Crypto Art, NFT & what else? // Part 1

From Pinterest

‘This digital art just sold for nearly $70 million — the highest crypto-art sale in history — making its creator one of the top three most valuable living artists’

a title from Insider magazine
A screenshot from Christie’s website

Authors: Klaudia Chzhu, Renata Procópio

On March, 11, 2021 the art-piece ‘EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS’ by Beeple was sold on Christie’s site for nearly $70 million! Is it a justified reason now to start talking about the influence of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and finally Crypto Art and NFT? Yes, it is! We explain to you everything step by step. Ready? 

It is only fair to say that it needs quite a lot of time and effort to understand Crypto world, so this post is a part 1 of the series on Crypto Art. Post 1 is an Intro. We will go through three things:

  • Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
  • Digital Art & Crypto Art
  • NFT

Keeping up with fast evolving technology is a challenge for all of those who have to utilize and exploit new digital platforms. If you find yourself lost in the middle of the technological boom caused in the last year, and just like us a while ago not having a clue about what all those terms mean, check a quick introduction below and find some of the most used terms of the moment!

As Time Goes By
From Pinterest. Description: As Time Goes By
Edition 1 of 1
Illustration and animation
by mel duARTE.

Starting from the base with a simple question:

What is blockchain?

Understanding the basic concepts of blockchain technology: how blocks contain data that represents anything of value, how they are chronologically connected in an immutable chain, and the differences between blockchain and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.

With a decentralized nature, its maintenance differs from traditional registries, the value of an authorized blockchain for business transactions and how the blockchain promotes new levels of trust and transparency. This can control when, where and how a luxury product, artworks or even food was made, shipped and processed, all while protecting the data of network participants.

Blockchain x Cryptocurrency 

"Sea of Life", 2019.
From Pinterest. Description: “Sea of Life”, 2019.
Edition 1 of 1
Mixed media: Abstract digital painting, photographic collage and gif with 70 frames, produced in Inkscape and Gimp, by mel duARTE.

The first one is the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency (among other things). … A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the US dollar, but is digital and uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds. By spreading its operations across a network of computers, blockchain allows Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to operate without the need for a central authority (a bank). This not only reduces risk but also eliminates many of the processing and transaction fees.

You can obtain this digital currency by paying “real” money to buy a set number of coins or tokens. Cryptocurrencies have also become more popular following the success of early investors in Bitcoin—some of whom made millions of dollars by obtaining coins when the value was low. Some supporters believe that cryptocurrencies are the future of financial transactions.

Digital Art & Crypto Art, NFT

Crypto art is a category of art related to a blockchain technology that emerged in the mid to late 2010s. The name ‘Crypto art’ is the same as a ‘digital art’ that is treated like physical art due to the ability to have verified ownership of the piece. Crypto art can be verified in the same way like a physical art work but using an NFT or a non-fungible token. An NFT is a special token that represents a unique ID that is linked to a piece of crypto art that cannot be replicated and is used to verify ownership of a piece. You can attach it to any digital format file: a JPEG, GIF, MP4, even music. This token that proves ownership of the ‘original’ file is stored on the Blockchain which is a permanent ledger that can be accessed from any computer over the world. NFTs are not only used for art, but for domains, records, and many more.

But it were Art works to be early use case for NFTs due to the alleged ability of NFT to provide proof of authenticity (as a authenticity certificate for an acquired a non-digital work) and ownership of digital art, like digital signatures. Verification of authenticity and provenance, in turn, is one of the art market’s greatest challenges for works where the artist is no longer alive. NFT is a 21st century solution then? Besides, Crypto Art, if we can even say, movement is a response of artists to monetize their art on the Internet space. This applies especially to emerging artists who still do not found their collectors and a niche in the art market.

It also facilitates all the process for new artists who do not have an art gallery to support and usually find lots of “difficulties” to expose their artwork in physical places.

This new method serves not only the artists but also the collectors, exposing more options of real art and turning it more accessible to everyone.

Thus, becoming a vital element in the protection of digital artworks, the intervention of blockchain is also opening up an entirely new market of crypto-art and digital collectibles. 

"Quantum Matrix Energy", 2019
From Pinterest. Description: “Quantum Matrix Energy”, 2019
Edition 1 of 1
Digital generative art illustration with animation, produced in Gimp, by mel duARTE. Gif size: 31 frames, 1000×1000 pixel, 1,26 MB.

Next part will focus on:

  • Crypto Art: How does it work? And how to sell?
  • Crypto and Digital Artists worldwide
  • Dialogue with a Crypto artist. We will ask all the things we do not understand yet!


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