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he New York Times has entered the NFT game, selling the chance to own “the first article in the almost 170-year history of The Times to be distributed as an NFT” — and it’s sold for right around $560,000. While the Paper of Record isn’t the first brand (or even the first news organization) to sell one of the digital tokens, it’s certainly been one of the more successful.

The auction for the NFT was announced in a column by Kevin Roose, which acts as both an NFT explainer and a sales pitch for why someone should buy the article. The author is also able to talk about what the process of actually minting an NFT and putting it up for auction is like.

WHAT’S AN NFT?

NFTs allow you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one-of-a-kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.

NFTs have been making headlines lately, some selling for millions of dollars, with high-profile memes like Nyan Cat and the “deal with it” sunglasses being put up for auction. There’s also a lot of discussion about the massive electricity use and environmental impacts of NFTs. If you (understandably) still have questions, you can read through our NFT FAQ.

Like other branded NFTs, the NYT added a few extras to sweeten the deal. Of course, there’s a PNG of the article that the NFT points to, but the buyer will also be sent a congratulatory voice memo from the host of The Daily podcast and be featured in a follow-up article about the NFT’s sale.

As with many of the branded NFTs, the proceeds of the sale will be going to charity (specifically the NYT’s Neediest Cases Fund). Which is great, because it’s a mind-boggling amount of money: enough to buy two millennia’s worth of NYT digital subscriptions. The paper hasn’t yet said if or how it plans to offset the carbon emissions from the sale.

When asked for comment on the sale, Roose simply responded with “wow.”


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