What On Earth are NFTs?

Matthew Le Merle
7 min readMar 9, 2021

This week we thought we would leave the worlds of fintech, digital monies, and blockchain and go instead in a quite different direction.


While this edition of our newsletter talks about something that will seem like a world away from Wall Street and the City of London, by the end we hope you will agree that the picture above is very much part of the future of fintech, digital monies and blockchain.

Defining Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

‘A non-fungible token is a special type of cryptographic token which represents something unique; non-fungible tokens are thus not mutually interchangeable. This is in contrast to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, and many network or utility tokens that are fungible in nature’ according to Wikipedia.

A Little History

Once upon a time Matthew had the high score on the Centipede coin operated video game console in the JCR at Christ Church, Oxford. He also held the high score on Robotron for much longer. He was proud and his classmates were envious. It cost a lot of 10 pence pieces to master the machines. But it was worth it for all of the adulation that he enjoyed. Good times.

Later, he played Metal Gear Solid, Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, and Final Fantasy on his Playstation 1 with his kids but they simply became much too good for him when their fingers mastered the multifunctional controls and he was unable to. Their fingers whirring across the buttons in ways that his brain could not fathom. He still watched them play, but it was nowhere near as much fun. They had the highest scores, prestige and status. He just paid for the CD’s and DVD’s at Gamestop to keep them happy.

By the time they had moved on to Runescape, he was really intrigued. Not only were they investing ‘10,000’ hours grinding in the games, but they were also mastering the acquisition, trading and monetization of in game virtual goods powered by proprietary in game virtual monies. Since he was investing into video games including virtual worlds and MMORPG’s by then, it was something he needed to understand. They were paying…

Matthew Le Merle

Matthew Le Merle is co-founder and Managing Partner of Fifth Era which manages Blockchain Coinvestors, and of Keiretsu Capital