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 create, collect, build on top of and with them — including FAQs, ecosystem overviews, and various applications such as art, music, gaming, DAOs, social tokens, community 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, please let @smc90 know.]

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    The Big Picture & Key Concepts

    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 

    NFTs and a Thousand True Fans — evolution of the internet and better economics for creators
    by Chris Dixon 

    Stories, Scarcity, and Mimetic Desire — how NFTs turn millions of stories into scarce assets
    by Nick Tomaino 

    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 

    NFT subculture — properties of disruptive subcultures
    by Denis Nazarov 

    Creators, communities, and the gray space in the middle where they meet — the next evolution of communities (belonging and stakeholders); how creators can create their own markets; programmable art
    by Nichanan Kesonpat

    Proof of passionconnecting the history of the social internet to NFTs today
    by Tal Shachar and Jonathan Glick

    Crypto changes value, NFTs change society — how NFTs change internet, work, economics, business models
    by Andrew Steinwold 

    Crypto fundamentals and NFTs — eras of the web, blockchain architecture, last decade in crypto;
    rise of NFTs, future of NFTs
    by Patrick Rivera
    [link to presentation in Google Slides]

    Beginners Guides and Explainers

    A beginner’s guide to NFTs — what they are, why they’re interesting, applications
    by Linda Xie 

    What is an NFT? — properties of blockchain-based non-fungible tokens
    by Devin Finzer 

    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 

    8 Reasons why crypto art > art — and the new economy of digital creativity
    by Scott Belsky 

    Demystifying NFTs — ‘monetized memes’, NFTs tokenize all the things, authenticate the world
    by Naval Ravikant

    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

    NFTs, the trend — overview, projects, players, lessons, haters, opportunities
    by Dru Riley 

    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 

    by Saturday Night Live 

    Technical Foundations

    NFT metadata — on-chain, off-chain, storage, more
    by Devin Finzer 

    Do You Really Own Your NFT? — data storage, URLs vs IPFS, off-chain, more
    by Dan Kahan 

    Non-fungible token standards — from Ethereum to non-Ethereum standards
    by Devin Finzer 

    What is ERC-721? — non-technical explanation of how the original standard powering NFTs on blockchains works
    by William Entriken 

    ERC-721 Non-Fungible Token Standard — powering unique, rare, collectible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain 

    NFT standards wishlist — from royalties to splits
    by Sean Bonner

    Building with NFTs: Creator Economies, Communities, Tokens, DAOs

    Crypto Wants to Be Seen — experiencing crypto in ways that enable creators to master it and be immersed in core concepts
    by Kayvon Tehranian 

    The Creator Economy: NFTs and beyond — how musicians, artists, and writers can think about NFTs and social tokens; how different types of assets can interact to create models that haven’t existed before
    by Kevin Chou, Jesse Walden, Chris Dixon

    Ideas for building in NFTs — community as art, more [thread]
    by Dylan Field

    On NFT consumption, audience, utility — third-party consumption experiences and what’s needed
    by Jarrod Dicker, Tal Shacher, Jonathan Glick

    On cryptocurrencies as content, communities, digital belonging
    by Kyle Chayka

    Analyzing NFTs as Social Networks Using the Status-as-a-Service Framework
    by Packy McCormick

    Come for the creator, stay for the economy — decentralized protocols aren’t social networks, they’re cryptoeconomic networks; milestones for phases
    by Patrick Rivera

    Power to the person — The creator economy, NFTs, and the rise of the solo corporation
    by Packy McCormick

    Social tokens — a broad category of tokens issued by individuals and communities
    by Linda Xie 

    Individual before community: Why creator tokens will precede community tokens
    by Alex Masmej

    The fractionalization of NFTs will lead to better social tokens — objects, communities, more
    by Brian Flynn 

    Loyalty Points and Social Tokens — social not just financial incentives in designing transactional communities of social tokens users
    by Wong Joon Ian 

    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

    A beginner’s guide to DAOs — with examples of NFT collectives for art, gaming, more
    by Linda Xie 

    A prehistory of DAOs — cooperatives, gaming guilds, and the networks to come
    by Kei Kreutler

    On creator DAOs — how is this different from crowdfunding or membership platforms? the main difference is the notion of ownership
    by Jonathan Glick, Jarrod Dicker, Tal Schachar

    Community DAOs — what makes a DAO a DAO, growing them, more
    by Patrick Rivera

    The DAO of DAOs — from NFTs to DAOs; progressive decentralization; why DAOs, now and next
    by Packy McCormick

    Protocols and creator DAOs — analogy of cities and settlements for economic flows and cultural products around meme, message, protocols
    by Jonathan Glick, Jarrod Dicker, Tal Schachar, Brian Flynn

    Creator Journeys & Stories

    Tips for Creators Getting Into Crypto
    by Patrick Rivera 

    How I Got Into NFTs — “at first, I gave absolutely zero fucks about NFTs OR blockchain OR cryptocurrency in general. I didn’t understand it, didn’t really have the time and energy to understand it, and I just didn’t care”
    by Caroline Dy

    How We Sold an NFT… — step-by-step video walkthrough of what and how, from brainstorming, designing, and selling to setup, minting, and more
    by Colin and Samir 

    Two artists on crypto art — on galleries to tokenized collectibles
    by Pak, Signe Pierce, Zoran Basich

    NFTs, digital art, and the value shift between IRL and virtual life
    Trevor McFedries interviewed by Dan Frommer 

    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 

    How the blockchain broke the auction block — how is a Beeple JPEG worth $69 million?
    by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and Mary Childs 

    Understanding NFTs as digital abstraction — view from traditional art world, Christie’s auction lead
    Noah Davis interviewed by Valentina Di Liscia

    What NFTs mean for contemporary art — artist talks with MoMA curator about recent trends and where immaterial art is taking us in a material world
    Seth Price interviewed by Michelle Kuo

    What makes a museum object NFT valuable beyond the scope of the technology?
    by Frances Liddell

    Why museums should be thinking longer term about NFTs
    by Jason Bailey

    “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 

    Forefront Profiles — communities and social tokens creators

    Artists on NFTs and more 

    Artists on collecting NFTs
    by Samantha Ayson 

    Applications & Experiments: Arts, Music, Games, More

    Monetization for Gamers in the New Cryptoeconomy — how blockchain technology realigns economic relationships, collaboration, community, and creativity
    by Kevin Chou 

    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 [also at

    “Fantasy Hollywood”: Crypto and Community-Owned Characters — how DAOs and NFTs enable a new model for bringing new characters into the world
    by Cuy Sheffield

    Musicians meet audio NFTs — an overview of audio NFTs, limited edition audio/visuals experiences issued and sold as tokens on Ethereum
    by Cooper Turley 

    The relationship between visual art and music
    Devendra Banhart interviewed by Samantha Ayson 

    Creators, Artists, and Athletes — messaging creator coins to fans in videos
    by Kurt Patat  

    What is crypto art 
    by Jason Bailey

    Generative art and NFTs
    by Brian Droitcour

    Exploring the world of generative art — what it is, a brief history of generative crypto art, more
    by William Peaster

    Where crypto meets the metaverse — without the assumption of a robust economic membrane, the entire concept of the metaverse quickly collapses
    by Piers Kicks

    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  

    The Great Online Game — on the internet as an infinite, abundant game, imitating but beyond video games, including NFTs as ways to express oneself online to signal who you are and what you care about
    by Packy McCormick

    Gamers want virtual goods with real-world value — survey from Vorhaus
    by Dean Takahashi 

    NFTs are becoming a major source of income for crypto newbies in the Philippines to Colombia — from Axie Infinity to Yield Guild Games and beyond
    by Dan Kahan

    Play-to-Earn, NFT gaming in the Philippines
    by Yield Guild Games

    Axie Infinity, Yield Guild Games, & the play-to-earn economy
    by Justin Mart, Connor Dempsey, Hassan Ahmed

    Why Bored Ape Avatars Are Taking Over Twitter — each avatar club is a combination of gated online community, stock-shareholding group, and art-appreciation society
    by Kyle Chayka

    A brief guide to Loot, the NFT project that’s surged onto the scene
    by William Peaster

    The Loot project flips the script on NFTs — what it is, why is this interesting
    by Kyle Russell

    Loot is a viral social network that looks like nothing you’ve ever seen — Dom Hoffman on on creating an open-source, decentralized game / financial asset / art project / metaverse (?)
    by Casey Newton

    The Most Important Scarce Resource is Legitimacy – on NFTs as public goods funding
    by Vitalik Buterin

    “Post-Venture” Capital and the Crypto Nobel Prize
    by Matt Stephenson 

    NFT Ecosystem, Markets, and FAQs

    Ecosystem overview — marketplaces; art, collectibles, games, virtual worlds; finance & trading
    by Andrew Steinwold

    Where do NFTs capture value? — the NFT stack, breaking down the various layers, honing in on curation
    by Cooper Turley

    The non-fungible token market — market size & growth (2019-2020), sale mechanisms, distribution
    by Devin Finzer 

    Check My NFT — do you know how your NFT assets are stored?

    How to display crypto art — showcase sites, digital displays, metaverse galleries
    by William Peaster 

    How to use NFT furniture — collect, display; where, how
    by Gabriella Fuller 

    How the CryptoPunks took physical form to participate in their first gallery show — paper wallets and a physical model for digital ownership 

    NFTs: A Legal Guide for Creators and Collectors — primer on just some of the considerations in the United States
    by Amy Luo 

    Rankings, Glossaries, Other Resources




    spreadsheet comparing NFT platforms

    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 

    language & terminology — among NFT community online, a thread

    The Forefront Newsletter — weekly digest of developments in social tokens, NFTs, DAOs

    Zima Red — newsletter on NFTs, virtual worlds, blockchain games

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

    Crypto trading cards (1993) — idea to promote digital cash
    Hal Finney 

    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 

    Rare Pepe (2017) — digital trading cards
    by Fred Wilson 

    Skin-in-the-game coins (2018) — reputation mining, token-curated registries, early utility tokens
    by Ryan Selkis 

    Will cryptocurrencies be the art market’s next big thing? (2018)
    by Scott Reyburn

    Smart media tokens (2017)
    from Steemit 

    Digital collectibles and the weird future of “digibles”
    by Josh Stark

    How to code your own cryptokitties-style game on Ethereum (2017)
    by James Martin Duffy

    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

    The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

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