Non-Fungible Tokens – or NFTs – have been around since 2017. But they really exploded in March 2021, following the auction of the digital artwork Every days: the First 5,000 Days by Beeple. From becoming the owner of a multi-million dollar piece of digital art to purchasing a cat video on a whim, crypto-art intrigues as much as it fascinates. But what is NFT art and how is it changing the world of digital art?
NFT art: how to make a massively reproduced piece of art unique
In spite of a very incomprehensible name, the principle of NFT digital art is not so complicated. Simply put, it consists of buying or selling digital art. A few years ago, it was just a crazy idea. But today, the exclusive purchase of a digital piece of art is possible thanks to the non-interchangeable and non-reproducible property title. Just as a dollar bill holds its own value, each token paid in crypto-currency (bitcoin or ether) is individually numbered. And each is associated with a single piece of art.
Through blockchain technology, any content, even one viewed or copied millions of times, can now have a unique owner who guards its original version. In this way, NFT art have a dual role. They serve as both a certificate of authenticity and a license to use the work. The one who owns the NFTs connected to a piece of art has the entire rights of the work. Thus he owns the rights to its reproduction, exploitation and resale.
A new field of possibilities for collectors and artists
As you know, at Artsper we want art to be accessible to as many people as possible! And this new way of buying art is promising in terms of artistic democratization. Because of the fluency of NFTs, anyone with a passion for art can buy a work in a few clicks. Becoming a buyer, collector or reseller of art has never been so easy.
In the same way, any artist can decide to resell their work through NFTs, without taking into account its reproducibility. This is a revolution for digital artists, for whom the distribution of their work was previously more about free distribution than about profit. Through the use of dedicated platforms, the creators of content can carry out simple and fast transactions. They avoid any financial intermediary between them and their buyers. Moreover, the sale of a work not only brings a momentary capital gain, but also projects into the future. This is the case based on a system of royalties approaching 10% for each new resale of the work.
Ecological disaster, security problems and speculation: precautions to take when dealing with NFTs
Even if the sale and possession of NFTs are secured, the storage of the tokens is done in a digital wallet of which only the owner holds the code. A well-made system, except in case of piracy, which can lead to the complete theft of this virtual wallet. The same goes for some artists, who find their works on exchange platforms, even though they never wanted to put them up for sale.
In addition to these unwanted money transfers, there is also the ecological burden, because like all crypto-currencies, NFTs consume excessive energy. Since the blockchain system creates pollution, many artists reject this new sales model.
Finally, NFT art could cause the burst of a speculative bubble, especially because of the volatility of the currencies used.
What’s the future of NFTs?
Since this is a very new system of buying and selling digital art, we lack the hindsight to predict what will happen with crypto-art. But the next few years, or even the next few months, should provide many answers about the economic and ecological future of NFTs.