NFT, the digital art revolution
NFT, which stands for ‘Non Fungible Token’, are digital certificates that authenticate, through blockchain technology also used by cryptocurrencies, files that are sold in the art market.
How NFTs work seems simple. A video, an image, an audio, a text or any compressed file obtains an identifier. This certificate records the author’s name, initial value, sales history and other data related to the work in question. In this way, this non-fungible good is given an entity, i.e. it cannot be duplicated, cannot be exhausted by use and cannot be replaced. This simple identification and authentication operation is the basis of so-called crypto art.
Crypto art, like all art, has developed its own market around it: with its artists, works, patrons, audiences and institutions. NFTs are, in short, the certificates of ownership of virtual or physical assets that are exchanged in this digital art market. And some compare NFTs to digital autographed prints. This is how dozens of influencers, tech moguls, celebrities and companies have joined the digital art craze and the purchase of NFTs.
The digital art ecosystem
It is estimated that by 2021 digital art will have generated 3 billion euros. And its patrons are mainly young collectors eager to speculate and invest, but also to buy their symbolic and cultural capital with this new art; new millionaires from emerging technology companies, many of them from Asian countries.
All of them find works of digital art in specific galleries, such as MITO, a platform created for the Hispanic community. In the world, the best known of these galleries is Opensea, founded in 2017 and with more than 14 billion dollars in sales volume. But there are others known worldwide, such as Rarible, Superare, Solanart or Valuable.
A market worth millions
The latest milestone for this new digital art was set on 11 March 2021, when a JPG file by the artist Beeple was sold for $69.3 million (around 57.8 million euros) by Christie’s auction house in New York. The work was entitled ‘Everydays – The First 5,000 Days’.
Since then, crypto art has exploded. A ‘New York Times’ columnist has even sold an article for $560,000. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who has bet big on the digital and cryptocurrency market, sold a tweet for $2.9 million. Memes, such as the famous Disaster Girl, have sold for exorbitant amounts; and digital collections, such as the $16.9 million Larva Labs, which are nine portraits of a set of creatures illustrated in 2017, the Cryptopunks, a pioneering work in the world of digital art.
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