Non-fungible art


Can non-fungible tokens boost the art world? In a previous post, I discussed how the art world is rigged. The price of fine art is manipulated. Galleries and auction houses drive up the price in all sorts of ways. The question remains if this will be different in the NFT art community.

Looking around on Foundation I see some interesting creators: Jon Burgerman, James Jean, Jeff Soto, Cameron Burns, Ashley Wood, Musketon, and more. There quite some established names on Foundation. And they are selling their art at high prices. So is this invitation-only platform pushing prices the same way as traditional art houses?

Of course, non-fungible tokens can be used for many different things. It’s different from Bitcoin, as a non-fungible token is more unique as no identical tokens can exist. In contrast with cryptocurrencies, your one Bitcoin has exactly the same value as mine.

But NFTs still have a long way to maturity. Both as a technology and a value for its collectors.

This value is defined by the metadata they hold. Metadata is still controlled by an authority as it is often stored off-chain. Wasn’t the point of blockchain technology to eliminate such an authority?

Luckily a protocol such as IPFS, the InterPlanetary File System, may solve some problems. And depending on the contract some metadata can be stored on-chain. But some of the much-needed features in the new digital art world are still depending on the marketplace itself. Such as royalties which are not (yet) part of the contract.

How do we need to look at an NFT? Well, look at it as an art print. A series of representations approved by the artist. You don’t own the actual physical piece, but a digital asset that represents it. The artist still has the right to create more tokens.

So you still need to do your homework before you start investing in a digital art piece. As everyone can pretend to be an artist and save an image or video from the internet. Anything can be declared as an NFT. Nothing will protect you from buying counterfeit artwork on an NFT marketplace. You will also need to predict if the artist is selling a one-of-a-kind NFT, or if they will mint more in the future. But as it goes with a series, the first one will still have more value than the last.

How are showcases on Dapper Esq. different? We are not different than anybody else. But as the hype continues, guidance is much needed. Most NFTs seem to represent memes, GIF animations, and 3D-renders. But beyond the surface a lot more is possible. And opportunities for upcoming artists are on the rise. We like to support that.

Picture: “Everydays — The First 5000 Days” by Beeple

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Read the story of Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple)