Asking WTF and NFT is? Me too.
Let’s break it down together.
Ok, so recently, digital artist Mike Winkelmann (a.k.a. Beeple) has made headlines for selling a piece for $69 million. Yes, Mr. Winkelmann is getting a fat check.
For 13 and a half years, this artist has been working on a project he titled “Everyday.” With each day, he made what auction company Christie’s described as “basic drawings.” Eventually, Beeple began to work with 3D art in this everyday routine.
Each artwork had its own story dedicated to the day that Mike Winkelmann made it. This project became not only a timepiece to the artist’s life for the past 13 and a half years, but a commentary on all that the world has undergone in that same time frame.
Beeple told Christie’s, “I look at it now as though I’m a political cartoonist. Except instead of doing sketches, I’m using the most advanced 3D tools to make comments on current events, almost in real time.”
Collage Worth $69 Million
His work has accumulated over time and now, in 2021, Beeple has put together each piece he had made over the years into one digital collage. The finished product is titled Everydays: The First 5000 Days. Undoubtedly, Beeple has made history with this piece in the digital art world.
Beeple, originally from South Carolina, has already secured a spot as an elite member of the digital art community. To be frank, Beeple is a big fucking deal. With 1.8 million Instagram followers, Beeple is no stranger to many and an incredible visionary in this ever technological advancing world. More specifically he’s no stranger to names like Childish Gambino, Katy Perry, and notorious name brands like Nike and Louis Vuitton, all of which and whom he has collaborated with.
Everyday: The First 5000 Days brilliantly combines colors with a unifying theme to create one true, enormous (even though it’s non-tangible) masterpiece. Since the project was made over time, the piece uncovers through chronological order a series of personal events, social issues, and creativity that inspired Beeple. You can truly experience Beeple’s growth alongside him as the collage transcends you into an actual timeline he lived and worked through.
Buying With NFTs
The piece was sold exclusively on Christie’s, the first major auction house to offer purely digital art. What made this auction so unique was the acceptance of cryptocurrency and the use of an NFT. Now this is where you’re probably still wondering what the hell an NFT is and why people keep talking about it.
NFT stands for nonfungible token. Nonfungible, yes you read that right. These tokens guarantee ownership of invaluable items beyond what regular USD currency could ever secure.
This form of payment has become idealized for artists. NFT’s provide the owner all the rights to the piece and authenticity of the digital work in this specific case. Christie’s explained the process stating, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days will be delivered directly from Beeple to the buyer, accompanied by a unique NFT encrypted with the artist’s unforgeable signature and uniquely identified on the blockchain. MakersPlace, a digital marketplace, has issued the NFT for the piece.”
NFT’s have become one of the most secure ways to have ownership over something. To give a simpler example, let’s take the Mona Lisa. Utterly invaluable for it’s representation of canonical art, the Mona Lisa is practically priceless. However, if someone was to go through the trouble and funds of purchasing the Mona Lisa, using an NFT would make the most sense. Money wouldn’t deliver the same authenticity and rights over the painting as people can make fake representations and reprints to sell in museums and such. Whereas an NFT would be an encrypted way to certify that the buyer owns all the rights to the piece.
NFT Key Benefits
An NFT is a purely digital asset. This makes it unique and “ownable.” Makersplace has defined an NFT through five important key benefits as follows:
“Digital artwork in this form has several key benefits:
- Authenticity – The authenticity of the artwork is publicly accessible and verifiable. Because this information can’t be changed, the creator or collector can be assured that the authenticity can always be proven.
- Truly limited editions – The artist now has the ability to issue only a finite number of signed and authentic copies of their digital artwork, differentiating those from a copy that someone might obtain through other means.
- Ownership – Since the digital artwork is linked to an NFT, a collector can now take ownership over it and store it in a digital wallet. The token is sellable on any online secondary market.
- Liquidity – The ability to sell, trade or send the artwork to anyone, without any restrictions set by a central authority. The same way that cryptocurrencies are traded, digital art can be sold and traded in a similiar way.
- Provenance – The history of ownership of the artwork is fully tracked on the blockchain. A creation’s ownership history will impact its current and future value, which is now always available online.”
What Are Blockchains?
This cryptocurrency is authenticated by the use of blockchains. Unsure of what those are as well? No worries, it’s a complex concept NFT’s. Blockchains are online databases without any central authority. Therefore, through these public databases, data cannot be altered by an overarching ownership. They digitally attach a signature in permanence to the piece sold, authenticating the purchase. A certain standard then allows NFTs to be liquified.
Makersplace defined why one would want to make purchases this way and outlined the reason as such:
- “Display online – There are a number of virtual options available for displaying your artworks, such as virtual galleries, exhibitions and events that exist online.
- Enjoying in physical spaces – You can display your NFT artwork in your personal space, using a digital frame like Meural.
- Long term investment – Much like physical art, digital art is an investment vehicle, uncorrelated to other asset classes. Artworks can be resold for a profit on the many public secondary markets, with collectors already realizing returns of 10x+ in only a few months.
- Supporting the arts – Digital art transcends borders, enabling artists to reach a global collector audience. The proceeds from purchasing digital art goes directly towards supporting artists and enabling a future for digital creativity.
- The joy of collecting – The overarching reason to invest in an artwork, physical or digital, is connection and fascination. Let your eye and heart guide you.”
Hopefully this provides a deeper understanding of NFTs, blockchains, and what is breaking news in the digital art community.
featured image from: Pexels.com
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