The word NFT stands for Non-fungible token. The term “Non-fungible” in NFT art depicts its unique nature whereby it is not subject to replacement with something else. For example, a bitcoin is fungible where it may be traded for another bitcoin, and you will get the same thing. However, a unique trading card is non-fungible. And if you happen to trade it for a different card, what you would get is something completely different. 

Wait. What is an NFT again?

Having been around for less than a decade, NFT may be a digital image, a tweet, a song, or a video — in simple terms, a digital file collected and then validated through blockchain technology. Being fair to its name, blockchain is a form of database that assembles information into tight blocks, which are then consolidated in a way that allows collective control. It is run through a network of computers hooked into a common cryptocurrency. It also makes it difficult to hack the information by decentralizing the file. 

What does NFT art look like?

Buy an NFT, but do not expect to receive a physical object. It is interesting to note here that while you may be able to display your shiny new NFT on your screen or cellphone, but that’s about it. Often, you neither own the image, copyright, trademark or even visually distinctive art — as you may find many NFTs online. However, the intrinsic quality that makes NFT art unique is its coding. When you buy an NFT, you are purchasing a certificate of authenticity, or buying “bragging rights.” 

Why buy an NFT?

Guess the hack? The same Beeple video that was bought for a whopping $69.3 million can be easily downloaded with one right-click by the likes of you and me. Just like a digital file, you can copy the art included with an NFT, as many times as you want. But here’s the thing. The whole purpose of NFTs is to give you something that can never be copied: ownership of the work (though just like with physical artwork, the artist can still retain the copyright and reproduction rights). To put it in terms of collecting physical artwork: anyone can buy a Picasso print, but only one person can own the original. 

What’s the point?

The point here is dependent on whether you are an artist or a buyer.

For an artist: First of all, kudos to you! NFTs allow you to sell artwork that otherwise might not have a great market. Forget selling your digital stickers on the iMessage app store any longer. With the unique feature of NFTs, be assured that whenever your work gets super popular, you will reap the benefits of it. 

For a buyer: One of the prime motives for buying art is that it allows you to financially support artists of your choice, and that is even more true with NFTs. Also, buying an NFT gives you the right to be able to post the image online, and even gives you special copyright to set it as your display picture on any social media platform. And then again, you have all the ‘bragging rights in the world that you damn well OWN the art, with a blockchain entry to prove your point! 

Part of what makes NFTs so messy is that some people treat them as the future of collecting fine art, whereas some treat them like random Pokémon cards where although they serve as a playground for the rich, they are also accessible to normal people. Over time, NFTs have shaken up the art world.

The market for digital artwork is booming, with investments shooting up to 300% in the year 2020. With the pandemic changing the dynamics from a physical art collection to the setting of virtual art galleries like Dessine Art, digital art serves you with the much-needed thrill and excitement. It is in your face, with its fun, loud, bright, and quick appeal. It shuns the traditional guise of the art world and opens up a new world of art. What awaits is a new world, not an old world.

April 12, 2022