Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world. Powered by blockchain, it allows data to be transparent, and unchangeable after it is written inside a block.
The nature of the blockchain technology has allowed it to gain numerous fans and strong believers. And most notably, this is because the technology of blockchain can be implemented to various things that need "proof-of-ownership."
This includes arts.
In this case, NFT arts have suddenly dominated headlines across the world, and has more or less given an impact to their more "traditional" forms of arts.
From Elon Musk's partner Grimes to Mark Cuban, to Trevor Jones and more, they are just some of the drivers that made millions of dollars by selling their NFTs to those who wish to own their digital arts.
NFT arts here, are literally the arts that intersect traditional arts with technology.
NFT is short for 'non-fungible tokens.'
Basically, a NFT provides a blockchain-backed "proof of ownership" on an item that the token is attached to. This item could be anything that is digital.
Buyers of the NFT essentially purchase the ownership of the good, which ownership has been digitized in the blockchain, in the form of a unique digital token.
And in this case, the trend is on art.
"I have a feeling it's only going to get a lot bigger!" said Trevor Jones, an artist who has an educational background in fine arts with a focus on drawing and painting.
While Jones considers himself as a full-time artist and a "traditional painter," and at this time is still selling "physical" paintings, he managed to sell more than 4,000 pieces of NFTs in just 7 minutes, amounting to more than $700 each.
In other words, Jones has earned more than $3 million from just selling digital paintings of his.
"This digital art market is only getting warmed up and it could quite easily take over the $67 billion (physical) art market in the not too distant future," Jones told Insider in an email interview. "The traditional art markets, galleries, and auction houses that don't see this and don't prepare will become obsolete in 10 to 15 years."
Previously, Elon Musk's partner Grimes sold around $6 million worth of her NFT digital artworks after putting them up for an auction, in just 20 minutes.
The series which consists of several pieces of arts, were part of Grimes’ “WarNymph” collection, made in collaboration with her brother Mac Boucher. Grimes debuted War Nymph in 2019 and initially used the “digital persona” slash “alternative psyche” to promote her album Miss Anthropocene.
The arts went up for sale on Nifty Gateway on November 28th.
The highest-selling piece was a one-of-a-kind video called “Death of the Old” that involves flying cherubs, a cross, a sword, and glowing light that’s set to an original song by Grimes. The winning bidder acquired it for about $389,000.
Two other pieces, titled "Earth" and "Mars", made the bulk of the sales.
The short videos feature the planets with a giant cherub over them holding a weapon, set with original soundtrack. With hundreds of copies for the two short videos were sold, Grimes earned $7,500 for each sale.
In total, before the sales were closed, Grimes earned a total of $5.18 million from the auction.
According to Nifty Gateway, an undisclosed percentage of Grimes’ sales would go to Carbon180, a nonprofit organization focused on removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Buying NFT arts is like buying real and physical arts.
For example, anyone on the internet can literally "forge" digital artworks. But with NFTs, blockchain simply provides the proof-of-ownership, by putting the owner's name to the the blockchain.
In other words, not only that NFTs allow buyers to support artists, it also allows buyers some unique quirks never ever found on traditional arts.
And that is the digital ownership of arts.
The NFTs are essentially the "certificate: of ownership for authenticity.
Because blockchain is transparent, the owner of an NFT item is made public for anyone to see. When an NFT is created, it is put up on the blockchain and is time stamped, therefore making ownership very simple and easy to identify
This ownership can be transferred to the next buyer, if the owner wishes to sell the NFT item.
Seeing and anticipating a rise for this buying and selling NFT trends, a number of marketplaces have been created dedicated for this activity.
Besides Grimes and Jones, others who have sold digital arts through NFTs, include digital artist Beeple who has made millions of dollars, and electronic musician 3LAU who reportedly made more than $11 million from album sales and digital goods.
Not to mention, the artist behind Nyan Cat earned $600,000 from selling his famous meme using NFT through the crypto art platform Foundation.
This kind of trend, suggests that the future of arts could shift from physical arts in traditional galleries, to framed artworks on hanging video screens.
"No shade, but there's a lot of people [in the traditional art world] who would have never worked with us before we were in the NFT space," Mark Sabb, founder of artist collective Felt Zine, which aims to "give voice" to arts that aren't welcomed by traditional galleries and museums. "They're like gallerists and people we looked up to understanding they would never want to work with us, represent us, or really communicate with us deeply at all, who [are now doing so]."
But still, Sabb is among many others who don't expect traditional galleries to go defunct anytime soon of they don't pivot to NFTs.
NFTs are just another business model for those who want to earn money from their works, and aren't replacements for any contemporary arts.
"I think that artists feeling empowered may change the relationship that they have with some gallerists, similar to the ways streaming impacted the music industry, for good and bad," Sabb said. "But ultimately, we're probably looking at a reality where we have a thriving NFT space while the traditional art galleries continue to sell art the ways they always have."
“We’re at this moment in time where there could be a drastic shift—a demographic shift, a generational shift—when it comes to what excites younger collectors,” said Noah Davis, a Christie’s specialist in post-war and contemporary art in charge of the Beeple sale.
“Christie’s as an organization is really excited about a moment in time where you see $3.5 million of sales just organically appear out of thin air. That’s something we want to capitalize on.”