Recently, “Paper Planes” singer M.I.A. announced her plans to auction off her digital artwork as a non-fungible token (NFT). NFL legend Tom Brady even announced the launch of his own NFT company, Autograph.
The internet is swarming with NFT hype, yet not many people understand the pricey transaction mode.
What Are NFTs?
A fungible item, like money, may be easily traded. But how can you sell a “Thriller” CD signed by the King of Pop himself? The process is not as easy, and that is where NFTs come in.
“NFTs are tokens used to represent ownership of unique items,” according to the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
Navigating the NFT realm is complex: it is such a new term that almost any unique item can be categorized as an NFT. However, Ethereum also notes that NFTs need provable ownership. This is why blockchains, servers that collect sets of information, record these certifications. If you want to sell an NFT in the future, here are a few possible items to consider:
– Digital artwork
– A unique sneaker (Think Kanye West’s “Red October” shoes)
– An Essay
– A domain name
– A digital collectible
Everyone Is Jumping On The NFT Bandwagon
Collectors of NFTs usually spend their dimes on digital art. From capitalizing on a single graphic design made by an artist to purchasing Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet, buyers are making their million-dollar mark. Dorsey’s tweet from 2006 sold for $2.6 million.
As mentioned, M.I.A. plans to auction of her digital artwork, titled “GIFTY 1” on April 8. She says the piece serves as a part of a larger art series that she calls “NFT GARAGE DANCE.”
“KALA COYN and the GARAGE DANCE series is a living, breathing, psycho-spectral canvas that crystalizes this moment in time for me,” the singer wrote in a statement.
Then, there is “Time is the Most Valuable Asset,” a virtual work of art created by the artist “aida.” The virtual clock counts down 73.4 years, the global life expectancy according to the World Health Organization. Currently, aida lists their work at over $69 million, making it the most expensive NFT in history.
Is An NFT Good Or Bad?
Artists and content creators alike have recently shared their opinions on this new form of profit. On the one hand, several artists feel that NFTs are a cop-out. On the other hand, many think that NFTs give digital artists a unique opportunity to make the same substantial income that their “pen-to-paper” counterparts do.
“That feeling that something that I made just because I love it has value is amazing,” Ellie Pritts, a photographer and animator from Los Angeles, told MIT Technology Review. “The people who bought my pieces were doing a lot of research. They weren’t people that I knew. They decided to invest in me because they had looked into me and thought that I was promising.”
The question of whether NFTs are good or bad seems to lie in the hands of the giver, and not the receiver. After all, artists who sell their art through NFTs are the ones attempting to make a profit. Because NFTs are so new, it is difficult to tell whether they actually benefit this demographic. In the meantime, bystanders to this new digital market can enjoy watching all kinds of art sell for millions. Even memes.