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2021 will be remembered for many things: not being 2020, vaccines, Euro 2020 – even though it’s 2021 – and NFTs. All need no explanation, except maybe that three-letter acronym. Just what is an NFT? Well, we thought we’d provide a short explainer as McLaren Racing and Tezos, McLaren Racing’s Official Technology Partner, launch a whole new way for fans to engage with the illustrious racing history of McLaren through the McLaren Racing Collective and the Tezos blockchain network.
Wait, what’s the McLaren Racing Collective?
What digital collectables are there?
The first McLaren Racing digital collectables are a celebration of the team’s 2021 Formula 1 challenger, the MCL35M. The car has been split into 22 different digital components originating from the McLaren Racing CAD system for fans to purchase and trade. The aim is to collect every piece of the car to be able to build one of only 35 interactive 3D MCL35Ms in existence. The first person to build a full MCL35M will win a McLaren Formula 1 VIP race weekend experience in 2022.
OK, you’ve got my attention. When will they be available?
The collectables will be released in five stages on the McLaren Racing Collective digital platform, with the first four components available on 24 October 2021. Sign up to the McLaren Racing Collective and you will receive your first digital collectable for free from launch on 24 October.
There will be a finite amount of each component, so you’ll need to move fast to be the first to build a car. If you don’t complete the car, there will be future drops giving you more chances to own a piece of McLaren Racing and win prizes. Join the McLaren Racing Discord to learn more about upcoming releases and be the first to access brand-new digital collectables.
So, what are NFTs?
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital assets that stand to redefine how we engage with digital content in the digital age. No two NFTs are the same and they each have a unique digital signature that proves provenance and individual ownership of an asset. A fungible asset, on the other hand, is not unique: it can easily be traded or exchanged for an identical item of the same value – this could be currency, shares in a company, or goods.
How do NFTs work?
NFTs exist on blockchains, digital databases that underpin cryptocurrencies such as Tezos, Bitcoin and Ethereum. They are created from digital objects that represent both tangible and intangible objects such as art, videos, GIFs, collectables and music. Rather than owning a physical asset, the buyer owns a digital asset instead.
Hang on, what’s a blockchain?
A blockchain is a distributed public ledger that is a record of who owns what. The technology underpins digital currencies and NFTs. Blockchains allow digital information to be distributed but not altered, copied or deleted from a network made up of thousands of computers. However, some blockchain networks use tremendous amounts of energy to run their networks. We are proud to have partnered with Tezos, a pioneering energy-efficient blockchain, that uses two million times less energy than networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
And a cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrencies are digital forms of money not issued by a central bank or government. Each cryptocurrency has unique properties for its own bespoke use cases including privacy, speed, and more. Like any form of money, cryptocurrencies are fungible: a Bitcoin is always equal to another Bitcoin, in just the same way that a pound is always equal to a pound.
OK, got it… I think. Tell me more about NFTs?
NFTs give the owner exclusive ownership rights to a piece of data. Be it digital or physical, anything considered desirable or collectable can become an NFT that is bought or sold, even though NFTs frequently comprise artwork, footage or audio that is already easily available for free on the internet.
If anyone can view the data online for free, why would I spend my hard-earned cash on an NFT?
Downloading, copying and distributing digital files online is nothing new but, just like a one-of-a-kind painting, there’s only one original that can be owned. And when you buy an NFT, you are getting a verified, digital certification of ownership of a piece of data – proof that you own the original.
Admittedly, if you bought an NFT of the all-conquering MP4/4 it wouldn’t be quite the same as owning the actual car, but you would own a unique, non-interchangeable digital representation of it. Not only is that going to be worth a lot, but it’s also going to give you some serious bragging rights.
Is it green?
The process of creating and adding NFTs to blockchains, along with the plethora of transactions and verification of these transactions, takes place online and in the digital space so requires large amounts of computing power and therefore, of course, energy. Many blockchains run using a system called proof-of-work, which relies on server farms running at full pelt, the main reason behind their high energy usage. But this is where Tezos comes in. Tezos operates a blockchain with a proof-of-stake system. Crucially, this system doesn’t rely on massive computer power. Its demand for electricity is significantly less and it’s far more energy-efficient.
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