For centuries, people have been creating and collecting art. Whether it’s a painting of a landscape or an oil on canvas of a cow, many pieces of art are prized possessions that can be passed down throughout generations.
Now with the emergence of blockchain technologies such as CryptoKitties, digital assets with real-world value is making a whole new type of art possible.
What is an NFT?
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs to use the technical term, are assets that can’t be interchangeable with other assets. For example, your house could not replace my house in a swap for another one because they’re two separate entities. In blockchain terms, they’re two separate smart contracts.
What makes NFTs unique from typical cryptocurrencies is that their value comes from the uniqueness of each token. This means you can’t send one token to multiple people to get more tokens. Every NFT is its own individual asset with no duplicates allowed.
NFTs are built using the ERC-721 token. This is a standard created by the Ethereum community which gives every NFT its own set of properties.
How are NFTs Used in Art?
A few successful crypto-art projects have proved that blockchain technology has many applications, including fine art. For starters, one of the most famous examples of blockchain art is CryptoPunks, a project that allowed people to buy and sell pixelated characters as collectibles.
Since then, there have been quite a few other notable crypto-art projects. For example, decentralized artist Ascribe allows artists to upload their work onto the blockchain and attach a price tag for collectors to purchase a copy.
Another successful example of blockchain art is CryptoCarbon, which represents every virtual item with a piece of art. Other similar projects like CryptoPunks and CryptoCelebrities (also known as RarePepeWallet) were the first real-world applications for NFTs in fine art.
NFTs are also being used to incentivize and reward art patrons. For example, CryptoPunks’ creator Bryce Weiner has created a project known as the Art Collector Registry, which assigns digital certificates to those who purchase artwork.
Artists can also use blockchain technology to generate unique pieces of virtual art that can only be controlled by decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). In other words, one person could not sell the same piece of virtual art hundreds of times.
Blockchain technology can also be used to transform how people discover and share art using NFTs. For example, CryptoPunks’ creator has come up with a protocol known as Proof-of-Punk that distributes the digital assets out to anyone that wants to contribute to the project.
Bonus: What is a DAO?
A decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO for short, is an organization that operates without any form of central control. They’re run by code which gives them complete autonomy over their operations. A good example would be a car company controlled entirely by AI systems.