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What in the world is an NFT?

What in the world is an NFT?

January 01, 2022

What in the world is an NFT?

Welcome to the first Skyward Financial Newsletter. I am Ross Stripling and I look forward to bringing you thoughtful, insightful, and entertaining investment ideas to you on a monthly basis. For those of you who don’t know me, I am currently a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. I spent 5+ years as a Los Angeles Dodger before joining the Blue Jays. I am proud to have the designation as the only MLB player who holds an investment advisor’s license. Meaning I can manage other people’s money. Which I do. And I love it. It is by far my biggest passion away from baseball and l can’t wait to share my thoughts and ideas with all of you. That’s enough about me. My bio is at the bottom of the newsletter if you’re interested to learn more.

Anything digital can be an NFT. Music, pictures, videos, drawings. Think of them as digital art. Many of us collected baseball cards, Pokémon cards, rare coins and stamps, etc. NFTs are the evolution of these collectibles into a digital form.

Every month I am going to dive into a specific area in the world of finance, money management, and all things stock market. Whether you’re a beginner or have been investing for 40 years, I hope to bring some new ideas and enjoyment into your lives.

With that being said, let’s dive into our very first topic, NFTs!

Roughly 3 months ago, I knew nothing about the world of cryptocurrencies. I was stubborn and I didn’t believe in its future. I refused to do my due diligence, even as all my friends and teammates asked me about it. I simply wanted to stay in the lane of the stock market and all things growth stocks.

But as my network around me began to gain exposure to the crypto world, it simply became impossible for me to ignore. I began reading articles and picking the brains of these people. And what I found was that crypto seemed to have countless modern world uses. But mostly what I found was that whether you believed in crypto or not, it was here to stay, and the momentum of the entire industry was so much stronger than I had known. So, one night after a loss to the Red Sox, I took the plunge and downloaded a crypto exchange and bought my first cryptocurrency. Three months later, I’m still learning something new every day.

This is not a ruse by me to get you to invest in cryptos. I’m not your 23-year-old Uber driver, telling you to buy Coin XYZ because the banks are out to get us. I still don’t necessarily know if I believe in the future of crypto and its potential.

This newsletter is simply opening up the conversation about one corner of the crypto space, and that’s NFTs. So, let’s dive in

What is an NFT?
An NFT is a “Non-fungible Token.”

You’re probably realizing those words don’t help you understand much. “Non-fungible” essentially means that your item is unique and can’t be replaced with something else. For instance, a dollar bill is fungible because you can exchange it for another dollar bill and have the same thing. I choose to think of an NFT as a one-of-a-kind trading card.

NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. I don’t have the time or words to explain Ethereum or blockchain technology in this newsletter. All you need to know is Ethereum is a cryptocurrency and its blockchain can support NFTs and store the extra information that makes them work.

Anything digital can be an NFT. Music, pictures, videos, drawings. Think of them as digital art. Many of us collected baseball cards, Pokémon cards, rare coins and stamps, etc. NFTs are the evolution of these collectibles into a digital form.

So naturally the thought is, “can’t you just copy a digital file as many times as you want.” Yes, you can. But NFTs use blockchain technology to show ownership, which cannot be copied. If you collect physical art, it’s the same thing as saying anyone can own a print of the Mona Lisa, but only one person can own the original.

Then the argument becomes, “well at least I can appreciate the physical object of the Mona Lisa.” Yes, you can. This is where a lot of prospective NFT collectors are lost. The point of the NFT is that you can flex on everyone by showing you own the original, which is proven in the blockchain.

Have I lost you yet?

You may be asking yourself, “So what’s the point of NFTs then?”

If you’re an artist, it’s a new way to sell your work and show your talents. One thing that’s awesome about NFTs is every time your work is sold on the secondary market, it’s coded in the blockchain to backpay you a percentage of the sale. Think about how many times baseball cards exchange hands on eBay. For example, rather than only making money at the original point of sale, Topps could get a cut every single time that card is exchanged moving forward.

If you’re a buyer, you now own a unique piece of art that only you own, which is supported by the blockchain entry. You can post the image online or set it as your profile picture. If you collect art, NFTs would be considered a speculative asset. You are buying something unique, hoping that the value goes up and you can sell it for a profit one day.

So where do you get an NFT? There are several marketplaces where you can buy and sell. Platforms such as OpenSea, Rarible, Nifty Gateway and countless others. Some NFTs can be bought with US Dollars and some ask for payments in specific cryptocurrencies. The vast difference in price for seemingly similar products is where the NFT markets can get messy. Some see them as the future of fine art collecting, with many NFTs selling for millions of dollars. The founder of Twitter sold the first tweet ever as an NFT for just under $3 million. Many of us read about Steph Curry paying $180,000 for an NFT of a monkey from the “Bored Ape” collection. Others treat NFTs like the trading cards of our childhood. They just want fun collectibles that are accessible to everyone.

If you think you may be interested in potentially owning or even creating your own NFT, please continue researching. It’s a fascinating market, and one that is just beginning to unfold. Who knows where this industry will be in 5, 10, 20 years?

At the end of the day, I view it as a new and fun way to express my personality and collect things I’m interested in. I still have countless binders at home of the baseball cards I collected as a kid, and it always brings me joy to flip through those pages. If NFTs are new way to fill that void and bring some much-needed nostalgia into my life, I’m all for it.

The information provided is for general purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or advice. Any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of its author and do not necessarily represent those of the company

Ross Stripling Biography

Skyward Financial helps its clients understand their individual risk profiles and how to effectively plan for their short, medium, and long-term goals. This team is rooted in Houston and pays homage to the city’s legacy in space exploration and the history of explorers using astrology to navigate the high seas when naming their group Skyward Financial. They are trusted and respected in their practice; consistently providing relevant investment opportunities and navigating risk to create a holistic approach for their clients’ financial well-being.

Ross became a household name after his debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016. It was during the Major League Baseball offseason where he began his career in financial services at B. Riley alongside father and son team of Lynn Houston and Matthew Houston. Within a matter of months, Ross passed his series 7 exam and shortly thereafter his series 66. As his off-the-field business picked up, he also became a trusted source and voice of reason on matters of finance within the clubhouse as well as on business television like CNBC and Fox Business Network. He holds a unique distinction as being named a 2018 National League All Star while also being a Vice President and Financial Advisor at the time. Suffice it to say, Ross has become much more than an athlete.

In 2021, the trio along with Registered Client Services Associate, Zaida Gil, formed a partnership with the launch of Skyward Financial and joined the Wedbush Securities Independent Franchise Owners Network (“IFON”). The team is based in Houston, where Ross spends his off season.

Ross earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas A&M, where he was recognized as an Academic All-American while establishing himself as one of the country’s best pitchers. He lives in the Houston area with his wife Shelby and their young son. In his free time, he hosts two very well received podcasts Goats on the Bump and The Big Swing where he talks baseball with some of the greats.