What Are NFTs? Are They the Future of Art?
Jun 22, 2021
Are NFTs the Future of Art?
The art industry never fails to surprise us. One of the latest innovations within this creative industry is the integration of non-fungible tokens or NFTs. Not only is this new way to collect art gaining much traction across social media, but it is also offering incredible opportunities for artists to expand their reach beyond physical borders to the digital world.
NFTs were very quick to make headlines, especially since some digital art has already been sold for millions of dollars. Popular memes such as the Nyan Cat have also been put up for auction on the internet, and someone just might own the legal rights to this meme soon.
What are NFTs?
If you haven’t heard of NFTs before, then here is a simple explanation: NFTs allow people to buy and sell ownership of one-of-a-kind digital items. This can include clips from videos, drawings, GIFs, songs, or just anything that can be put up on the internet. However, there is a small catch to NFTs. While an NFT could become a unique masterpiece like a Van Gogh, it could also become a trading card with multiple copies of the original.
How Do NFTs Work?
If you are familiar with cryptocurrency, then you would be aware of the Ethereum blockchain. Like bitcoin and dogecoin, Ethereum is a cryptocurrency that also allows for the trading of NFTs. When someone sells or purchases an NFT, a record is kept in the blockchain to preserve original ownership of the digital art. This is similar to a file on your computer, only with an additional tag of authenticity and ownership.
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The reason why the art industry is evolving with NFTs is because the highest bids on some digital art are resembling the prices of artwork by Picasso. For collectors, NFTs came as a knight in shining armor. They can now own complete ownership of digital art and safeguard it in hopes for it to gain value sometime in the future.
Why are NFTs Important?
While NFTs can be something as simple as a drawing or an old tweet, the art industry is definitely more concerned about the buying and selling of digital art. This form of artistic expression has recently gained popularity – with new creators using software and technology to create new forms of art.
Companies like Apple have truly made the process easier with the introduction of their latest iPad that comes equipped with a pen and provides access to apps that let users draw freehand on a screen. As the screen is fitted with AI, it can easily recognize shapes and tweak them to perfection. As a result, digital art was born.
Ethereum blockchains are providing artists with a reliable way to sell and purchase digital art. As these NFTs gain more and more money, creators and collectors are both increasingly interested in joining in on the trend, too.
The popularity of NFTs can be traced to long before digital art became mainstream, though. Back in 2017, CryptoKitties was an NFT that allowed users to customize kittens and trade them amongst each other. Eventually, these CryptoKitties became collectibles and enthusiasts were not reluctant to spend thousands of dollars on them. By observing the hype that surrounded CryptoKitties, more art enthusiasts began hopping on the trend in an attempt to stay relevant in this progressive industry.
Does It Contribute to Global Warming?
As many people are already aware, blockchain technology like cryptocurrency is extremely energy-hungry and mining them requires a considerable amount of energy. Since NFTs use the same technology in the Ethereum blockchain, there is a chance that purchasing NFTs means that you are contributing towards greenhouse gas emissions. While there are already a few cases where artists decided to cancel their plans to sell NFTs have already risen, others are simply working towards finding an alternate way to make NFTs work.
What Happens If I Buy Digital Art?
See, that’s the thing about purchasing anything that has already been on the internet: billions of other people have access to it too. Essentially, you are paying for something that is already available for free. However, some artists are trying to find a way around this to ensure that their digital art follows the legacy of a Van Gogh, not a trading card with hundreds of copies. While you would have the original ownership deed to a certain piece of digital artwork, it will still be accessible to other people for free.
Then why are people spending so much money on NFTs? Because that is what art collection is. Back in the day, maybe purchasing traditional artwork might have seemed like an absurd idea. But over a few decades, the worth of these paintings has risen significantly, and people have successfully made profits worth billions.
In this way, the value of NFTs and digital art might also rise over time – which is why collectors are quick to spend their money on it today. However, this is dependent on the assumption that digital art would still be around centuries from now. Since image quality can deteriorate, file formats change, and new developing systems can come into practice, investing in NFTs for digital art is still a risk. Paintings in museums are not that safe either, though. Paper can rip, paints can fade, and even the most perfectly preserved paintings could be stolen right from the museum.
After all, art is an interesting and diverse industry to be involved in.
While the world of NFTs and digital art is just scratching the surface for now, it has already gained a significant amount of profit. Since digital art is more environmentally friendly by not using paper or paints, many creators are interested in this new form of art.
If NFTs can allow creators to sell their digital art online without a hassle, then perhaps NFTs could be the ultimate future of art. Only time can tell whether the next Picasso or Van Gogh is going to be someone on the internet who just created a funny meme.