Many see the future of art in NFTs. Some, on the other hand, still miss the meaning of NFT art. However, it is a fact that in March 2021 the contemporary artist Beeple manages to sell his work Everydays: The First 5000 Days as NFT for the sum of 9 million dollars during an online auction organized by Christie’s. This event is undoubtedly a watershed in the art world, but is it leading us towards a devaluation of its essence or opening up to an exciting new chapter of it?
What are NFTs?
NFTs are unique cryptographic tokens that represent a digital property on the blockchain. They are not mutually interchangeable. They are opposed to fungible tokens, that is, tokens that do not have a specific individuality and that can be replaced with other tokens of the same kind. If we think of a work of art, this is a unique piece and even if there will be some other good that has the same economic value, there is nothing identical in the world. A work of art is therefore by definition non-fungible, because it cannot be exchanged for an identical good. The most common use of NFTs is the representation of a digital property. Most systems that support NFTs today allow you to tokenize a digital work, whether it is a work of art, an image or a video: an NFTs represents the ownership of the same asset that is unique and not duplicable.
NFTs and the art market
The art world is one of the main ones to have opened the doors to this type of technology. In the field of digital art, artists and creators have the opportunity to make their digital works of art as unique assets that can be bought, sold and exchanged, with the actual passing of ownership. Each tokenized artwork is created directly by the artist, using cryptographic keys to create the token. Anyone can download the image of the work but will not be able to own it, nor obtain any value from it without being the owner of the relevant NFT. Crypto Art also allows emerging artists to develop new forms of creativity and new interpretations of art, as well as gain earnings and visibility. Not to mention the unlimited possibilities that could open up with the introduction of Mataverso, the digital gathering promoted by Mark Zuckerberg that will allow the creation of digital exhibitions.
If you don’t want to consider them, you risk being excluded
The evolution of digital art is a phenomenon that, like it or not, is and is taking hold. Significant is that even the museums themselves are increasingly looking at crypto art and NFTs and almost all are trying to make them their own because they are aware that ignoring digital art would most likely mean the progressive exclusion from contemporaneity and the loss of important opportunities. We cannot be sure that NFTs will be the future of art, but it is undoubtedly necessary to develop a new awareness of the relationship between digital and culture. Digital art is not only virtual abstraction, but involves the aspects of traditional art: emotional relationships and temporal connections between past and future and is therefore in effect a new form of art.