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What are NFT? A small overview

What exactly NFTs (or digital assets) are is still a matter of considerable dispute among legal experts. And it sometimes seems as if not only is the particular legal issue in dispute, but it is also a problem in communication. Just as non-lawyers often equate “company” with “enterprise”, which is of course legally humbug, because the company is “the name of the merchant” (company name is therefore a special great construction 🙂 ), NFT are also often used differently.

Are NFTs now the content stored on a blockchain? Or the underlying smart contract? Or is it the small entry as such? Legally, this can make a very big difference. I once created a graphic some time ago that other blogposts will build on in the near future. Because to the respective legal quibbles one finds already much. But what are NFTs actually?

There is hardly a right or wrong here, because there is virtually no case law on the subject. However, the probably prevailing opinion sees NFTs as bearer bonds not yet regulated by law . NFTs are therefore actually “nothing”, only tokens with a corresponding storage volume of perhaps 3kB. Dhe NFT’s legal handling therefore depends significantly on it, WHAT exactly is stored in the token/smart contract.




As you can see, anything could theoretically be stored in NFT, from the familiar “smoking monkeys” to ownership of land. This is the strength in distributed ledger technology, but at the same time it will become the big challenge for lawyers.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.

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