Art as a Non-fungible token (NFT)
The art on the blockchain scene seems to be taking shape. For digital art collectors who want to buy and trade these works, read further.
Now to explain a little about the Crypto Art market. It is a very complex undertaking that can reap many rewards or leave some to figure out if it is worth it right now. That goes for collectors as well as artist. As of this writing a work on this platform sold for 69 million in U.S. dollars. That was the value of the Ethereum use to purchase it at the time.
Art in this space is very subjective. The phrase, “I don’t know art but I know what I like”, appears to be name of the game. First of all, the amount of items people classify as an NFT is overwhelming. Anything from Tweets, music and 8-bit gifs to short highlights of an NBA star can be minted as an NFT. These are collectibles making hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions. If you are looking to get in that game, there is stuff aplenty. If you are interested in the arts, there is plenty of that too.
Some sites are curated which means the artist has been vetted and you are assured that the work was originated by that artist. These are sites such as SuperRare, NiftyGateway, Makersplace and others. Since deception and fraud are always present when there is money to be made, these sites can insure that there is some security in knowing that the art you purchase is genuine. However, it is definitely not foolproof. Digital art, is art that is constructed on a digital platform or created in the traditional sense, then scanned to be in a digital format. Right now, no matter what format an artist uses, it is eventually formatted to be digital. It’s the way artist can be seen outside of the traditional gallery space. This leaves the door open for any number of ways to cheat.
To understand the true value for some art collectors on the blockchain, provenance (the history of ownership of a valued object or work) is an important part of purchasing art. Knowing that the image can be copied is not as important as knowing that you own it on the blockchain. Value in how they view and enjoy the work and value in its ability to appreciate over time. Art is bought and sold as an NFT on this notion alone.
For artists, the value is not only in its provenance, but in the continual residual value as it is bought and sold. Like actors who continue to receive money every time there is a rerun, artist can finally realize this gift. This is forever on the blockchain.
NFT’s offers us a new model for digital art ownership. With the blockchain, digital artwork can be registered as a token on a secure, fixed public ledger. By turning an artwork into a token, artists can preserve scarcity and ownership for each work. As the data remains inscribed on the blockchain regardless of copying or piracy, these tokens become tamper-proof certificates of ownership. Again, we are talking about the digital space.
Now we have proof of ownership on the blockchain. For artist who are trying to keep their work from being downloaded and massed produce might have some recourse in proving that the work is theirs besides watermarking it. But like everything in the digital space, there is no guarantee that someone in the world with lax copyright laws will be deterred from pirating your work. It’s happening and there is really not that much you unless you find out about it. Most sites will handle your complaint, but the rush to millions is overwhelming. The NFT sites are doing the best they can.
If you are an artist or collector, give it some time. I believe the only fad is time. NFT’s are not going away because some of the largest players are in this big. These players are young and they are winners in the space. This is part of the process to get to the potential that it is destined to become. If you are not wealthy, getting in early is only to figure out how to navigate this space. Know the key words like non-fungible, minting, tokens, blockchain, etc. and wait for the opportunities this new thing will present. Be creative in how you present your work and use this technology in ways that no one has yet thought of. Some have already begun to do this. I believe NFT’s are here to stay.