As of March 11, 2021, Christie’s Twitter post announced the auction of an NFT art named “Every day- the first 5,000 days by Beeple” as the Michael Winkelmann designed NFT went on a sale for a staggering amount of $69.4 million. Emerging as a prominent field of work for digital artists, the NFT market boom is the latest hot topic on the news and the large volumes have thus attracted many investors who are slowly shifting their focus from startups to digital artwork/ artists.
For the ones who are still not familiar with the concept of a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) and the hysteria behind it here is a simple breakdown of the so-called “fad”.
As the name suggests NFTs are non-fungible or non-tradable unique digital assets that are recorded on the blockchain– a decentralized virtual ledger and a concept that has gained quite some traction with the proliferation of Bitcoin. Being a completely virtual asset it is available in form of a JPEG image or even a video clip and can be bought or sold just like any physical commodity or asset.
As bizarre as it sounds, many believe that the intrinsic value of such assets is yet to be realized and hence investors are willing to pay stupendous amounts for them.
A budding business for artists or just a fad?
Reports suggest that the NFT market recorded a boom of 299% in 2020. The creative crypto segment registered more than a whopping $250 million in transactions the previous year. Backed by this strong tailwind, NFTs are largely expected to grow with much more pace in 2021. This gives an opportunity to numerous such digital artists to pounce upon and use their skills to earn themselves a fortune.
Although the recent NFT art market seemed to have stagnated a bit, artist Blake Jamieson believes that the NFT business is far from over. Jamieson earned close to $46,000 by selling NFT artwork in a span of six weeks.
While shifting our attention to the flip side of the spectrum, many artists are still reluctant and believe that it’s a bubble that will soon burst to cause havoc in the digital space.
With increasing speculation around cryptocurrencies, several people have decided against the so called “fad”.
How investors are leveling up the playing field for NFT artists?
Vignesh Sundaresan, the buyer of the most expensive NFT art called Beeple, a social entrepreneur and software architect himself announced a fellowship program with an aim to democratize access to Non Fungible Tokens. Sundaresan aims to do so through a crypto exclusive fund named Metapurse which is said to be the “largest NFT fund in the world”.
Through this program, early-stage projects across the blockchain infrastructure will be identified, giving numerous digital artists incentive to create and propagate the concept of NFTs.
A grant of $100,000 will be offered to creators along with a monthly stipend for up to a period of 12 months.
The NFT art boom has also paved the way for many angel investors to come into the play and channel their funds in the emerging crypto markets. This practice is emerging as a shift from the standard culture of investing into startups wherein angel investors would often channel their resources to entrepreneurs.
With this shift, even freelancing artists are subject to receive offers from angel investors in return for a percentage of their royalty.
Notable names like WazirX have also pounced on the opportunity by launching one of India’s first NFT marketplace. This will allow Indians to put up their digital assets for auction over the blockchain-based market and earn a royalty on that sale.
Over the period of a few months, artists have created numerous viral NFTs be it audio recordings, meme-based yearbooks, or even a portfolio of a humanoid robot-made painting.
From Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to music artist Diplo, celebrities from all domains have entered the fray suggesting that the demand for such collectibles is quite prominent.
How to create NFT art and where to sell it?
As a digital artist, one needs to first comprehensively understand the complexities of the NFT marketplace. Besides having a strong acumen and skills, profitable crypto artists ideally spend a good amount of their time developing and growing their fan base and educating themselves on various crypto protocols.
Taking the instance of Mike Winkelmann, more popularly known as Beeple’s success of NFT art. The collection of crypto artwork which he sold for $69.4 million took over 13 years to complete. Quite like modern art, these crypto digital assets have also gained significance as a work of art.
If you are an aspiring “crypto artist” then adhering to these norms will allow you to add to and expand your existing skillset. Taking advantage of garnering/ fellowship programs will not just help in building a network of fellow artists but also widen your audience who will eventually bid for these assets. Since each artwork is tracked through NFT, creators can potentially receive compensation every time their artwork is sold or resold. This is an easy way of earning a good living if done rightly.
Griffin Cock Foster is an avid crypto art collector but foremost is the co-founder of Nifty Gateway. To quote Foster, “I think being an artist is, like, very much its own skillset. It requires thinking outside the box, doing something that’s different than what anyone else has seen before in a way that gets your attention. The people who were successful are successful technical artists.”