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NFTs and the Future of Digital Artwork

NFTs—non-fungible tokens—are taking over the cryptocurrency world in the form of digital artwork, trading cards, domain names, tweets, and more. NFTs are non-fungible because, unlike other forms of cryptocurrency, they contain unique properties. This means that one NFT is not equated to another NFT like one Bitcoin can be traded for one other Bitcoin. These unique properties make it so that each NFT has a different value.

Everydays: The First 5,000 Days created by Mark Winkelmann, known as Beeple, is currently the most profitable NFT. Sold at Christie’s, popular British auction house, Everydays: The First 5,000 Days and it’s associated NFT went for 69.3 million dollars. It is thought to accrue even more value as the years pass, predicted to eventually reach the billion dollar range.

What dictates the value of an NFT? Is it the quality of the artwork? The artist who made it? Cryptocurrency exchange company Binance says it’s related to three things: rarity, utility, and tangibility. Different NFTs are valuable for different reasons and a lot of them are hard to clock, which is part of the fun of trading.

Everydays: The First 5,000 Days rose in value for a few reasons. Beeple had a large social media following. He currently has 2.4 million followers on Instagram alone, combined with the rising popularity of NFTs, a lot of it can be chalked up to right time, right place. In many cases, this is just what artists need, especially now.

This Beeple project is not new. As of today, this is his 5,361st day adding a piece to the collection. This is to say that Beeple has been working on this project for over fourteen years, everyday adding a new piece to the collection.

Digital art does not get as much recognition as it should in the current social environment. The only ways digital art is currently capitalized on is through social media, many artists turning to platforms like Instagram and Twitter to showcase their work. NFTs could change that completely. By giving digital artists a platform to showcase, share, and trade theirs and others artwork, it’s starting to finally gain some recognition for their artistic qualities and the money they deserve.

However, there has already been some pushback. People have started claiming NFTs as illegitimate. People can upload anything as an NFT and while some artists have worked very hard on their pieces, others have thrown some images on a blank page and called it a day. Pretty much anyone with an iPad and access to Procreate can create an image and throw it up on an NFT site and hope for traction.

But isn’t that how art has always been? Anyone can create it, but not all become successful. Since NFTs are so new it’s hard to say what exactly they mean for digital art and the art world as a whole, but it definitely looks like a step in the right direction for digital artists.

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