-Void-Where-Crypto-Meets-The-Metaverse-263f1ff8c13c455ea472f5689e01acaa

Where Web3 meets the metaverse — NFTs & digital ownership, open vs. closed metaverse, “Direct-to Avatar Economy”, value chain of the open metaverse
by Packy McCormick
https://www.notboring.co/p/the-value-chain-of-the-open-metaverse  

Gamers want virtual goods with real-world value — survey from Vorhaus
by Dean Takahashi
https://venturebeat.com/2020/12/09/vorhaus-advisors-63-of-gamers-would-spend-more-on-virtual-goods-with-real-world-value/ 

Artists on collecting NFTs
by Samantha Ayson
https://foundation.app/blog/why-artists-are-collecting-each-others-nfts 

NFTs, digital art, and the value shift between IRL and virtual life
Trevor McFedries interviewed by Dan Frommer
https://newconsumer.com/2021/03/trevor-mc-fedries-interview-nft-fwb/ 

Creators, Artists, and Athletes — messaging creator coins to fans in videos
by Kurt Patat
https://medium.com/rallynetwork/video-creators-artists-and-athletes-discussing-their-creator-coins-with-fans-e633391b59e3  

Why I’m Collecting Black Crypto Art — on spurring a Black Digital Renaissance that could create and capture value for Black communities
by Cuy Sheffield
https://medium.com/@cuysheffield/why-im-collecting-black-crypto-art-c3cbba939d64 

Understanding NFTs as digital abstraction — view from traditional art world, Christie’s auction lead
Noah Davis interviewed by Valentina Di Liscia
https://hyperallergic.com/624053/nft-art-goes-viral-and-heads-to-auction-but-what-is-it/

On cryptocurrencies as content, communities, digital belonging
by Kyle Chayka
https://air.mirror.xyz/5A16bvvS2IJK7fVVNb2GwrrEcyey2B4UiH2l1DI_Y2I

Forefront Profiles — communities and social tokens creators
https://forefront.market/creators

Artists on NFTs and more
https://foundation.app/blog 

“The Greatest NFT Film Ever Made” creators share views on NFTs, properties, platforms, scaling, exhibitions, more across art, music, fashion, defi, the metaverse
The Defiant
https://youtu.be/cY9lM73ie0Q 

The Man Who Tokenized Himself Gives Holders Power Over His Life — on first ever Ethereum personal token sale
Alex Masmej interviewed by Vinamrata Chaturvedi
https://www.coindesk.com/man-who-sells-himself-now-wants-buyers-to-control-his-life

Social Tokens, Community Tokens, Personal Tokens (& NFTs)

Social tokens — a broad category of tokens issued by individuals and communities
by Linda Xie
https://linda.mirror.xyz/df649d61efb92c910464a4e74ae213c4cab150b9cbcc4b7fb6090fc77881a95d 

The fractionalization of NFTs will lead to better social tokens — objects, communities, more
by Brian Flynn
https://jammsession.mirror.xyz/-xYcfFRlhDdLDSUgRMTYJAaRJBs2VG4LP34DnOV84mI 

Loyalty Points and Social Tokens — social not just financial incentives in designing transactional communities of social tokens users
by Wong Joon Ian
https://medium.com/rallynetwork/loyalty-points-and-social-tokens-5046d1ca993 

Social Tokens Year in Review (2020) — digital assets backed by reputation of individual, brand, or community
by Cooper Turley with Jess Sloss, James Young, Scott Moore, Brian Flynn, and Priyanka Desai
https://2020inreview.forefront.news/

NFT Ecosystem; Funding Innovation, Orgs; Markets

Ecosystem overview — marketplaces; art, collectibles, games, virtual worlds; finance & trading
by Andrew Steinwold
https://andrewsteinwold.substack.com/p/-quick-overview-of-the-nft-ecosystem 

How to display crypto art — showcase sites, digital displays, metaverse galleries
by William Peaster
https://metaversal.banklesshq.com/p/how-to-display-cryptoart- 

How the CryptoPunks took physical form to participate in their first gallery show — paper wallets and a physical model for digital ownership
https://www.larvalabs.com/blog/2019-2-1-15-1/a-physical-model-for-digital-art-ownership-the-cryptopunks-in-their-first-gallery-show 

NFTs: A Legal Guide for Creators and Collectors — primer on just some of the considerations in the United States
by Amy Luo
https://www.coindesk.com/nfts-a-legal-guide-for-creators-and-collectors 

Where do NFTs capture value? — the NFT stack, breaking down the various layers, honing in on curation
by Cooper Turley
https://coopahtroopa.mirror.xyz/A16NP2XXi9RdHptfdF9WHR0Xq_E1XDmUgMwPmJYOG7w

The Most Important Scarce Resource is Legitimacy – on NFTs as public goods funding
by Vitalik Buterin
https://vitalik.ca/general/2021/03/23/legitimacy.html

“Post-Venture” Capital and the Crypto Nobel Prize
by Matt Stephenson
https://glyphx.medium.com/post-venture-capital-and-the-crypto-nobel-prize-29847faf3f08 

A beginner’s guide to DAOs — with examples of NFT collectives for art, gaming, more
by Linda Xie
https://linda.mirror.xyz/Vh8K4leCGEO06_qSGx-vS5lvgUqhqkCz9ut81WwCP2o 

The non-fungible token market — market size & growth (2019-2020), sale mechanisms, distribution
by Devin Finzer
https://opensea.io/blog/guides/non-fungible-tokens/#The_Non-Fungible_Token_Market 

Rankings

OpenSea
https://opensea.io/rankings 

CryptoSlam!
https://www.cryptoslam.io/ 

CryptoArt
https://cryptoart.io/

Other Resources – Newsletters & Digests

Zima Red — NFTs, virtual worlds, blockchain games
https://andrewsteinwold.substack.com/

The Forefront Newsletter — weekly digest of developments in social tokens, NFTs, DAOs
https://forefront.market/newsletter

History: Origins; Earlier and Other Forms of Crypto Art, Collectibles, & Games

Crypto trading cards (1993) — idea to promote digital cash
Hal Finney
https://protos.com/bitcoin-hal-finney-predict-nft-market-joke-1993/ 

Colored coins (2012) — earliest NFT project (tracking origin of a given bitcoin to distinguish it from the rest so it can have special properties or value for various applications)
by Yoni Assia, Vitalik Buterin, Lior Hakim, Meni Rosenfeld
web pdf

History of NFTs — from and before CryptoKitties onwards, games, and other experiments
by Devin Finzer
https://opensea.io/blog/guides/non-fungible-tokens/#History_of_non-fungible_tokens_2017_2020 

Rare Pepe (2017) — digital trading cards
by Fred Wilson
http://avc.com/2017/05/rare-pepe/ 

Skin-in-the-game coins (2018) — reputation mining, token-curated registries, early utility tokens
by Ryan Selkis
https://medium.com/messaricrypto/skin-in-the-game-coins-da0afdfdc650 

Will cryptocurrencies be the art market’s next big thing? (2018)
by Scott Reyburn
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/13/arts/cryptocurrency-art-market.html

Smart media tokens (2017)
from Steemit
https://smt.steem.io/smt-whitepaper.pdf 

Digital collectibles and the weird future of “digibles”
by Josh Stark
https://hackernoon.com/digital-collectibles-and-the-weird-future-of-digibles-f75f4bf0f9aa

How to code your own cryptokitties-style game on Ethereum (2017)
by James Martin Duffy
https://medium.com/loom-network/how-to-code-your-own-cryptokitties-style-game-on-ethereum-7c8ac86a4eb3

Acknowledgements: Thanks also to Guy Wuollet and Carra Wu for their additions above as well

image: Mona LisaCreative Commons 4.0; changes made by Greg Truesdell per Sonal Chokshi

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