More and more digital artworks are bought and sold in the form of NFT. These digital tokens can be purchased or acquired for various reasons: for financial investment, as a collector’s item, or for sentimental value.
Buyers of digital products/assets through NFT may also see it simply as a way to feel more connected to the brand involved or to financially support artists.
Crypto art is conceived as a new art based on scarcity and the possibility of validation of a work. As with a normal physical painting, validated by the artist’s signature, even a digital work can be validated in the same way, but digitally via an NFT or Non-Fungible Token.
What are NFTs?
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are cryptographic tokens that enable the sale of digital works, by means of tamper-proof and unique, non-exchangeable digital property titles. In other words, these tokens allow you to prove ownership of an asset and its authenticity, i.e. that it is indeed the original creation and not a copy.
In summary: NFT stands for a non-fungible token and is a unique and unrepeatable digital signature that validates the authenticity of digital work and is contained in the Ethereum blockchain (a blockchain is a digital ledger, a decentrally shared data structure). The difference with a classic work is that in addition to not being physical, it is impossible to counterfeit it, precisely because the Ethereum blockchain, like all protocols similar to this cryptocurrency, is not controlled by anyone and can be accessed from any computer and anywhere in the world.
Thus, once uploaded, the NFT of the digital work remains there immutably. Moreover, anyone, by connecting to specific sites (such as OpenSea and Rarible), can check the code of each NFT that is permanently recorded on the blockchain.
The importance of this digital authenticity format has always been in high demand, the question, “how do I know if this digital file is an original or a copy?”, has always been a doubt for many people. And NFT can help with exactly that!
Nowadays the number of digital artists has been growing a lot, with people developing digital art, videos, GIFs, or even music and audios. The big difference that moves this market is the exclusivity of having original art signed by the artist. Before NFT it was difficult to prove that that file was not a copy, and this is one of the reasons why this concept has grown so much in the last few months.
What kind of art sells as NFT?
Any digital file or real-world object that a creator wishes to make unique can potentially become an NFT. Once a person owns this token for a work of art or any other achievement, he becomes the exclusive owner and only he can resell it.
However, most NFTs are digital files. This simply makes it easier for the creators of NFTs to deliver rare and unique products to their collectors. But most NFTs are digital artworks, and many people are now collecting these digital artworks, just as traditional collectors have been collecting sculptures, statues, and other physical paintings for centuries.
In the popular forms of NFTs we find:
- Digital Artworks.
- JPEG Images,
- Game Items
- other unique digital items
NFTs are also a real new opportunity for the digital art field because they allow you to fight against copying by offering a forgery-proof digital certificate of authenticity. Buyers have a unique NFT that makes them the legitimate owner of the work.
And you should know that NFTs do not only appeal to art market participants:
Other sectors like sports for example have also already incorporated these tokens into their business models. Take for example the NBA Top Shot platform that allows NBA fans to collect and exchange videos containing the actions of a basketball game via NFT.
Another example is the WePlay Collectibles that are for people who want to be part of Esports events and show that they like players and talents in a different way, as well as merchandising. The WePlay Collectibles are part of a platform, where you can buy items with NFT technology – both digital and physical. They are rewards and items associated with a specific tournament.
Find more information about the platform and NFTs at https://weplaycollectibles.com/
On the video game side, publishers are also starting to get interested in NFTs and blockchain opportunities. We can take the example of SKY Mavis, which released Axie Infinity, an animal creature game, where every creature in the game is an NFT.
What NFT art sells best?
Since the first months of 2021, many works have been sold in NFT form, sometimes reaching record sales levels. Here are some recent examples of sales in NFT form that have caused headlines, for their astronomical and unprecedented sums:
- US $69.3 million for Everydays: the First 5 000 Days by Beeple
A record sale achieved by auction house Christie’s for American artist Beeple’s Everydays: the First 5 000 Days, which is a collage of 5,000 drawings and animations created daily for 5,000 consecutive days from 2007 to 2021.
- US $6.6 million for Crossroads by Beeple
The buyer of Crossroads, also created by Beeple, didn’t know exactly what he was going to buy. This NFT was the auction during the 2020 US presidential election. Depending on the outcome, the auction would offer one of two possible works. Ultimately, Trump’s defeat led Beeple to finish his piece, which shows the former president slumped on the ground and covered in graffiti.
- $6 million for Grimes’ WarNymph digital collection
Ten digital works by Canadian superstar singer Grimes have been put up for sale on the specialized platform Nifty Gateway. Among these works, in March 2021, a single video titled “Death of the Old” was sold as an NFT for $389,000.
- $6 million for Ocean Front by Beeple
This NFT was sold right after Everydays: the First 5 000 Days. Ocean Front shows the dangers of climate change, and while it can be interpreted from this perspective, Beeple announced that he would donate the money from the work, which sold for $6 million, to the Open Earth Foundation.
- $5.4 million for Stay Free by Edward Snowden
This NFT was created by Edward Snowden, a former employee of the NSA (National Security Agency) and CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) who leaked top-secret government documents to the public about things and mass surveillance projects carried out by these US government intelligence agencies.
The work consists of the legal documents that actually state that the NSA broke the law with their surveillance projects. and in which you can see Snowden’s face. It was sold for $5.4 million, donated to the Freedom of the Press foundation.
Is NFT good for artists?
Interestingly, no middleman is needed to validate a work, but it can be verified by anyone at any time. Also, the works that can be sold through NFTs can have a variety of digital formats: images, videos, animated GIFs, and even music tracks.
It is all based on scarcity and the value the buyer places on the work. Obviously, creating a single NFT or even a numbered multiple of the same work creates something that not everyone can have. Only those who own the NFT (in this case, in the digital wallet) are the true owners of that digital artifact. This process is obviously different from simply downloading the image, video, GIF, etc. Digital work, therefore, takes on a completely different value.
Crypto-collectors (i.e. collectors of digital artifacts) invest money in this new market for various reasons: some do it to buy and sell collectors’ works, others just for the sake of owning a digital-only work, to encourage others, and to support the work of many digital artists.
How do I buy NFT artwork?
There are several sites that interface with the Ethereum blockchain for the sale of digital works that can be drawings, GIFs, compositions, text (The New York Times sold an article in NFT for $560,000), songs, videos, compositions, and anything else that can be understood in the definition of a work of art.
Since most NFT marketplaces are part of the Ethereum network, you need to have an Ethereum crypto wallet (the most recommended digital wallets are Metamask, TrustWallet or Coinbase Wallet) in order to buy NFTs. And most of the buying and selling is done in Ether (ETH).
Then you need to access one of the cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, Kraken and Gemini, to buy Ether (ETH) and transfer it to your digital wallet like Metamask, after that process you need to connect your crypto wallet in NFT marketplaces listed below to complete the purchase NFTs.
Top NFT platforms for buying and selling NFTs
OpenSea which also describes itself as the world’s first and largest marketplace for digital products and assets, offers and supports a wide variety of NFTs from various categories including art, sports trading cards, crypto collectibles, virtual worlds or metaverses, ENS domain names, sports, digital collectibles and other collectibles.
The platform also includes assets from the ERC-721 and ERC-1155 protocols. You can discover exclusive digital assets, buy, sell and trade assets like Axies (Axie Infinity), CryptoPunks, CryptoKitties, Decentraland, The Sandbox and more.
If you want to sell any items on OpenSea, you can sell these items for fixed prices, or make auction lists.
- Nifty Gateway
Nifty Gateway is an NFT digital art marketplace that makes it easy for users to buy and sell NFTs as easily as products on eBay .
Nifty Gateway runs NFT drops every three weeks, and only showcases NFTs and Nifties collections from celebrities, popular digital artists and major brands. However the great thing about this platform is that it allows you to buy and sell NFTs in US dollars, meaning that besides a crypto wallet you can also connect your bank account.
This is an NFT marketplace that puts a strong focus on art products and assets. NFT creators can use the Rarible NFT marketplace to upload new works, be they music, short films, virtual reality, books, and digital art. The platform also has its own governance token of the ERC-20 standard. Rarible distributes RARI tokens to the most active buyers and sellers on the platform, meaning the most active users earn RARI tokens.
You can buy and sell NFTs from various categories such as art, photography, music, games, ENS domain names, memes, Punks, metaverses, DeFi (decentralized finance), and other assets.
This is a marketplace for people who love to buy and sell unique and one-of-a-kind or limited edition digital artworks. Each artwork created by a digital artist on this site is marked as a crypto-collectible digital item that you can collect and trade.
This platform that describes itself as Instagram meets Christie’s, supports a new way to collect art on the internet.
The purchase NFTs is generally done using Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network.
At the time of this writing, SuperRare only curates a number of approved artists and creators; however, you can use the submission form available on the site to submit your artist profile as well as your portfolio to enter upcoming NFT releases.
Foundation is a platform designed specifically to bring together digital creators, artists, crypto enthusiasts and collectors to be part of the new internet culture. The Foundation describes itself as the new creative economy, and its focus is on digital art.
Whenever an NFT is transacted on this platform, the artist earns 10% on that secondary sale, in other words, an artist can receive 10% of the sales value whenever a collector or buyer resells their work on the secondary market for a higher price.
AtomicMarket is a smart contract-based NFT marketplace with shared liquidity. Shared liquidity means that all artworks listed on one market also appear and can be traded on all other markets on AtomicMarket.
This platform uses a standard for NFT tokens from the eosio blockchain. Any internet user, artist or content creator can use this site to create digital assets or upload digital files, as well as buy, sell, trade and auction assets using this NFT marketplace.
As it is an open platform, you can also list your own NFTs for sale as well as browse existing listings.
- Myth Market
Myth Market is a series of NFT marketplaces that offers NFTs from big brands of digital trading cards, including Garbage Pail Kids digital cards, GoPepe, Blockchain Heroes collectible cards, KOGS collectible cards, and you can also find William Shatner memorabilia.
BakerySwap is a crypto hub based on smart contracts that offers and supports a wide range of decentralized financial services (DeFi), a crypto launch platform and a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
BakerySwap’s NFT marketplace hosts digital art, memes, and NFT game items that users can buy NFTs with BAKE tokens. However, you can also list or upload your artwork. Selling your own art on this site is an extremely simple, easy and straightforward process.
KnownOrigin is an NFT marketplace powered by the Ethereum blockchain, where you can discover, buy and collect digital artworks. NFT creators and artists can use KnownOrigin to show and sell their own artwork.
Creators or artists can upload their own digital artwork as JPG and GIF files to the KnownOrigin gallery, where all digital files are protected by IPFS (Interplanetary File System).
Portion is an online platform that connects artists and collectors NFTs through Blockchain technology to buy, sell, invest and collect art and collectible items transparently and securely.
This platform also allows anyone to become a collector of NFTs. Portion also makes it easy for artists to manage their own physical and digital collections in a single account, thus facilitating the exchange of crypto for art and digital collectibles.
- Async Art
Async Art is an online marketplace that also bills itself as a blockchain-based art movement. The platform facilitates artists to create, collect and exchange programmable art.
However, users of this platform can buy “Masters” and “Layers”. Masters are nothing less than a 1/1 edition artwork, while layers are the individual components or features that make up the Master image.
Layers are endowed with special abilities decided by the creator of the artwork or artist. When the artist changes something on a layer for example, the master image will reflect this. Digital artists can select or choose the parameters of their art and grant exclusive control over any aspect to buyers or collectors of digital artifacts.
Since its launch in February 2020, there has been over $11.4 million in bidding volume on the platform and over $4.3 million in NFT sales.
What Future for NFTs?
The future for NFTs looks bright, especially for digital art. Indeed, NFT tokens will allow artists to offer art enthusiasts a non-duplicable digital ownership certificate for any assigned digital asset, which was not the case before.
Of course, it should be noted that even though most sites rely on the Ethereum platform, there are also other platforms that are based on different protocols (Binance Smart Chain, Flow, Wax, Tezos and others).