The NFT market is booming and some pieces are going for hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions. Artists from all over the world are finding creative ways to engage with the movement. One group even burned a Banksy painting, minted it as an NFT and thereby immortalized the physical artwork in the digital world. And it’s not just art, but songs, tickets, access and both physical and virtual real estate being sold on the blockchain as NFTs. This momentum is continuing to prove the power of this revolutionary technology and pave a way for its role in mainstream society.
Looking back, It wasn’t so long ago that the internet was proving itself as a force to be reckoned with. It took a fair amount of time, but in essence, the world changed overnight. Innovation flooded in from all directions as the internet cemented itself as the ultimate tool for broadcasting, collaborating, and disseminating information, and look where we are now.
The Million Dollar Homepage (2005)
Back in 2005, when the internet was still young and ripe for exploration, a student called Alex Tew from England dreamed up the concept of the ‘Million Dollar Homepage’. The idea was simple: A single-page website with 1 Million pixels for sale at $1 per pixel, equating to the www.milliondollarhompage.com. The tag line: ‘Own a piece of internet history’.
After a few short months, the page took to national news and every pixel was sold off, thereby cementing that million dollar price tag. As a buyer, you were able to fill up your ‘internet land’ with an image and an external link. Naturally companies flooded in and it became a mecca for creative advertising.
When the dust settled and the news cycle moved on, all that was left was a canvas of logos and an illustration of what was once a great idea. The Million Dollar Homepage really did become a piece of internet history.
Million Dollar Homepage as NFTs
If the Million Dollar Homepage had been created during the NFT movement, three very important things would be different. In fact, it’s a great case study to demonstrate the power of NFTs and blockchain technology relative to its traditional internet ancestor.
The first difference would be that the genesis of the virtual land would be hard stamped into the record books, never to be changed. The authenticity of the idea would be claimed by Alex and digitally recorded as a moment of creation.
Secondly, pixels would not be sold on a handshake basis, but instead as a cryptographical process. Transactions with digital signatures would authenticate ownership. In effect, the buyers of those pixels wouldn’t just be buyers, but instead they would be owners.
As an authenticated owner of your virtual land, you can now do what you want with it. You can change your images and links multiple times a day, and maybe buy up neighboring plots to expand. Not to mention, you would have the right to sell them. Maybe pixel prices shot up and you wished to cash in on your investment. The power is in your hands because the digital signature on the blockchain confirms it’s yours until you sell it or give it away.
Lastly, Alex, as the original creator of this project can benefit from the evolution of his creation. Embedded into the code, Alex can take a fee on any future transaction – call it 2%. Artists and creators can continue to be compensated for the hard work they put in many years ago, as the world continues to enjoy their work.
That is the power of NFTs.
XtotheX: Own a Piece of Blockchain History
A new project is reimagining what the Million Dollar Homepage could have been in this new world of NFTs.
XtotheX is a cosmic-themed homepage consisting of plots of land centered around the moon and a series of Xs. Each plot of land is an NFT called an ‘X-Block’, and each X-Block has its own individual coordinates making it unique and Non-Fungible. These X-Blocks are essentially a representation of a cluster of pixels on the original Million Dollar Homepage that can be bought and sold with a digital signature.
X-Blocks also have other points of individuality. Some X-Blocks are in space, some are on the moon, others in the ‘X’ and so on. These geo-spacial attributes add an extra layer of differentiation that visually separates each X-Block from the next. This spices up the important question of where on the map you might want to buy some land.
As an owner, you can personalize your X-Blocks by adding images and URL links in the exact same way as the Million Dollar Homepage. Of course you can update the image and link as frequently as you wish. And to top it off, there are in fact a small number of X-Blocks that house text instead of images adding a bit of spice to the scenery.
When the time is right you can sell your X-Blocks, as the NFT you bought will be stored in your digital wallet the entire time. X-Blocks can be bought, sold and traded on the largest NFT marketplace, Opensea, but it’s likely that there will be plenty more optionality in the near future.
What Else Has Changed
The added capabilities are all fine and well, but there are some intriguing intangibles in the mix. This time around it’s more of a community project that will inspire conversation and collaboration. As we know, X marks the spot when it comes to buried treasure and the moon is a prevailing meme in the world of cryptocurrency, and those two things alone are interesting topics embedded into this adaptation.
Perhaps it won’t be just branding and logos that you can expect to populate X-Blocks. Consider XtotheX as a canvas for the likes of other artists and creators to participate. Of course it’s up to the community of land owners to decide what to display, but maybe XtotheX becomes a crowdsourced birds-eye-view of what’s-what in the world of Crypto, NFTs and Blockchain.