October 01, 2021 |James Messi
Visiting museums and art galleries has served as an opportunity for people to learn and acquaint themselves with cultures from decades and centuries past. These cultural institutions are perfect venues to expose oneself to his or her culture and the various social developments that it had undergone. While it is impossible to see the whole picture solely by visiting museums, we can still get invaluable knowledge from past events, discoveries, and even tragedies that educational institutions sometimes fail to provide. Museums and art galleries not only allow some kind of diversion and amusement, they also possess the ability to bring history to life.
More often than not, people forget their roots as more and more technological innovations emerge. Massive developments in digital behaviors, economic uncertainty, and long-standing concerns of exclusivity have resulted in the dimming of these institutions’ public appeal.
Even London’s most popular art attractions were reported to have fewer visitors in 2017, considering that it had coincided with a significantly thriving tourism that year. It is only fitting to assume that this problem has worsened, especially with the ongoing mobility and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite this, a new art form that is fast gaining appeal from the public may offer hope for a rebirth. This art form is referred to as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). They are seen to potentially become the driving force behind the next generation of artistic exhibition.
What is a non-fungible token?
An NFT is a one-of-a-kind digital asset that denotes ownership of tangible items such as art, video clips, music, and more. NFTs can be taken as modern-day collectibles that are bought and sold online. They represent digital proof of ownership of any particular item.
NFTs use the same technology as cryptocurrencies. They are securely recorded on a blockchain to ensure that each asset is unique. This technology also makes them difficult to change or counterfeit.
To further understand the nature of NFTs, it is important to know the difference between fungible and non-fungible items and be familiar with the concept of “fungibility”.
Fungible assets can be easily swapped because their worth is not connected to their individuality. You may, for example, swap a $1 bill for another $1 bill and still have $1 even if your new bill has a different serial number.
Whereas, non-fungible objects cannot be interchanged. Each token in an NFT has distinct features and is not worth the same amount as other comparable tokens. They hold certain values based on their uniqueness. They can be paintings, audio snippets, collectible items, or GIFs.
Popular and Expensive NFTs sold
The NFT art scene changed the way we perceive art. They started to gain popularity among investors in recent months. Interest in the word NFT has reached all-time highs in Google as people look to understand more about the emerging asset class. But it is not only the public’s level of curiosity that’s increasing. NFTs are now being sold for a large amount of money. On record, the most expensive item was sold for 69.3 million dollars. The artwork called, “Everydays: The First 5000 days” was made by a well-known digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann. It is a collage of 5,000 of Beeple’s older works that shows his evolution all throughout his career as an artist.
CryptoPunks belong to the most expensive NFT sales. They are a collection of 10,000 randomly-generated digital characters which are among the first examples of non-fungible tokens that were issued on the Ethereum network.
Among the CryptoPunks sold are CryptoPunk #7523 for $11.8 million, CryptoPunk #7804 for $7.56 million, and CryptoPunk #3100 for $7.51 million.
A more familiar item sold as an NFT was the first tweet. Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey posted the first ever tweet on the platform in 2006 and put it up for auction this year. It was bought using Ether for $2.9 million by a Malaysia-based businessman. The buyer, Sina Estavi, likened his purchase to buying the Mona Lisa painting.
Recently, Canadian singer The Weeknd sold his previously unreleased music as an NFT for two million dollars.
Crypto Punks are the pioneers of the NFT culture, penetrating the mainstream to represent modern status of symbols and social esteem. Since then, many similar projects have emerged including Bored Ape Yacht Club and Cool Cats, among many others.
With growing interest and massive auction sales, NFTs have also attracted a number of corporate giants like Visa, Nike, and the NBA. Sports personalities Tom Brady, Steph Curry, and Lionel Messi even joined the bandwagon.
Art galleries and museums that strive to embrace innovation may find themselves on the verge of a revival as a result of this enhanced appreciation for artistic expression and excitement for NFT’s potential.
Elio D’Anna, founder of HOFA Gallery (House of Fine Art), said emerging NFT art forms add a new layer to our understanding of art and the world.
HOFA, a crypto-focused gallery based in London, in cooperation with Studio37, will hold a public exhibition in the coming weeks showcasing $64 million in NFT art, including six of the twenty-four ultra-rare CryptoPunks.
Among the NFTs that will be exhibited here are Punk, Ape, and Fidenza. D’Anna said these NFTs are a “historical creation of unique pieces that will be talked about for years to come.”
He said one of the reasons why more people are getting into NFT item collections is the rarity of owning one of the first-ever collectibles in this art form.
Aside from the rising popularity, one of the most important achievements of the non-fungible token market was the equal respect it continuously gets in comparison to its renowned peers. Prestigious auction house Sotheby’s participation in NFT auctions was also considered to be a turning point. It was the first firm to take Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) payments in May and continues to host NFT events such as the sale of the World Wide Web source code.
Sotheby recently sold a collection of 101 Bored Apes and six mutant serums for $24.39 million, surprising a lot of bidders during the event.
In April 2020, the Museum of Crypto Art, a metaverse gallery, opened in Somnium Space on the Ethereum blockchain. It houses a large collection of tokenized art purchased as NFTs by museum collectors. It was listed 20th on Cointelegraph’s annual list of the most prominent figures in crypto and blockchain in 2021.
The emergence of the NFT and Metaverse serves as proof of how art will continue to evolve. And as what HOFA founder D’Anna said “physical art will always reserve a very special place in everyone’s collection, but we should be open to more expressions and creations from the art world.”