I’ve always been interested in the market value of art. Therefore, the whole NFT art craze has captured my attention recently. It’s so fascinating to think about how we place a price on art in general, let alone when the art is digital. As this marketplace grows, I’m curious to see if I could leverage my interest and my many years of experience as a writer to make money minting writing as NFTs.
What Is NFT Art?
NFTs, short for non-fungible tokens, are essentially one-of-a-kind unique digital items. You can buy, collect, trade, and sell them. NFT art, then, is an art piece that has been minted on blockchain so that a specific version of it is the unique “original” version.
For example, the owner of a Nyan Cat GIF popular forever ago minted that GIF. The GIF has been online in many places for years. Anyone can still find it and enjoy it. However, the minted version becomes the collectible official crypto art piece. You can buy and sell that one. The buyer can display it in a virtual gallery. (Yes, there are virtual galleries for NFT art.)
That sums up the very simple aspects of what an NFT is and how it relates to cryptoart. In order to fully understand, you have to get a grasp on blockchain, minting, and cryptocurrency. Here’s a good place to start learning more.
NFT Art is (Mostly) Digital Art
Usually, NFT art is created as digital-only art. However, in some instances, it’s tied to physical objects. For example, right now there’s an NFT art sale of a 1986 Basquiat drawing. The seller has linked the sale to the option for the buyer to destroy the original physical art piece.
Obviously, this is controversial for a whole variety of reasons. It brings up questions about “what is art” and “how do we value art”. These are age-old questions in the art world, with answers that have changed over time.
What Is The Value of Art?
This concept of the value of art has long fascinated me. How do we place a value on creativity? How does an artist decide what to charge for a piece? Who gets involved in the sales and marketing of art?
And this also gets directly linked to the concept of “what is art?” Who decides what things are art and thus, which things are valuable as art pieces?
Andy Warhol is obviously an artist who embodied these questions. He himself directly posed these questions. And continued soaring sales of his work keep the questions going. If you’re interested in learning more details about art as investment and the world of art market sales, I highly recommend Richard Polsky’s two books, “I Bought Andy Warhol” and “I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon).”
Digital Art and Cryptocurrency
The question of the monetary value of art, and the idea of art as investment, is fascinating on its own. It gets even more intriguing with this new layer. After all, you don’t exactly buy a piece of digital art to hang on your wall right? (Well, maybe; people are creating digital frames that allow you to do just that.)
But then again, you don’t buy a multi-million dollar work of art to hang on your wall either. So, on the one hand, it seems radically different to only own a digital “token” of an art piece instead of the real thing. Yes, on the other hand, the rest of the world can always view reproductions of your physical Mona Lisa, and you’re probably not touching the real thing if you buy it as an investment, so how different is this really?
Then there’s that layer about cryptocurrency. It’s still such a new aspect of investing for most of us. Therefore, it can still feel like it’s not “real money.” So investing in NFT art can feel like placing a monetary value on not-quite-real art using not-quite-real money. It’s a strange, intriguing foray into a new world, though the world of art is as old as time.
Is There a Market for Writing Minted as NFTs?
I consider myself an artist expressing myself primarily through the written word. Although I have moderate interest in investing in NFT art made by others, I’m especially interested in discovering whether there’s a market for my own writing minted as NFT art.
Writing is slow to take off as NFT art. So far, most big NFT art sales are visual art pieces. The most well-known example is the Beeple collage image that recently sold through Christie’s for nearly $70 million. That said, most seem to be GIFs. In fact, they’re specifically GIFs and memes that mock the whole world that they’re a part of.
One exception was a half million dollar sale of a New York Times column NFT. Any of us can read the article online but now someone “owns” it.
The Vision for Minting Writing as NFT Art
Despite this, I see so much potential for writing minted as NFT art. I envision being able to sell what’s essentially the “first edition digital rights” to works. This would be comparable in a sense to collecting rare first edition signed books. You don’t buy them for the content. You buy them for the investment. Or because you absolutely love the book and author and that makes it valuable for you.
Similarly, if I mint one of my own books, anyone could still purchase or download it through Amazon and read it but only one person would own the NFT token for it. I envision digital libraries with shelves where each of us book lovers could showcase our collections of NFT writing we’ve purchased. Moreover, I think this could be a terrific way for the marketplace to support independent writers, allowing them to create art for the sake of art, rather than trying to write pure content just to monetize eyeballs. I think it would be good for the writing industry as a whole.
Where I’m At in the NFT Art Journey
So, here’s where I’m at so far:
- I’ve begun to dive deep into the world of cryptoart.
- Therefore, I’ve set up a Coinbase wallet. Now I’m the proud owner of some Ethers and Bitcoins. In other words, I have cryptocurrency for the first time in my life.
- I’ve started looking into sites like Rarible and Open Sea where I might be able to mint my first writing as NFT art.
- Importantly, I’m also looking into the issues with NFT art. One of the biggest concerns is that this stuff is all really bad for the environment right now because of the energy required to run servers for cryptocurrency and NFTs. However, there are promising leads in this area with the upcoming development of Eth 2, the launch of Palm.io and a company called NEAR.
- I’m on the lookout for job opportunities or collaborative partnerships related to writing/creativity as NFT art.
I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
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