The Collins Dictionary has officially announced its 10-word annual shortlist for word of 2021, as well as declaring that “NFT” — though technically understood to be an abbreviation for “nonfungible token” — is its word of the year, surpassing the likes of “crypto,” “metaverse” and “hybrid working,” among others.
The blog post spoke frankly about the prospect of a digital revolution through a "convergence of money and the internet," which seeks to challenge and evolve traditional mediums of payment into the 21st century.
Collins Dictionary defines an NFT as “a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible,” and it was further noted in its blog post that NFTs signify:
“A chunk of digital data that records who a piece of digital work belongs to… what’s really captured the public’s imagination around NFTs is the use of this technology to sell art.”
The institution cited infamous NFT artist Beeple as a prominent contributor to the space and unsurprisingly denoted his landmark magnum-opus, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” a piece auctioned for a market-high of $69 million in March this year, the third-highest physical or digital art sale in history.
The NFT market has witnessed parabolic growth over the past twelve months, enticing a tidal wave of celebrities, influencers and Web 3.0 fanatics to engage with the space. Collections such as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club and Cool Cats have captured the essence of the Twitter-native profile picture project space.
Furthermore, the emergence of NFT auctions by traditional auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s are providing a global pedal stool to drive adoption, a theme that was shared by the co-founder and chief operating officer of CoinGecko, Bobby Ong, in a recent conversation with Cointelegraph.
Combined total sales for collectible and art NFTs surpassed $7.4 billion as of Q4 2021. For comparison, art and collectible sales recorded $17.8 million and $55.5 million, respectively, at the start of this year, figures that seem incomprehensible in the current flourishing market.
For greater context into the NFT inclusion, fellow United Kingdom establishment Oxford Dictionary recently awarded its prestigious word of the year to “vax,” a symbol of the significant impact COVID-19, and subsequent vaccination programs have had on the world over the past two years.
The Oxford Dictionary first debuted cryptocurrency terminology in its online edition in August 2013 with the introduction of “Bitcoin.” The word “cryptocurrency” followed suit just under a year later, while more recently, Satoshi joined the exclusive list of linguistic arbitration.