For billionaire investor Mark Cuban, there was one defining moment that led him to go all in on cryptocurrency.
"I always paid attention to bitcoin, the pricing, the tokens and the [crypto]currencies," Cuban told Miami Mayor Francis Suarez at The North American Bitcoin Conference on Monday. "But what really got me into it was, about a year ago, when I minted my first NFT."
NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, are unique digital assets. Minting an NFT is the process of turning an asset into a token that's represented on the blockchain. It allows NFT owners to both prove that they own the asset and be able to sell it if they want.
For Cuban, the opportunity to also earn royalties on secondary sales of his NFTs was huge.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
"The fact that you could take a digital file — audio, video, picture, whatever — and not only mint it to sell it, but also attach royalties to it, I'm like, 'How can you do that?' Because you can't do that with anything physical," the "Shark Tank" investor and Dallas Mavericks owner said.
After digging a bit deeper, Cuban learned about smart contracts, which are collections of code that carry out a set of instructions on the blockchain. Smart contracts are crucial for NFTs, as well as other crypto projects, such as decentralized finance, or DeFi, applications. "To me, that's very disruptive," he said.
"NFTs, while they're hot right now and everybody is talking about them, they're really more just a proof of concept for what you can do with smart contracts and decentralization," Cuban told Suarez.
Now, Cuban considers himself a crypto "evangelist," he said. He's extremely bullish on the space and has a cryptocurrency portfolio of various digital coins, NFTs and investments in many blockchain companies.
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."
Sign up now: Get smarter about your money and career with our weekly newsletter
Don't miss: Mark Cuban says 80% of his investments that aren't on 'Shark Tank' are crypto-related: Here's 'where I look to invest'