Art gifts

NFTs make their mark in the art world | Life


A woman watches a Larva Labs NFT titled “CryptoPunk 7523” during a media preview on June 4, 2021 at Sotheby’s. – AFP photo

NEW YORK, October 27 – The NFT market has been booming in recent months, especially in the art world. In fact, NFT art sales have reached nearly $ 3.5 billion (RM14.5 billion) so far this year, according to the new Hiscox Online Art Trade report. Indeed, some experts see in the rise of this new technology the future of art.

Skeptics have claimed that NFTs were just a speculative bubble on the verge of collapsing, but the latest edition of the Hiscox Online Art Trade annual report suggests otherwise. NFT art sales reached nearly US $ 3.5 billion in the first three quarters of this year. They particularly accelerated in August, reaching an all-time high of US $ 1.7 million.

The problem is, the market for these certified digital objects is extremely volatile, and it then collapsed 69% in September. But that doesn’t worry the most optimistic observers. NFT deals had previously slowed in April after a Beeple collage sold for $ 69.3 million at Christie’s, a sum that had propelled him to the third most expensive living artist, after Jeff Koons and David Hockney.

The new technology preferred by auction houses

Although the NFT market experiences some fluctuations, it is steadily growing and shaking up an art world that is often wary of technological advances. Non-fungible tokens felt the force of this in 2018, three years before becoming a household acronym for professionals in the field. At the time, artist and artificial intelligence researcher Robbie Barrat collaborated with Christie’s to offer 300 gift cards to attendees of the auction house’s “Art + Tech” summit. The cards allowed them to retrieve an exclusive NFT from the artist … something only a few people present bothered to do.

The popularity of NFTs has since taken off, and the big auction houses are now offering all of these digital items. Sotheby’s has announced the creation of a digital space for digital art collectors, and a biannual sale dedicated exclusively to NFTs. A wise choice, perhaps, given that these non-fungible tokens are breaking auction records. According to the Hiscox Online Art Trade report, four of the world’s 10 most expensive NFTs were sold at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

In a new phenomenon, many of the most coveted NFTs on the market are part of the collections. Some of the best known include CryptoPunks, a collection of uniquely generated characters who are considered pioneers of the ‘crypto-art’ movement, not to mention the jaded monkeys of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. These collections are made up of tens of thousands of avatars randomly generated by an algorithm so that they are all different from each other.

A new way to collect art

If some pieces are distinguished by their rarity, all buy the membership of collectors to a club or a community. And that sense of belonging is worth its weight in gold, it seems, as a batch of 101 digital designs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club sold for $ 24.4 million in September at Sotheby’s. Likewise, nine CryptoPunks sold in May for $ 16.9 million at Christie’s.

“In the art collection, people don’t just buy the objects, they buy the stories behind them. One lesson from the crypto-collectibles boom is the importance of storytelling in building a great community, ”the report reads. Bored Ape Yacht Club particularly plays on this aspect by offering the owners of its avatars the possibility of participating in exclusive evenings reserved for members.

Whether or not they impart a sense of belonging, NFTs have made their way into the art world. Optimists see it as a way to empower artists, while others question their environmental impact or the lack of specific regulations around this new technology. Nonetheless, the authors of the Hiscox Online Art Trade report are optimistic: “NFTs fill a long-standing void in the art world – a new way of collecting art. NFTs fulfill the same need for collectors to own something desirable, but this time in digital rather than physical form. This market will see its ups and downs, but the art world needs to pay attention to it, if it is to remain relevant in the future. – ETX Studio


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