Collins English Dictionary Names “NFT” Named as “Word of the Year”

Yes, you read that right. Not a word, but an acronym—which stands for “non-fungible token”—has been named as “Word of the Year” by the respected Collins English Dictionary. And whether or not scholars might argue as to whether this breaks any rules, this distinction is proof positive of the impact that NFTs are making in today’s world.

A refresher on what an NFT is…

As defined in Collins English Dictionary, an NFT is unique digital identifier that records ownership of a digital asset which has entered the mainstream and seen millions spent on the most sought-after images and videos.” As of this past April, many well-known brands that ranged from Taco Bell to Nike were utilizing cleverly designed NFTs in their marketing strategies. And, as Voice of America reported, Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, turned his very first tweet into an NFT. Yes, NFTs have not only become highly popular—but profitable. This has been particularly true in the digital art world, where an artist named Beeple earned $6.6 million for one of his works. (Oh, and Jack Dorsey’s very first tweet, while not a work of art, netted him a cool $2.9 million—all because it was classified as an NFT.)

Why, you may ask, would this relatively new phenomenon be sought out by iconic brands and fetch such a high price for an artist?

What makes NFTs so special?

Review the above definition from Collins English Dictionary, and take special note of the word “unique,” “records,” and “ownership.” These words make up the foundation of the NFT. When a digital creation is branded with a one-of-a-kind NFT identifier, ownership of this original work cannot be copied. This explains why many wealthy collectors are willing to pay unbelievably high prices for a digital artist’s NFT-branded work. And keep in mind: The value of an NFT narrows down to whether or not it is worthy enough to be considered a collectible. As EGC President, Nicole Penn, told Marketing Dive: “The first phase of using NFTs are by those that already had a collectability. They’re coming out with NFT-edition products.” While the selection of what constitutes an item as collectible requires thought and attention, the popularity of NFTs has soared in less than a year.

Math to match the English

So, why the question remains: Why would an acronym be selected as “Word of the Year”? A recent article in USA Today presented the points-of-view from experts at Collins English Dictionary, who decided on honoring “NFT” because of its “meteoric rise in usage”—which rose 11,000 percent during the course of this year. How’s that for power and popularity—not to mention possibilities for the future?

Well-played, NFT—and Collins English Dictionary.