What is NFT art?
Updated: Apr 12, 2022
An NFT is a digital asset that exists completely in the digital universe—you can’t touch it, but you can own it. An NFT can be any type of digital file: an artwork, an article, music or even a meme such as “Disaster Girl”, the original photo of which sold for $500k earlier this year.
NFT stands for ‘Non Fungible Token’, but what does that mean? Well, it helps to first understand what a ‘Fungible Token’ is. If we think of it in terms of money: a 100 dollar bill can be swapped for five 20 dollar bills and still hold the same value, which means a 100 dollar bill is a fungible token.
If this 100 dollar bill is signed by Banksy, it becomes a totally unique product. Its value is then much harder to determine, as it’s no longer simply worth five 20 dollar bills. This means a NonFungible Token cannot be swapped for any equivalent value. It also means that, like any investment, its value can increase or decrease in the future depending on the circumstances.
What we’re particularly interested in is: how will this new, digital means of selling art affect creators and the creative industry?
Ownership of digital art
Prior to the existence of Cryptocurrency, we never really got to own something that was completely digital. We passed around videos and motion graphics, repurposing and reposting them, but there wasn’t this current opportunity to automatically assume complete, concrete ownership over a digital file or artwork. The rise of NFT’s changes this, allowing creators the authority to rent digital artworks out, to sell them or display them how they wish.
In order to sell them, designers need to get some kind of ‘legal’ ownership of their work. So, after NFT art is created, it’s ‘minted’ or tokenized on the cryptocurrency service, Blockchain. The Blockchain is a digital transaction system that records information in a way that makes it very difficult to hack or scam, which means it’s extremely useful for tracking copyright ownership and maintaining records of creation. Theoretically, any digital masterpiece you create and mint will lead solely to you.
Ultimately, this process should allow digital artists to gain formal recognition for their work, similarly to how a painter like Gustav Klimt is credited with his infamous painting, The Kiss. The issue surrounding this very new concept is that although Blockchain does have contracts in place to support the legalities of minting and copyrighting cryptoart, none of these have yet been tried or tested in court.
Artists have already come forward with the news that they have had their work fraudulently minted and sold by scammers. But without relevant protection by the law or any preexisting legislation on this topic, it remains speculative as to what these artists will be able to do about this.
A novel way to generate income
NFT art is a totally new way of categorizing digital artworks that enables designers to monetize their work. It’s supposed to be a quicker process and a more accessible way for designers to produce work and reap the rewards for their creativity. There’s no chasing clients for payment, there’s no preparing files for print and there’s no waiting to hear feedback or changing and editing your work to suit a client’s needs.
Some NFT art comes with royalties to the artist, meaning every time the artwork is sold on, the artist can receive 8-10% of all future sales. This depends upon which platform the artist is using; Zora, for instance, is an NFT platform with the “Creative Share” option, meaning users can buy and trade artworks immediately.
A hefty ecological footprint
One controversy surrounding the world of NFT artworks is the impact it’s having on the environment.
YOU can make clean NFTs
Voice NFTs are minted on a carbon neutral blockchain so that we can preserve our earth while building our future.
How to actually create an NFT
NFT marketplaces allow designers and artists to upload their digital artwork and list it for sale online as an NFT. You can imagine them to be like Ebay or Etsy—except they’re purely for NFTs! The most popular ones include: Rarible, OpenSea, Mintable, KnownOrigin, SuperRare and Voice.
One thing to keep in mind when uploading your artworks onto these is how many you’re going to provide. You can choose to put it on as 1 of 1, meaning there will only be one artwork to exist and be sold, or you could decide to upload a collection of the artwork with multiple copies. This is quite a huge decision to make because—like traditional art forms—the number of original editions and how rare a piece is will directly impact its value.