Everything we buy we touch

Digital copies of 6 masterpieces of Italian painting in London (Justin Thales / AFP)

A few months ago, few had heard of the NFT, but this technology has caused a stir in the art market and is proving to be in great demand for it from companies, galleries, museums, and most recently individuals, whose purpose it is not just traditional attraction. collectors, but also to attract the young rich, or the so-called “Geeks” who have made millions of fortunes thanks to the explosive increase in the value of cryptocurrencies.

It is impressive that anything can be sold with this technology, be it a painting by Monet, be it a completely digital work, be it a video clip, photo, message or article.

What is “NFT”?

NFT is an acronym for Non-Fungible Token, which means “Non-Fungible Token”. Symbolizes the inability to replace any part with another parallel to it. It can be said that “NFT” is digital property, the source of which can be traced and purchased under a contract, the terms of which are determined by the information code of a virtual or real commodity. It is a new type of digital asset, similar to cryptocurrencies that use blockchain technology (Blockchain), ie it is a documentation reference that is shared by a large number of individuals without a central authority.

Who buys NFT?

Buyers are especially collectors, or speculators who hope to make a profit by reselling them later at a higher price. According to estimates by the specialized website Non-Vangible, during the first five months of last year, digital parts documented by the NFT generated about $ 2.5 billion in financial operations. The company “Chain Analysis” announced that the exchange of digital business with this technology in the world last year reached 44.2 billion US dollars.

How to use “NFT”?

As with cryptocurrencies, it is possible to buy and sell NFTs on specialized platforms. During the process, the buyer does not necessarily receive the specified part, but is only given a Certificate of Authenticity registered in Blockchain to change ownership. To maintain the rights in this certificate, a digital wallet is required, whether it is a program in the form of an extension to a web browser or a secure connection to a USB bus. Prior to purchase, payment must be made in cryptocurrency, but it is also possible to “create” an NFT portion yourself, relying on some IT skills.

Any risk involved?

Buying, selling and using NFT is still technical, and sometimes misunderstood, which can put investors at risk. A recent report published by the specialized platform “Chain Analysis” showed that buying a modern “NFT” from a highly anticipated group is a very competitive process, as thousands of users hope to buy it at the same time. In this case, many transactions fail, but the fees are still payable, sometimes high, depending on the price of the cryptocurrencies often used to pay them.

A digital “collage” was bought by Pebble for $ 69.3 million (Ruslan Rahman / AFP)

But some buyers are determined to succeed and can use bot (powerful custom ordering software), which makes the transaction more ambiguous for the novice investor, according to Agence France-Presse. The study concluded that in 2021, “a very small group of experienced investors captured most of the profits” of NFT groups.

Auctions caused a stir

The NFT has been the focus of many auctions that sparked a global buzz, including the sale of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet for $ 2.9 million and the purchase of American artist Pebble of a digital collage for $ 69.3 million.

The first SMS in history sold for more than $ 120,000 (Getty)

The first text message in history, sent through the British telecommunications company “Vodafone” on December 3, 1992, sold for more than 120 thousand dollars. The founding program for the Internet in its current form, the “NFT” format, sold for $ 5.4 million. A popular YouTube video of the two siblings, titled “Charlie Bites My Finger,” has joined the list of digital goods sold for large sums of money using NFT technology, as its price reached $ 761,000.

In the world of arts

After Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses joined the NFT universe, the great Russian Hermitage Museum announced its inclusion last year, based on works included in its large collection in St. Petersburg. The certificates bear the signature of the director of “Hermitage” Mikhail Petrovsky. The museum offered, for example, the purchase of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Nurse Girl”, “Judith” by Gorgonne, “Lilac” by Vincent van Gogh, “A Corner of the Monterrey Garden” by Claude Monet, “The Fifth Pillar” by Wassily Kandinsky (1913) as “irreplaceable signs”.

And last Wednesday, an exhibition that will run through the middle of next month, featuring digital copies of six masterpieces of Italian painting, opened in London, as part of the first non-virtual exhibition in Britain dedicated to it. technology. The event is entitled “Perpetuation of Art History” and was held in collaboration with Italian Museums.

Italian NFT painting masterpieces at auction in London (Justin Thales / AFP)

In this context, the British Tax Agency seized three works of art using “NFT” technology as part of an investigation that led to the arrest of three people in February. In a statement, Assistant Director of Economic Crime Nick Sharp confirmed that this first seizure of its kind of NFT digital businesses in the country “is a warning to anyone seeking to use encrypted digital assets to hide money” from the British . Tax Authority. The IRS did not disclose the estimated value of these digital assets, which were seized with other assets, as part of an investigation into a network specializing in value-added tax evasion fraud, with a total loss of 1.4 million pounds ($ 1.9 million) for the British government.

A museum entirely dedicated to NFT technology opened its doors in Seattle, USA, this month.

Donald and Melania Trump

Former US President Donald Trump did not miss the opportunity to enter this world, as he and his wife Melania put up for auction ten works that showed images of his mandate – undisclosed – on February 21. A statement said the digital products group consisted of “ten original digital works of art featuring iconic moments from the Trump presidency, such as the July 4 visit to Mount Rushmore and the Christmas events at the White House.” Melania Trump launched her “irreplaceable symbols” platform last year, in which she introduced several digital works, including a watercolor that showed off her blue eyes.

An auction will be held tomorrow by Donald and Melania Trump (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP)

The news site Vice reported that the first auction in January was a disappointment, as the organizers themselves bought the lot. The former First Lady confirmed that the buyer was a third party. The Republican billionaire’s NFT products will be sold at a fixed price of $ 50 per product, via usamemorabilia.com, an extension of Melania’s platform.

A new opportunity for pirates

Hackers are taking advantage of the NFT’s growing popularity to trick their victims into downloading malicious programs that could infiltrate their computers after hijacking usernames and passwords.

This week, cybersecurity researchers at Fortnite unveiled a spreadsheet that appeared to contain information about “non-interchangeable tokens” technology, but its real purpose was to help download BitRAT malware.

An exhibition entirely dedicated to NFT technology in Seattle, USA (Jason Redmond / AFP)

Bitrat is a malicious program used to remotely access smart devices and first appeared on sale in secret forums in August 2020 and its danger lies in its ability to bypass known security tools . These malware have the ability to steal access credentials from browsers and applications, the ability to record keystrokes, and the ability to upload and download files. It can also monitor the victim’s screen moment by moment, use the device’s camera, and listen to audio through the microphone.

Fortnite researchers warn that hackers often use attractive themes to victimize and have taken advantage of the NFT’s growing popularity to lure their targets to open malicious files or click on malicious links. They added that “normal security practices, such as not opening files uploaded from unreliable or suspicious sources, can prevent actors threatened from accessing users’ valuable money and data.”

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