“Nonfungible tokens” and blockchain technology are taking the mainstream art world by storm, fetching huge prices. We explain, or try to.
If you’ve heard about them and want to know what the fuss is about, here’s a primer.
An NFT is an asset verified using blockchain technology, in which a network of computers records transactions and gives buyers proof of authenticity and ownership. The current boom is mostly for digital assets, including images, GIFs, songs or videos. Most importantly, NFTs make digital artworks unique, and therefore sellable.
Now, artists, musicians, influencers and sports franchises are using NFTs to monetize digital goods that have previously been cheap or free. The technology also responds to the art world’s need for authentication and provenance in an increasingly digital world, permanently linking a digital file to its creator.
Winkelmann sold the artwork himself through Christie’s.
Now, with the value of cryptocurrencies reaching record highs, some of the same investors who speculate on them are buying and trading NFTs, often for eye-popping prices. Beeple is the most high-profile artist to make a gigantic sale, but there are now plenty of illustrators, video and graphic artists selling work at high prices.
Source: New York Times