By Regina de Con Cossío
NFTs are the new trend. Suddenly, they are on everyone’s lips and, from the art market’s perspective, the minute they dominate the conversations of the major gamers, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, they come under the spotlight. Despite the ambiguity still surrounding them, adjustments will occur along the way with the development of new normativity and, for sure, with a more frequent use. Their market is already valued in dollars.
This phenomenon didn’t happen overnight but over more than 50 years. Overall, the birth of NFTs lasted 30 years; back in the seventies the Internet was born and the first analyses of production changes ensued. However, the events of last February, demonstrated that the stage was set for a new game. The triggering moment took place not when creator, Chris Torres, decided to auction the meme of his authorship, “Nyan Cat”, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the cat holding a pop tart which had been circulating in YouTube. The actually shocking moment took place when he faced the fact that someone did pay the crazy amount of $590,000 usd. After that, Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, decided to put into a NFT auction a tweet of his own, followed by the sale at Christie’s of his first digital work with a unique NFT. Somebody bid an unimaginable 69 m dollars amount over the first 500 days.
For the Love of Art!
For many years digital content had been created and freely circulated in the net—since the beginning of the Internet. Many were expecting the moment when the marriage between content and value would happen, in order to add to the equation a beloved price figure. Artists, content creators, digital experts, and designers had been nurturing the web with images, sounds, videos, and all sorts of unique content. Sometimes, anonymously, through the use of nicknames and, most of the times, for free. What began as a game, a passion, or just an amusement spending time creating, is now solid and valued enough so as to be sold. It seems that all that was needed was time to consolidate all that value in order to make it, on one side, valuable and, on the other, an accurate exchange medium for sale.
The Arrival of Price
Now that the cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin are booming, it seems the right moment to begin the economics of the new market. How much is your time worth and what are the objects produced. In the age of digital coins, we are ready to set a new quantity. The question of authorship and rights sits on the table, and that is all the story behind NFTs so far. The owner and the author, behind one of the key elements of our political and social structure —namely property— once again reaches art.
NFTs grant authorship and simultaneously certify, in a more secure way, digital-content-art, allowing this content to be sold and owned. As the acronym states, NFT stands for non- fungible assets; that is, they cannot be replaced nor replicated. Furthermore, they are tokens: digital signatures created on blockchains, the technology to manage digital assets; etherum being the most common.
New Objects of Desire
In the context of the art market they have inaugurated a new branch of collectibles because through the process of conferring authorship to digital content and digital art they have inaugurated a new world of collectibles. Through these digital chains or tokens, a whole array of images, sounds, or videos with cryptocurrencies can be now linked to blockchains, thus securing the process of authorship and authenticity.
When referring to NFTs we are not talking about a new aesthetic or artistic movement, but of a new art market. You can visit these three main webs where you can buy digital art with NFT: niftygateway.com, superrare.co and cryptoart.io