What is an NFT Anyway?
What is a Non-Fungible Token? In this new world of cryptocurrency and paying for things in the cloud, NFT’s have been a surprising new development in our lives. Have you seen those hideous ape cartoons that celebrities have as their social media avatars? Those tokens are singularly owned by those people after having purchased them with cryptocurrency (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency). There is, in essence, a piece of information on the blockchain that makes it clear that the image is officially owned by the person who purchased it.
Some people are wondering, why must they be so disgusting to look at? Well, consider the fact that there might be a diverse range of artistic experiences you can have in the world of NFT’s that you are simply not being exposed to. These tokens can be anything from awfully rendered apes to recreations of the most beautiful song you have ever heard in your life. If you did not know, NFT’s can be delivered in an audio format these days, as evidenced in many musicians making tokens of their songs and offering each one to a unique buyer via the blockchain.
Before you fixate on that terrible looking monkey, you have to remember that art is totally subjective and just because a cartoon does not work for you, it is universally panned. Well, maybe that might be the case with the apes, but that is only in hindsight as I am sure you have discovered. Critically, this is a space where artists who have never had any sort of access, publicity and celebration might be able to enjoy a fantastic career in the spotlight via the tokens they offer.
Many tokens have been minted in recent years that are pushing the boundaries of what constitutes sellable work. Do you watch Antiques Roadshow? It is, by far, one of the best television programs to come out of the United Kingdom (to be successfully copied in the United States). When you watch that show, you may play a drinking game where you take a sip every time someone says the word “provenance” — and in 20 years, we could be taking sips every time someone says the word “fungible”!
In a lot of ways, this has democratized artistry to a scale that we have not yet seen. Just as the Basquiat was not properly appreciated until long after his death, NFT’s may quite easily undergo a similar process of socio-cultural appreciation due to the way the work can be reproduced and packaged. For example, you can purchase a room in a digital art gallery where you place all your NFT’s, and you might be able to visit that room in the meta verse. There are so many ways that those who manipulate paint and color in traditional ways are going to be disrupted by NFT’s, and we should look forward to the chance to learn more about how human beings can barter and interact with one another in this way.
Investing in NFT’s
If you have the cash to play around with, you might want to consider investing in NFT’s as a form of payment. Yes, you read that right — you can use an NFT pay platform to exchange cash for tokens or other elements in the blockchain. You can simply input your credit card information and walk away with an NFT. In this way, a brokerage firm exists that will process your payment as a cryptocurrency and provide you with an NFT on the other side. That way, you can go straight to the piece of work you desire without having to create a digital wallet beyond what exists on your phone already.
This process used to take at least ten days, but it now takes less than a minute. You might put your artwork or sound clip up for sale and you will be able to accept all major credit card payments via existing cryptocurrencies that are on the specific platform you choose. It is important to think about engaging with this type of economy as we are rapidly moving towards a future that seems to deeply value the idea of each individual becoming a personal “brand” and having their own business profile. In a lot of ways, the token is a vanguard of the future of world economies.
El Salvador and the Central African Republic are the two countries who accept cryptocurrency as official legal tender. We are undoubtedly headed towards a future that sees more governments onboard these strategies to help battle inflation, poverty and inequality. Artists can take advantage of this revolution that is quickly turning into an experience of revanchism by promoting their own work and leveling the playing field with traditional art world cronies who have monopolized the art selling and buying market. When you were a young artist in your first ever class, you might have imagined one day you’d be selling at a major auction house, and now you can sidestep that entire process.
When we consider the fact that the customer can directly access the pieces they want, we are doing away with the middlemen in the art industry that decided what effort is valuable and what work is disposable. We can finally bypass these people who may not have anyone’s best interests at heart except their own relationships. Having existed in the trenches of art dealing for so long, many of these dealers have biases and blind spots that the average customer can look past by being able to access the work themselves directly. You can easily learn more about the world of NFT’s on the internet.
By selling your artwork via token and accepting payments online from regular customers, we are creating a new democratic process for both people selling their work and those who may not have had the chance to access such work in the past. This is a major cultural shift that can only hope to see disruption in its wake as artists reclaim their position in society as commentators with great social cache. They can achieve this cache by being paid fairly and dearly, and thankfully, NFT payments can truly help them along in this process.