Home Source code NFTs have changed the art of the possible

NFTs have changed the art of the possible

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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) turn anything into something that can be collected and traded digitally, from a meme to source code for the World Wide Web. In 2021, NFT art has skyrocketed, with Beeple (aka Mike Winkelmann) becoming the third most valuable living artist after David Hockney in terms of auction price, after his $69.3 million sale (50, £2 million) at Christie’s.

But the winner’s medal belongs to community NFTs such as Cryptopunks, whose 10,000 algorithmically generated works of art have surpassed $1 billion (£725m) in sales since they were first given away for free less than a year ago. five years. With nearly a million percent bank returns on their investments, it’s no wonder artists, auction houses, and even organizations like the U.S. National Basketball Association, which owns digital game clips, get involved.

In 2022, NFT art will move beyond the speculative frenzy of its early days to more daily double-digit growth. With all the major auction houses continuing to sell NFTs, there will be other ambitious NFT drops such as Damien Hirst’s new project, “The Currency”. Art will become gamified as new digital tribes come together in the guise of punks, monkeys, penguins, cats, and other self-defining modes.

Expect to see artists responding to the seemingly insatiable demand for archetypes and traits that are drawing a new generation of digital collectors to the metaverse – reminiscent of the anthropomorphized groups in AOL chat rooms in the early 1990s.

Collectors won’t care whether a work is man-made or an algorithm-generated digital collectible, as markets double down on the appeal of verifiable digital rarity and bold new auction formats.

Regulators will also seek to limit double standards in sales of physical and digital artwork. In Europe, any reseller selling a physical work for more than €10,000 (£8,594) must adhere to strict anti-money laundering guidelines, but NFT sales are unregulated.

Artists will benefit from the ongoing NFT sales royalty stream. These persistent royalties, typically 10%, will disrupt and weaken the position of traditional concessionaires. Artists and collectors will be linked more than ever, with each new sale generating instant income for its creator. Efforts to expand artist royalties into marketplaces through royalty registries and new contractual standards will be hampered by a lack of standards in major NFT marketplaces. But the promise of royalties and the desire for blockchain records will result in more physical artworks being traded as NFTs, providing greater transparency in the art market.

Authenticity of transactions on a given blockchain will not prevent fraudulent artist accounts, however, and buyers will appreciate additional authentication of verified identities at artist certification.

The promise of eternity will also present new challenges, as marketplaces will determine how best to ensure ongoing accessibility to their artists’ digital works. IPFS, the Interplanetary File System Protocol, will remain the preferred way to do this, but on-chain storage protocols such as Arweave will gain traction in the race to keep art alive forever. Museums are well placed to contribute to digital preservation, but will need to partner with technology providers and act quickly to stay relevant.

New generations of the wealthy have always desired new forms of art, from commercial to street level, and in that sense, the aesthetics of crypto art are no different. However, the symbolic mechanisms underlying this form of expression will change the entire art market and rewrite our understanding of provenance.

“Everything you can imagine is real,” Picasso said. With artists and engineers leading NFT innovation, the art of the possible has never been greater.


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