In the modern world, in just a few years, many things have lost their physical value – virtual clothes and games with augmented reality have appeared, and the popularity of streaming services has increased significantly. In the era of new technologies, new art has also appeared. We are talking about NFT – in 2021, the frequency of using this abbreviation in open sources increased by 11,000%, and the total amount of transactions for the purchase of all NFT tokens exceeded two billion dollars.
NFT caused such a strong resonance in society that it received a response in popular culture. In March last year, Saturday Night Live released a parody NFT-themed music video, and in late December, a new episode of South Park aired, in which the authors pointedly satirized all the craziness surrounding the NFT. In addition, many stars have a collection of digital art – Paris Hilton, Eminem, Justin Bieber, and even Snoop Dogg. They spend a lot of money on the work of digital artists. About what is contemporary art – you’ll talk in this article.
What is NFT?
This abbreviation stands for Non Fungible Tokens – that is, a non-fungible token. A token is a digital certificate that guarantees the company’s obligations to its owner, in other words, a token is an analog of shares on the stock exchange in the world of cryptocurrencies.
Interestingly, NFT has existed since the mid-2010s, but it first gained popularity in 2017, when the CryptoKitties website appeared, where you could buy digital cats for cryptocurrency.
And the boom in digital art happened at the beginning of 2021. On March 11, one of the turning points in digital art took place. NFT work by American artist Mike Winkelmann (better known as Beeple) sold at auction for a record $69 million.
What can be tokenized?
The answer will surprise you, but almost everything can be tokenized. Last year, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold at auction the first tweet in the history of the social network for almost $3 million, and the creator of the famous Nyan Cat gif posted it on the Foundation marketplace and transferred the rights for $580,000. Some people tokenize their winnings at betting platforms such as 22Bet Kenya.
Fashion brands also did not stand aside and supported the general hype. Gucci, for example, released virtual sneakers that you can buy on the marketplace and then use in games. And already this year, the Japanese brand Ambush launched its NFT collection.
Some in the arts create real performances by turning a physical painting into an NFT. Last March, Injective Protocol bought Banksy’s work from the gallery for $95,000 and burned it live. And right after that, the artist’s painting was turned into an NFT token using the blockchain.
What’s the point?
In fact, any work uploaded to the marketplace can be downloaded, installed on the screensaver of a smartphone, or even printed and hung on the wall. And here all skeptics (and not only) will have a question: “Well, why pay millions for something that you can get for free?” It’s all about the certificate of ownership – you can do whatever you want with the picture, but the buyer will still own it because the record that he is its full owner will be stored in the blockchain, but the authorship will still be with the artist.
NFT art has become a real lifesaver for digital artists. Before the emergence of special market plays, there were no platforms where creators could monetize their work. Now their creations are sold for thousands (or even millions) of dollars on a variety of platforms.
With the advent of NFT, the door to the art market has been opened for a large number of digital artists. Previously, the art industry rejected digital art due to the lack of difference between copy and original. And this is one of the main fetishes of the art market. With the advent of NFT, it became possible to give the status of the original to the file.
Also, for collectors, the origin of the work and the history of its owners have always been important. But before blockchain, you had to rely on experts and art historians. And in NFT art, you can see the entire history from the moment of creation to information about the owners. I think that soon the use of tokens will become ubiquitous. And of course, the emergence of the NFT coincided with the crisis of the traditional institutions of the art market. Galleries as a way to bring artists to the light turned out to be too cumbersome, electronic art came along with marketplace technologies. Artists and collectors find each other directly.
A collector can easily put up a purchased work for resale, and the presence of a secondary market makes the purchase of art also a gamble. That’s where the talk about the hype came from.