The market for Crypto art is exploding – There is a gold-rush atmosphere
For the art market and the rest of the world, the phenomenon has been a great mystery since 11 March. On that day, the auction house Christie’s sold an NFT file by Beeple (Mike Winkelmann) for a fabulous 69 million US dollars.
Is a new era in art history dawning?
NFT is the name of the latest trend. Digitalisation is giving rise to a new art form: because an NFT cannot be copied, every NFT is unique and cryto art is conquering the art market – it is giving analogue art considerable competition.
Is it all hype or trash?
Is this the future of the art market?
Can Crypto Art establish itself as an independent art movement?
The digital art market is on fire.
Duncan Cock Foster, co-founder of digital gallery Nifty Gateway explains, “The digital art movement is growing at an incredibly rapid pace. The scale of growth we’re seeing has surprised everyone involved, I think.” This phenomenon can be partly attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, as travel has been restricted and art museums closed. But it is possible to engage with digital art from the comfort of your own home, on your computer or mobile phone in hand, simply sending images and videos back and forth. However, if a digital artwork is tokenised via encryption technology, it can be sold as a unique piece and someone can actually own the original.
Crypto-Art = Digital Art + Blockchain
Giovanni Colavizza (Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Amsterdam) explains: “When a digital asset created by an artist is added to a digital gallery, a token is immediately generated through a smart contract code. The token is permanently linked to the artwork and is a unique, one-off asset that indicates the ownership and authenticity of the underlying artwork. Once created, the artwork begins its life on the respective blockchain where a collector can buy it and where it can subsequently be exchanged, traded or held by collectors like any other rare artefact.”
NFTs are an incredibly creative medium. They are created on the computer, can use all digital possibilities and remain digital. Anyone can make crypto-art.
Traditional art historians – referring to Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility” – ask the question, but do these works of art have an aura? Some of them have an enormous radiance because they often appeal to the senses to the highest degree and trigger fantasies. An emotional art.
Nifty Gateway has sold the Donald Trump-bashing NFT of Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann for $6.6 million.