Once upon a time, owning an original painting was considered the height of style. You had significant boasting rights if you had a genuine Vermeer hanging up in your front room.
Nowadays, bragging rights come from owning a Doge meme.
This massive shift in art collecting and buying is thanks to the meteoric rise in NFT’s, a form of purchasing which deals in cryptocurrency. If you figured crypto was an asset that would fade into the ether within a couple of years, you probably feel foolish right about now.
The power of NFT’s in the art world is unmistakable. They’re here to stay, and there’s some serious cash to be made if you’ve got a piece of digital art you’re not too fussed about owning the rights to.
The Beginners Guide to NFT
To make sure we’re all clued in about what we’re dealing with here, let’s take a quick look at what an NFT is.
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token.
What does this mean? It means that the token is unique – there isn’t another one of them in the world. If something is fungible, you can trade it. An appropriate example would be cryptocurrency. You can swap one coin for another – thus, you have a fungible asset. An NFT is wholly unique because it can’t be traded for anything.
So, when we talk about NFT’s in the context of art, what are they referring to? Well, in the case of art, primarily digital art, you’re not buying the actual piece of art so much as you’re buying ownership of it.
Here’s an example that might help you to understand a bit better in the context of traditional art collecting. Anybody can buy a Vermeer print. However, only a single person can own an original Vermeer that the artist himself painted.
As an interesting side note, some companies like Canvia are offering people the chance to take an NFT directly from their Crypto wallet and turn it into a real thing.
They use a patented technology called ArtSense, which takes a digital art frame and captures the NFT precisely as if it was painted on a canvas. These products support different types of digital arts such as video or still images along with several features such as scheduling, playlist management, display control etc.
The company offers thousands of different NFT artworks and has partnerships with museums, galleries and artists. There’s even a podcast to check out, which has new artistic talent every week. That’s how big the NFT craze has gotten – it’s exploded into a full-fledged community.
Digital Art, Digital Ownership
So, the current hot topic among the NFT crowd is digital art. People are paying extraordinary amounts of cash for the chance to get the ownership rights of memes and more contemporary digital art. Be honest – you’d own the Doge meme if you could.
The thing about digital ownership is that it’s a little complicated. As is the case with physical artwork, the original artist can still retain both copyright and reproduction rights, so you can’t just replicate it and sell it for a quick payday.
Depending on who you are in the process, the value of an NFT is different. If you’re the artist themselves, you’ve got the potential to make quite a bit of money. The NFT process is made to give artists a chance to promote products that may not have had a vast audience beforehand.
If you’re a buyer, then you can purchase the NFT and support the creators that you like. Plus, as you own whatever the digital art is, you can use it commercially and upload it as a profile picture, for example. Pretty cool, right? Plus, you’ll also get those bragging rights we keep talking about – and the blockchain entry to certify you’re the real deal.
Ultimately the process helps to put the less-established creators on the map. Everyone wants to enjoy their favorite content, and it’s easy to do when you can buy it as an NFT and use that to get the kind of street cred you want.
So, if there’s anything that we’ve learned about NFT’s during their rise to popularity, it’s probably that they are a unique, accessible way to get your favorite content. If you wanted to own the Doge meme, it’s never been easier to do just that. Alternatively, if you’re going to push your digital art out there, making an NFT is potentially the way forward.
With more and more NFT’s cropping up all the time and generating a substantial cash value in the process, it’s not at all difficult to see that this particular asset is here to stay. Whether you purchase an NFT to sell on later or simply for personal use, there’s a lot of potential for the industry.
Traditional art collecting will always be popular, but maybe it’ll take a backseat to NFT’s for a bit. Alternatively, the art world might have to adapt. Who knows?
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Times of Chennai journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.