Non – Fungible Tokens took the artworld by storm!
Over the past few months, the headlines on NFTs have been rapidly increasing because crypto-art fans have been spending astronomical amounts on NFT artworks. Even Christies has jumped on the bandwagon, making history as the first major auction house to offer a purely digital work with an NFT attached, and the first to accept cryptocurrency!
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are cryptocurrencies, much like Bitcoin. But whereas a bitcoin is fungible, meaning that if you trade one for another you will have the same thing, NFTs are unique digital assets, with a different value, and they cannot be used to buy things. An NFT is the digital certification of ownership of an artwork and other collectibles in the way title deeds of a house denote ownership of that property. They provide proof of the artist’s authorship of a specific work, carrying an encryption of their signature, and contains a smart contract that usually includes a royalty payment to the artist of ten per cent of the resale value whenever the work is traded.
To make an NFT, a digital file—a JPEG, a GIF, an MP4—must be generated or minted on a marketplace for digital creators such as MakersPlace or SuperRare, before the NFT is issued. While the artworks are traded on that marketplace, their NFTs are registered on a blockchain, usually Ethereum, a secure public ledger. “The artworks are actually free,” explains Robert Norton, founder and CEO of Verisart, which since 2015, has provided blockchain certification for digital and physical artworks. We can all download the file from the marketplace. “The experience of owning the artwork and not owning it are interchangeable. The value is in the smart contract – the owner can sell, and the viewer can’t.” says Norton.¹