History of NFTs

So where did it all start?


NFTs got their humble start with Counterparty, a peer-to-peer financial platform, which was founded and built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain and attracted various projects including trading card games and meme trading, which would come in to play later with various projects paving the way for modern NFTs.

During the same year, the first-ever NFT was created, called Quantum by Kevin McCoy and this digital artwork was initially created as a result of McCoy and Anil Dash collaborating on a blockchain system that would allow artists to make money from selling NFTs. It was created with the intention of giving artists control of their work again. It was announced in March 2021 that Quantum had been put on sale by McCoy and could fetch a price of around $7 Million.

Quantum — Kevin McCoy


Coming around to the first blockchain-based game called Spells of Genesis, it was added to the Counterparty platform as the first real ICO launch even though back then it would’ve been called crowdfunding. To fund the project initially, the team launched a token called BitCrystals, which was also used as the in-game currency when the game released.


In August of 2016,Counterparty decided to collaborate with the hugely popular trading game, Force of Will, to launch their cards on the Counterparty platform.

Force of Will was the fourth ranked card game by sales in North America; just behind Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering. This occasion was significant on the grounds that Force of Will was a large mainstream company that had no earlier blockchain or cryptocurrency experience. Their entrance into the ecosystem signaled the value of putting such assets on a blockchain.


Two creative technologists, John Watkinson and Matt Hall decided to create their own NFT project. They called their project Cryptopunks, as a reference to the Cypherpunks who experimented with precursors to Bitcoin in the 1990s. There are only 10,000 unique CryptoPunks. Each one of them was algorithmically generated through computer code and thus no two characters are exactly alike, but some traits are more rare than others.

They were originally released for free and could be claimed by anyone with an Ethereum wallet. But now the collectible appeal of CryptoPunks is enhanced by the rarities of certain traits and types of characters, and the fact that there will never be more than the original 10,000 CryptoPunks.

Late 2017

And the same year we got introduced to CryptoKitties, a blockchain-based game on Ethereum that allows players to purchase, collect, breed and sell virtual cats.

It is one of the earliest attempts to deploy blockchain technology for recreation and leisure.

And with the massive release of CryptoKitties in November of 2017, NFTs popularity skyrocketed, and slowed down the Ethereum blockchain in it’s hype filled stage, which made the project see a lot of news coverage and controversy, but despite all of that it’s still a successful project today.


NFTs saw massive growth thanks to the 100+ projects within the space and more in the works. Hopping into the NFT ecosystem had become drastically easier due to Web3 wallets, like Metamask, continuing to improve. And Dapper Labs launching a Dapper wallet which required no gas payments.

And of course CryptoKitties still kept growing their loyal userbase at a steady rate.


Finally the big player Nike decided to join in on the fun and tease the market with a patented system called CryptoKicks.

Whenever shoes are purchased, tokens will become unlocked. In order to facilitate this unlocking, a 10-digit shoe identification code will be linked to an owner identification code, effectively linking an owner with the shoe. All ‘linking’ will be recorded on the Ethereum blockchain.

Besides signifying shoe ownership, the patent will allow for a number of other features. The NFT tokens will be able to record certain ‘genotype’ information related to each shoe, such as colors, designs, and various style attributes.

The patent suggests owners will be provided with an added element of control over their shoes. For example, owners will be able to set limits on the number of clones or copies that can be produced. They can also grant rights to third parties who will be able to mix shoe designs.

Similar to CryptoKitties, owners will also be able to ‘breed’ shoes. This process will feature actual manufacturing restrictions, where ownership rights in every successive generation will be linked to the original shoe.

But even now, 2 years later Nike has yet to actually produce NFT shoes but regardless we’ll be paying close attention to their new releases in hopes of some sick kicks.


NBA TopShot is the newest endeavor from the developers of CryptoKitties and Dapper Labs.

NBA Top Shot is an online forum for trading virtual basketball cards. Fans can buy and sell video clips of their favorite players, called “moments,” from recent seasons. These moments exist on Flow, a newer and more efficient blockchain compared to Ethereum.

Success wise NBA Top Shot has been a mass hit, generating over $230 million in gross sales as of February 28, 2021.

The main reason for including Top Shot as the main marker for the year 2020 is that it’s trying to bring NFTs in to the general public’s eyes(Physical card collectors, Sports fans, Investors, etc.), introducing the novel concept of NFT, and hopefully getting more and more, real life collectors interested in digital collecting and sharing of NFTs.


Interest in NFTs in 2021 is at an all time high and only continuing to rise.

Recently there have been a lot of high-profile sales especially from big celebrities and internet personalities.

Grimes’ NFT collection WarNymph

In February 2021, the musician Grimes sold around $6 million worth of tokens representing digital art on Nifty Gateway.

Later that month, an NFT representing the meme animation Nyan Cat was sold in an Internet marketplace for just under $600,000.

Nyan Cat

On March 11, 2021, American digital artist Beeple’s work Everydays: The First 5000 Days became the first NFT artwork to be listed at prominent auction house Christie’s and sold for $69.3 million

Everydays: The First 5000 Days

In March 2021, Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and Square, sold an NFT representing his first tweet for over $2.5 million.

Jack Dorsey’s first tweet

So all in all, it’s safe to say that, NFTs are only going keep rising in popularity as bigger fish are starting to enter the market and the general public starts gaining interest and we at NFT Stamps are more than pumped about investors getting their NFT collections started.

Thank you for reading our article! If you enjoyed it, we would appreciate if you gave us a follow on Twitter and if you’re feeling extra adventurous, have a look at our 2021 Stamp Collection on AtomicHub.





At NFT Stamps we have a deep passion for Postage Stamps and the history behind them.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

6 months since the Token Sale: a big thank you!

The Blockchain Tales

WTF is Ethereum ?

Dogecoin Price Prediction for 2021

COLLETRIX; Revolutionizing the IP Industry

📢 KDG Welcomes MG-Trading as Our New Media Partnership 🎊

How to create BEP-1155 smart contract on Creator Mainnet

Polkamarkets: A Brief Look At The Prediction Market King

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
NFT Stamps

NFT Stamps

At NFT Stamps we have a deep passion for Postage Stamps and the history behind them.

More from Medium

Art Video Games: Flower

Reflecting on reflecting

Nobuya Kobori “New Official Releases for 374th Consecutive Days”

AI in art and culture