“Economics is the study of scarcity. Scarcity creates value. Value determines price / money.This is how economics was introduced to me upon graduation by my then professor. NFTs or Non-Fongible Tokens do exactly the same in the art field: they enhance contemporary art by making it digitally rare.
An NFT is a digital certificate of ownership of works of art stored as a hash, using smart contracts, on a blockchain. Unlike Bitcoin or other paper currencies, you cannot replicate a non-fungible token, that is, they can be replicated and exchanged for a token or bill of the same value. Thus, each NFT is a unique token representing a digital or actual work of art, in part or as a whole.
Even if the original work is copied or downloaded from the Internet thousands of times, its originality cannot be denied because its value is stored in an NFT. For example, you must have seen millions of replicas of the famous Monalisa, still the value of the original work of art at the Louvre, Paris is intact.
The digital world has oscillated to the rhythm of NFT since Beeple first struck gold at Christie’s with his work “Everydays”. Since then, the NFT craze has almost gone mad with tweets, GIFs, memes, videos, animations, music tracks, iconic dance moves, and almost anything possible in an NFT. .
From rage over NBA collectibles to Lindsay Lohan vouching for NFTs on Twitter, from Jack Dorsey selling his very first tweet to Shawn Mendes busy hitting his own guitars, the list is endless. The NFT market today is worth hundreds of millions.
How are NFTs radically changing the digital art market?
The shift from physical auctions and art galleries to the NFT digital marketplace was inevitable, especially for digital artists who found it extremely difficult to monetize their art in the open internet space. Most of them were still stuck on Instagram, waiting to be seen and to make a potential deal.
For that, Beeple, the million dollar baby at Christie’s, says, “The art designed by NFT immediately sets itself apart from Instagram, identifying them as a collector’s item.”
NFTs open up a world of possibilities that have never existed before. There are several reasons for the migration of contemporary artists to the NFT digital space:
TVN revolutionizes ownership
In the past, artists made a living serving and painting for their clients. NFTs allow artists to find a way to monetize their art by reestablishing this creator-patron duality in a more democratic framework.
Whether seasoned or new, artists can compete on the same podium to grab the attention of art collectors, NFT traders, NBA fans, and anyone who seems to be interested in them.
When extracting an NFT, an artist has to write the terms and conditions of sale and ownership himself, which would be forever written in the form of a smart contract. The artwork can be owned by anyone, but it will always be attributed to the original artist.
NFTs also make it easier to track the provenance and transaction history of the NFT work, which is now stored immutable on a block. Unlike real-world scenarios where an artist can only earn from the first sale, in the digital space, whenever a resale is made, the royalties generated by the sale can go to the artist. origin.
Speaking of physical works of art, an artist can choose to transfer or retain physical ownership of their original work. Contemporary artists who might have struggled to have space to exhibit their art or make a living from it would feel empowered, right?
Any work of art can be struck in a single NFT or in split fragments that anyone can purchase individually. Whitney Biennial’s’89 seconds at the Alcazar ‘, a 12-minute video, was cut from a grid of 2,304 pieces. Each 20 × 20 pixel fragment could be purchased individually and could be viewed as a small movie. With such use cases at hand, ownership is set to democratize.
Digital markets without borders
The wonderful thing about NFTs is that they can be used to add value to anything and everything. Artists like Gig artists and memes makers who relied on social media to monetize their work earlier can now turn them into assets worth owning.
Millennials and Gen Z are living extended digital lives today and want to own things digitally as well. As such, the collectors thronging digital auctions and marketplaces are an equal mix of old and young. If we look at the demographics, 64% of Beeple participants auctions at Christie’s were Gen Z and Millennials.
NFT promoting equity
Physical art markets or galleries are strongly biased towards a minority of well-known names while the majority of lesser-known artists have to rely on key holders i.e. biased art institutions. Markets are fragmented, inclusive and arbitrary. NFTs are an extended use case where blockchain utilities are used to disintermediate markets and make direct connections between artists and collectors through NFT gateways.
Chennai based artist Dhanya Ajith has been able to sell over 60 of its NFTs in three different NFT global markets since March 2020.
Speaking more about demographics, Elizabeth Meggs, a New York-based oil painter, points out that 87% of large collections in American museums are from men, 85% of whom are white men. According to her, NFTs could bring a level playing field without any conventional bias for male and female artists to sell their works, “I urge all the women artists that I know to get started directly in the creation of NFT. It’s an opportunity !
NFT immortalizing art
The space of art had long remained intact. NFT, as a force, is there to disrupt it. By chopping the work of art on a blockchain, an artist gives immense immutability to his work. Even if the physical artwork ceases to exist, is vandalized or tampered with, the original copy remains digitally intact.
NFTs can be very successful for musicians and street artists, graffiti artists, or those who make ice or sand sculptures and want to harness their unique creativity. Modernized street art by Pascal Boyart, a mural based on Eugène Delacroix’s masterpiece “Freedom at the head of the people was democratized by the French authorities on the grounds that it was controversial. Boyart’s post was erased from existence, but the original work survives with 100 NFT each sold for 0.5 ETH.
Many physical works, while being digitized, are animated by movement, audio and augmented reality. Beeple’s ‘Crossroads’ work in the 10-second clip shows people coming and going in front of a heavily graffiti (as it appears) Trump lying face down on the grass and with birds chirping in the background.
NFTs, by creating digital scarcity, create an alternative asset class that could subvert intellectual property and property rights in the near future. They are a step forward towards a strong digital art community collectively owning art.
Nischal Shetty is the Founder, CEO of WazirX, India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange (recently acquired by Binance). He is a big blockchain advocate and influencer with over 100,000 subscribers. He has also been on the Forbes ’30 under 30′ list in the past. Nischal has been active in space for a long time with a mission to involve everyone in the blockchain revolution.