Updated: Apr 3, 2022
Unless you have been living under a rock, cryptocurrency and NFTs are rocking the world, from Bitcoin, Ethereum, to Dogecoin. There are more than 5000 digital currencies on the internet.
People are investing and using these currencies how and wherever they can, and art is one of those things people are spending millions.
So how does the NFT craze shape the art world? First, let's explain what NFT's are.
What are NFT's
NFT (Non-Fungible Token), Non-fungible meaning that the token or item is priceless, unique, and can't be replaced. Meaning this thing cannot be duplicated; it is one of a kind. NFTs are certificates of authenticity in digital format.
Bitcoin is considered fungible because you can trade a bitcoin for bitcoin. The dollar is also regarded as fungible because you can exchange coins for dollars, and it has the same value.
It is not the same for NFT's
How NFT Work
NFTs are of the Ethereum blockchain, which means NFTs can be bought with Ether, but each NFT provider can accept other currencies. Much like Bitcoin and dogecoin, it lies on a blockchain.
Blockchain records information in a way that makes it almost impossible to hack or change the original data. It is encoded with the same software as the other cryptos, but the digital code signature is unique and creates scarcity of the art. Which then makes the item rare because only one can exist and can't be traded for anything similar, in turn making it more valuable and driving up the prices.
Items that are minted(created) as NFT are
Designer clothes and shoes
Virtual avatars and game skins
Now that I got that out of the way for my people who do not know. Let's get back to the topic at hand.
NFTs have become big business overnight. Take NBA Top Shot; it generated over $500 million in sales in the last few months, so basically, they are selling NBA highlights and stats as NFT, which seems to me like trading cards, but there is only ever one made.
Now how is this affecting the art world?
Artists are selling their works of art for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some artists have made millions, and they are credited for their work.
The items minted on the blockchain are one of a kind. All of the artist info is linked to the art, so nothing is lost, and the artist receives the credit. If put in the contract, they also can receive a percentage if the buyer of the NFT resales.
Just take Digital Mars House; I wrote about this a few weeks back. The digital House sold for over $500,000.
Do you remember the Fyre Festival scam?
Fyre Festival was one of the biggest scams that happened in 2017. The failed attempt of a music festival founded by Billy McFarland. It was promoted as an epic music festival with Ja Rule in the mix of this catastrophe.
Ja Rule was one of the founders that promoted the event. The event snowballed when Billy McFarland's fraudulent acts landed him in prison for six years for a 26 million dollars fraud charge. Ja Rule was put in a class-action lawsuit but avoided sanction when the judge found that Ja Rule did nothing legally wrong, as he did not know at the time that what he was promoting wasn't an actual event.
Ja Rule bought the Fyre painting for around $2000 and sold it to an unknown buyer for an NFT of $122,000 cryptocurrency on March 24. The logo hung in his New Jersey mansion. Rule told Forbes, "I just wanted that energy out."
The original asking price was $600,000 in cash, but instead, settled got NFT cryptocurrency. The token's new owner did receive the original artwork.
The Fyre Festival token was sold on the Flipkick, an NFT exchanged platform, in which Ja is also part owner.
NFT's are shaking the world of art up very quickly; so far, more than $200 million have been spent on NFT artwork, with Mike Winkelmann's piece selling at record-setting $69 million.
NFT is making artwork easier to be seen and purchased. Artists are now being seen and selling their work. To me, this is a good thing for the art and artist. But as the saying goes, with every good thing, there is something terrible. Some people feel that NFT is not protecting the works as they should, and many think that creating the blockchain is an environmental issue.
Where I see that NFT is suitable for an artist in all genres, it still is very new, and of course, with new things, changes will be made to make something better and accessible for all those who have some concerns.
Although I am for digital works, nothing is better than physical artwork to hold, keep, and pass down.
Do I think NFT will take the place of art galleries and showings or hurt the art world with wanting to see art physically?
Personally, no, people like me still love to see art and experience it. It's the feeling you feel when you walk up to a piece of work that is older than the last five generations. I love getting dressed to see a new artist showcase for the first time, then years later, they are nationally known.
Although NFT are tremendous and some ideas about them are pretty futuristic, it's nice not limiting yourself to one thing but enjoying both aspects of what the future has for art traditionally and digitally.