Does the engineering world need to care about NFTs and blockchain?

by | Jul 24, 2022 | Technology

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If the first question out of people’s mouths about either blockchain or NFTs is “What exactly are they?” the second question inevitably is “Is this something that I actually need to care about?”

If you’re an artist who makes a living selling art, the answer might be yes. But if you’re in the engineering world, the potential benefits are far less clear.

On the record

A quick primer on these buzzy technologies is helpful here. Most people have heard of blockchain, a distributed-ledger technology that famously serves as the underpinning for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which first appeared on the scene in 2008. The blockchain is able to record transactions and create an immutable record without the participation of any kind of centralized authority like a bank or government agency.

Blockchain also underpins nonfungible tokens – NFTs. Right now, NFTs are primarily used to show ownership of a particular object or digital file. Oftentimes, this is a 2D graphic, but it can be almost anything – a music file, a piece of writing, a video or even a 3D file.

If you’re an artist, you can see where this might be useful: You can put your art up for sale, and a collector can purchase an NFT that says that they are the official owner of that piece of artwork. (In theory, anyway – more on this in a bit.)

So, how might this apply to the engineering software space?

‘I did that’

Unlike the individuals in the art world, people in the engineering world don’t generally create 2D files and 3D files just for the purpose of artistic expression and then try to sell them. They’re creatin …

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