Collins, a dictionary publisher founded in 1824, named “NFT” as 2021’s word of the year.
BREAKING NEWS The Collins Word of the Year is… NFT.
— Collins Dictionary (@CollinsDict) November 24, 2021
“An abbreviation that stands for “non-fungible token”, it’s certainly a buzzword we’ve heard over and over again in the past 12 months, in breathless news reports and on social media,” says a blog post from Collins.
Collins defines NFT as “a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible”.
Acting like virtual signatures, NFTs prove the authenticity of an artwork as the blockchain serves as incorruptible proof of ownership, meaning that “original” artworks and their owners can always be identified via the blockchain, even if an image or video is widely replicated.
Interest in NFTs exploded in 2021. The Block reports that NFT transaction volume grew steadily since January and reached a record high of $1.05 billion in August of this year. Centuries-old art auction house Sotheby’s auctioned off numerous NFTs this year, even launching its own NFT platform called Sotheby’s Metaverse in October. Celebrities to join the bandwagon include Katy Perry, The Weeknd, Rob Gronkowski and Simone Biles.
Collins named “metaverse” and “crypto” as other top words of the year — also due to their increased interest within 2021.
“Crypto” is defined as “a decentralised digital medium of exchange which is created, regulated and exchanged using cryptography and (usually) open-source software, and typically used for online purchases”.
“Metaverse” is defined as a proposed version of the internet that incorporates three-dimensional virtual environments