Last year, a painting by American artist Mike Winkelman sold at an auction hosted by Christie’s auction house for about $ 70 million, but what stood out at the time was not the large sum, but the technology involved. with it known as. “NFT”.
The auction contributed to draw attention to the new technology, previously known only to the limited circles of those interested in digital currencies and blockchain technologies, to become the verb of the world and one of the preferred methods for artists from different directions. promote their art.
Technology comes from blockchain, which is the infrastructure that allows the trading of digital currencies, just as the Internet allows the trading of information. Among the types of these coins, the so-called “tokens”, which by their name, can symbolize everything in the real or virtual world. Some “signs” can symbolize, for example, a stock in a trading company or an entrance ticket to a music festival, which means that they are interchangeable, so all tickets, stocks and tickets are identical. In case this “token” refers to something that is not interchangeable, such as ownership of a particular property, or a specific chair in the cinema hall, this is what makes it irreplaceable.
While digital currencies aspire to be an alternative to traditional currencies, tokens or non-exchangeable “tokens” may one day become an alternative to traditional contracts and ownership documents. For many reasons, the art world is the field in which these icons have had their greatest success.
the value of art
What gives value to the work of art? Far from the opinions of the public and various critics, it is the art market that determines its price, according to the rules of supply and demand, and these prices are also affected by the insufficiency of the work. Handmade works from a single copy will often equate to works of art that are easier to copy than thousands of copies.
“In the past, I printed some copies of digital paintings and sold them, while I once sold traditional paintings at a higher price,” says Crystal Bishara, a brilliant Dubai-based artist.
Bishara’s works received a large turnout from visitors passing in front of her exhibition in Dubai. Bishara set out to create this exhibition, to have most of the profits of her artwork. “Exhibitions can deduct half the profits of works of art in exchange for their exhibition there,” according to Bishara.
But last year Bishara began using irreplaceable symbol technology, which he says gives artists unprecedented control over the fate of their artwork. Artists and painters have long complained about the dominance and control of major art galleries in the art market, and one of the reasons for this authority is that galleries play an important role in confirming the “correct attribution” of paintings to their artists. , that they are original and not fake, that they are really rare and have a limited number of copies or unique.
“This irreplaceable symbol is also impossible to falsify and fully guarantees the artist’s ownership of his artwork,” allowing tangible and digital artwork to be traded between the artist and the buyer without intermediaries. Furthermore, the code used to write the irreplaceable code may include an additional condition that guarantees the artist a percentage of the profit in case of resale and this percentage is sent directly to the artist whenever the painting is sold automatically and without any interference from anyone, and without the ability to change the terms of the contract.
“In this way, the artist can earn from his work for life, unlike traditional ownership papers,” explains Bishara, where the artist sells his painting once, and the buyer benefits from increasing its value over time. and can sell it at. manifold of its price without benefiting the artist at all.
As the phenomenon of non-exchangeable tokens remains understood as a technology that facilitates the ownership, sale and purchase of various works of art, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand when we enter the realm of “NFT communities” where artists decide collections or various collections. , some of which come at very high prices. This phenomenon became famous with the appearance of the group “Bored Monkey Yacht Club” and some of these icons were bought by celebrities, artists and athletes at fantastic prices.
In Dubai, a number of these different groups have already appeared, and one of the first was “Dubai Peeps”, a group of only 600 symbols, representing numerous faces inspired by Dubai residents, for sale at various prices .
Patrick, a German artist based in Dubai, explains the idea, which is another form of using NFT technology. “Every symbol from this group is actually a key that introduces its owner to a private community.” This key is a special work of art, hand-drawn digital painting. But on the other hand, it is a membership card for its owner within this private community, which gives its members a range of benefits, the first of which is the right to attend rallies and parties for this closed community.
Patrick explains that “Dubai Peeps” is part of a larger project called “The Peep Project”, which will include future artwork, limited in quantity, high quality and that community members will have always a voice in future bids, as they will be eligible to view and purchase in front of the public and the original key holders will receive 3 per cent of the project’s future profits.
This combination of art and investment for the artist, but also for the owners of his works, is an important part of the explosion of popularity of this space, as some seek to buy works of art at a cheap price and resell them with a low price. higher price quickly, to take advantage of profit margin. This is also what attracts many scammers to create and launch worthless projects.
“You’ll see a lot of art collections drawn with a software program that takes 10,000 photos per minute and once sold, the owner makes money and disappears,” says Patrick, who says such practices are what newborns give. technology is a bad reputation for some.
Therefore, Patrick emphasizes the need for the buyer to study the founders of each NFT community before investing well in it, saying: “I am committed to this project because I am a visionary and I believe in its success.”
What does the future look like?
Patrick and Bishara agree that digital currencies and NFT technologies will play a crucial role in the near future. Bishara says that “there will be a parallel virtual world, which is metavers, in which irreplaceable symbols will play a major role in art, fashion, real estate and everything.”
Bishara believes that by now presenting her works of art with this technology, she will reserve for herself a place in the next world of metaphysics, where she will be able to display her works there. Patrick says given the evolution of graphic technologies, metavers will undoubtedly be an essential part of our lives. Patrick claims that his project is already in a “transitional” phase, where all members of the “beep” community will be entitled to a 3D, hand-drawn 3D avatar of their 2D characters, which they use for roam in Metaverse.