I helped mint a trio of NFTs with a team of female and BIPOC digital artists. Here’s how NFTs can help more creators earn money with their artwork.

Jenny Wang
Re-inc cofounder Jenny Wang.

  • Jenny Wang is an investor at Neo and cofounder of re-inc, a streetwear apparel company.
  • In April, she helped mint a trio of NFTs for three US Women’s soccer team players and World Cup champions.
  • Wang hopes NFTs will inspire more creators to make and directly profit from their own artwork.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This past month, I helped mint a trio of Non Fungible Tokens for three of the US Women’s soccer team players and World Cup Champions – the first NFTs to be released by elite female Olympic athletes.

It was an artistic experiment. We did it quickly – wanting to get the set of NFTs out there early to show anyone who has felt left out of the new world of crypto that they are included. We hope that they inspire more underrepresented communities to get into the NFT world as investors or creators.

Tobin Heath
A still capture of Tobin Heath’s rotating NFT card.

The NFT world is ablaze.

An abbreviation that few knew a few months ago is now part of the everyday vernacular. From Beeple’s $69M sale at Christie’s, to the SNL skit on NFTs, to Pizza Hut launching a pizza NFT, to Elon Musk tweeting about it day and night – NFTs are being minted, sold, swapped, and collected.

Celebrities have quickly embraced NFTs with open arms.

From Calvin Harris, Snoop Dogg, and LeBron James, amoung these success stories one trend stood out: The early NFT beneficiaries are all very talented creators, but lack demographic diversity.

Just like in any emerging market, the first adopters become the thought leaders, successful investors, iconic CEOs. With Bitcoin and Ethereum at all time highs, the cryptocurrency bull market hasn’t yet largely benefited underrepresented or underbanked communities, including those who haven’t had sufficient access to mainstream financial services.

Each of the three NFTs, which were drawn by US Women’s National Soccer Team player Tobin Heath and brought to life by a team of female and BIPOC digital artists, are unique in that they are one-of-one cards featuring a pixelated visual of each player and their authentic signatures. The winning bidders will receive personalized cameo videos from the player, as well as signed merchandise. These NFTs are also differentiated in that they include a donation to a nonprofit, in this case to Black Girls Code, and a promise to buy carbon offsets.

Alluding to her team’s ongoing legal battle for equal pay, Tobin told me that for “our entire careers, established organizations have been using our image and likenesses for their benefit, and without valuing it fairly – which is why we have to fight for equal pay. With NFTs, we can directly profit from our own work.” Both of us felt like it was time for more diverse creators to get their foot in the NFT door, and benefit directly from their work.

As a new form of digital art, NFTs are compelling because they empower creators directly.

Jenny Wang/Re-inc nfts
The NFT trio for the US Women’s Soccer Team players and World Cup Champions.

They do this by democratizing access to the art and entertainment industries, which historically have many walled gardens and gatekeepers, and by allowing creators to directly profit off their work in perpetuity. By adding unlockable content, NFT artists can also deepen the relationship with the eventual owner by including physical merchandise or tickets to a live experience – and even hidden premium surprises for those who collect more than one NFT from a collection. Just like buying a share of $BYND is like investing in sustainable meat, buying an NFT is like investing in a piece of culture.

After the launch, I received messages from two close friends who are also well-known creators: the first, a principal ballet dancer at the top of her field and curator of a popular dance account on TikTok, and the other, an entrepreneurial Supermodel with a blossoming YouTube channel and food brand. Both asked how they could also monetize their likenesses as NFTs, but were hesitant because they hadn’t seen anyone who looked or acted like them participate in the crypto world.

I hope these NFTs can be a success story and inspire more women to mint art, start a business, or create content.

Tobin Heath designing the card, brought to life by female and BIPOC digital artists. Jenny Wang
Tobin Heath designing the card, brought to life by female and BIPOC digital artists.

I think a lot about inclusion, from who can enter the art world, to who gets to play in financial markets. I believe that everyone has a talent to offer, can create things of value, and can build a community around them that shares their vision for the change they want to see.

If an NFT sale is able to empower an emerging singer-songwriter to be able to own their masters rights and sell copies of their work independently, without needing the connections or upfront capital to have a seat at a talent agency, then why not enable that? No asset is perfect – any industry has asymmetric power distribution and unintended side effects, including the inconclusive environmental impacts of cryptocurrency. But the beauty of the creator economy is in enabling this access, discovering new talent, and direct creator-fan relationships.

Meghan Klingenberg and Jenny Wang hosted a Clubhouse room on NFTs and startups. Jenny Wang
Meghan Klingenberg and Jenny Wang hosted a Clubhouse room on NFTs and startups.

After a two-week auction, both Tobin’s and Meghan Klingenberg’s NFTs sold in the thousands, and I was excited to celebrate these small wins. These winning bids are an order of magnitude away from the Beeple’s, Jack Dorsey‘s, or Gronk’s of the world, but a step towards increasing the overall franchise value of women’s sports teams and underrepresented communities. And if they are ever resold, I’m happy that the players will be able to receive an eternal commission on every resale.

Just like Robinhood allowed a new wave of consumers to be able to participate more easily in the stock market, participation in the creator economy, whether through NFTs, personal digital tokens, live tips, or other financial products to come, can empower each of us to use our dollars to vote on the talented artists and changemakers we believe in, and be included in their success.

As Megan Rapinoe would say, isn’t that what equity, progress, creativity and art is all about?

Jenny Wang is an investor at Neo and cofounder of re-inc. She is a Harvard computer science alum based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter.

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The former chairman of Valentino just sold a Basquiat skull painting at auction for $93.1 million – $40 million more than it was expected to go for

basquiat painting in this case
A woman looks at Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “In This Case” during a press preview on May 3, 2021 for a Christie’s sale New York.

Valentino cofounder Giancarlo Giammetti just sold a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat at auction in New York for $93.1 million, James Tarmey reported for Bloomberg.

The six-by-six-foot painting exceeded its expected roughly $50 million sale price by more than $40 million, according to Christie’s Auction House, which conducted the sale.

The new owner of the painting has not been identified, but Art News reported that the sale came after a bidding war between at least six people from New York and Hong Kong. Christie’s declined to comment on the identity of the buyer.

The 1983 painting, titled “In This Case,” which portrays a large skull on a red background, is the second-most expensive Basquiat painting ever sold at auction. In 2017, Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa paid $110.5 million for an untitled 1982 Basquiat portrait at a Sotheby’s auction. In a private sale last year, however, hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin dropped more than $100 million on Basquiat’s 1982 “Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump.”

Valentino Garavani Giancarlo Giammetti
Valentino Garavani, left, and Giancarlo Giammetti, right, in Paris in June 2019.

On Wednesday, another Basquiat painting is set to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s, with an estimated sale price of $35 million to $50 million.

The seller of the skull painting, Giammetti, 83, cofounded Italian luxury fashion house Valentino with Valentino Garavani in 1960 and also served as the company’s chairman. He bought the painting in 2007 for an unknown price from Gagosian, a global network of art galleries, according to Art News. Before that, “In This Case” had last sold at auction in 2002 for $999,500 at Sotheby’s.

A 2013 tour of Giammetti’s Manhattan apartment by Architectural Digest showed the Basquiat skull painting displayed in his dining room, with works by Picasso and David Hockney also adorning the walls throughout the home.

Giammetti did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How NFTs could change global business models beyond the art industry

Grimes NFT
Grimes’ Battle of the WarNymphs NFT on Nifty Gateway.

  • NFTs are tokenized versions of unique assets like works of art that can be traded on a blockchain.
  • They create opportunities for business models that didn’t exist before, like artist stipulations.
  • Future NFT developments could transform markets like property, vehicles, and land ownership.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sotheby’s has become the latest establishment name in art to dive into NFTs (non-fungible tokens) through its collaboration with anonymous digital artist Pak and NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway.

The auction house sold The Fungible Collection, a “novel collection of digital art redefining our understanding of value,” for more than $17 million (£12 million).

Some pieces, such as “The Switch,” a monochrome 3D construction that is going to be changed by the artist at some unspecified moment in the future, received bids well in excess of $1 million.

Read more: A digital artist who made $700,000 off one NFT drop explains how to stand out as a creator and thrive at selling virtual art

For the uninitiated, NFTs are tokenized versions of assets that can be traded on a blockchain, the digital ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. Whereas one bitcoin is directly interchangeable with another, meaning they are fungible, NFTs are the opposite because the underlying assets are unique in some way and can’t be exchanged like for like.

This uniqueness enabled Christie’s to sell digital artist Beeple’s “Everydays” NFT in March for an eye-watering $68 million. For those who don’t have that sort of money, NFTs are also being used for trading collectibles like baseball cards and computer gaming items like swords and avatar skins.

Bubble trouble?

The excitement around NFTs feeds a similar narrative to other recent price surges such as GameStop and dogecoin, in that these are speculative bubbles brought about by stimulus checks in the US, lockdown boredom, and low interest rates.

Look no further than celebrities like music star Grimes and YouTuber Logan Paul releasing their own flagship NFTs to ride the wave. Even Vignesh Sundaresan, the entrepreneur who bought Beeple’s record-breaking artwork, sees investing in NFTs as a “huge risk” and “even crazier than investing in crypto.”

But history also tells us to be careful about dismissing NFTs as a passing fad, since the importance of technological innovations often becomes clearer once the hype dies down. Many commentators dismissed the influx of tech companies around the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s, and the first wave of mass cryptocurrency enthusiasm in 2017, only to be proven hopelessly wrong when Amazon and bitcoin re-emerged.

NFTs themselves are actually well down from their highs, with a 70% drop in average price since February. Perhaps this is less the bursting of a bubble than a “weeding out” of gimmicky tokens now that the initial hype has begun to die down.

This phenomenon is captured well in US consultancy Gartner’s hype cycle, which illustrates the typical progression of a new technology. With NFTs, we are probably emerging from the “peak of inflated expectations” on a journey towards the same “plateau of productivity” that Amazon reached a long time ago.

This ties in with what Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter said about why capitalism works. Schumpeter viewed capitalism as a relentless churn of old into new, as the latest and most innovative enterprises replace those that came before – he called this “creative destruction“.

In this light, NFTs are the newcomers challenging how we perceive and register ownership of assets. And the tension between innovation and incumbency also contributes to the skepticism that always surrounds such new technologies.

What happens next

NFTs create opportunities for new business models that didn’t exist before. Artists can attach stipulations to an NFT that ensures they get some of the proceeds every time it gets resold, meaning they benefit if their work increases in value. Admittedly football teams have been using similar contractual clauses when selling on players for a while, but NFTs remove the need to track an asset’s progress and enforce such entitlements on each sale.

New art platforms, such as Niio Art, are able to demonstrate in a really simple way that they own digital works. When customers borrow or buy art from the platform, they can display it on a screen in the knowledge that there is no issue with copyright or originality because the NFT and blockchain ensures that ownership is authentic.

NFTs give musicians the potential to provide enhanced media and special perks to their fans. And with sports memorabilia, between 50% and 80% of items are thought to be fake. Putting these items into NFTs with a clear transaction history back to the creator could overcome this counterfeiting problem.

But beyond these fields, the potential of NFTs goes much further because they completely change the rules of ownership. Transactions in which ownership of something changes hands have usually depended on layers of middlemen to establish trust in the transaction, exchange contracts and ensure that money changes hands.

None of this will be necessary in future. Transactions recorded on blockchains are reliable because the information cannot be changed. Smart contracts can be used in place of lawyers and escrow accounts to automatically ensure that money and assets change hands and both parties honour their agreements. NFTs convert assets into tokens so that they can move around within this system.

This has the potential to completely transform markets like property and vehicles, for instance. NFTs could also be part of the solution in resolving issues with land ownership. Only 30% of the global population has legally registered rights to their land and property. Those without clearly defined rights find it much harder to access finance and credit. Also, if more of our lives are spent in virtual worlds in future, the things that we buy there will probably be bought and sold as NFTs too.

There will be many other developments in this decentralized economy that have yet to be imagined. What we can say is that it will be a much more transparent and direct type of market than what we are used to. Those who think they are seeing a flash in the pan are unlikely to be prepared when it arrives.

James Bowden, lecturer in financial technology, University of Strathclyde and Edward Thomas Jones, lecturer in economics, Bangor University

The Conversation
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Billionaire Mark Cuban is setting up a digital art gallery that allows users to display NFTs in any form, report says

Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban.


Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban is developing an online art platform that allows its users to present digital art or collectibles, according to The Block.

The project, called Lazy.com, is already live and has a minimalist appearance. It has so far seen scores of visitors, according to the “Shark Tank” investor.

The nature of digital art means that it can be showcased on any online platform, such as social media sites or websites made for digital-collectibles. But Cuban says there isn’t a simple way for art creators to exhibit their work as NFTs.

“I wanted an easy way to show my NFTs and a way to put them in my social bios, my email signature, and any place I can stick a URL,” he told The Block. “People are curious about what other people collect. There wasn’t a super-easy way to do it.”

Non-fungible tokens act as a certificate of authenticity for digital goods like GIFs, JPEGs, MP3s, or other forms of digital art. In the past month, data from CryptoSlam shows people have spent over $1 billion on digital assets.

“People bought NFTs, they created them, they need a lazy way to show them off,” Cuban said. “There really was not an easy way to do it before Lazy.com.”

The digital artist Mike Winkelmann, or Beeple, made history when he sold an art piece for $69 million earlier this month. Other artists like Grimes and DJ 3LAU also made between $5 million and $12 million within minutes of auctioning their digital collections. More recently, rapper Snoop Dogg and Lionel Richie have signed up to produce work for Crypto.com’s new NFT marketplace.

“The NFT market is on fire,” Cuban said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We talked to crypto-art investors to figure out what’s driving people to spend millions on NFTs, despite no guarantee their value will increase

Beeple V5
  • NFTs have generated billions of dollars and one NFT sold for nearly $70 million.
  • Many people question whether the digital assets will maintain their value over time.
  • Some investors compare the NFT boom to the dawn of the internet.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In the past month, people have spent over $1 billion on digital assets, according to data from CryptoSlam.

Crypto art has been around for over half a decade, but for many people outside of the crypto world, these digital assets, known as non-fungible tokens or NFTs, have seemingly come out of nowhere.

So, what’s driving people to get in on the NFT mania, investing anywhere from hundreds of dollars, to in some cases, millions? Crypto art investors say it’s a combination of several factors, including the pandemic, as well as the rise in bitcoin prices.

In the past few months crypto artists have been drawing more attention than ever before to NFT marketplaces with flashy sales.

Last week, digital artist Mike Winkelmann – more commonly known as Beeple – made history when he sold a crypto art piece for nearly $70 million. Other artists like Grimes and 3LAU have also made millions in a matter of hours dropping crypto-art collections.

On Monday, at the mere suggestion of Tesla CEO Elon Musk selling his own digital asset, bids for the piece topped $1 million, before Musk turned down the offer.

Creators and buyers alike have seen significant profit from crypto art. In February, Miami-based art collector Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile first showed just how lucrative the market can be when he resold a piece by Beeple for a nearly 1,000% increase over its original price.

Why are people buying NFTs now?

Rodriguez-Fraile told Insider the surging price of Bitcoin, impact of the pandemic, and distrust in the US dollar created a perfect storm.

Last week, Bitcoin hit a record high, topping $60,000. Since the pandemic started more people have been saving money. 59% of people with an income over $100,000 significantly boosted their savings in 2020. As faith in the US dollar seems to be at an all-time low, NFTs could be another way for people to invest.

“People have long used art to store value,” Rodriguez-Fraile told Insider. “Crypto extends easily into digital art. This is just a more modern approach to investing in art and using it like someone would use gold or bitcoin.”

He thinks the NFT boom was accelerated by the pandemic, but ultimately inevitable – a product of the tech boom that younger generations would have eventually driven anyway.

For many artists, especially in the music industry, multi-million dollar sales by 3LAU and Grimes have captured the spotlight and created a sort of gold rush, but for buyers the reasoning is less clear.

Will NFTs maintain their value?

Investor Gary Vaynerchuk, the CEO of VaynerMedia, told CoinDesk he believes NFTs are operating under a bubble, but it doesn’t mean they won’t have staying power.

“A lot of people talked about the internet being a fad,” Vaynerchuk said. “In reality, the internet was this game-changing revolution of technology, but a lot of the early projects were just overpriced on the excitement.”

Even Winkelmann admits NFTs are likely overinflated.

“If it’s not a bubble now, I do believe it probably will be a bubble at some point because there’s just so many people rushing into this space,” Winkelmann told CoinDesk.

What do you get when you buy an NFT?

When someone buys an NFT they gain the rights to the unique token, but only on the blockchain. If someone buys a image or meme, they can own it on the blockchain, but they have no control over rights to its distribution.

When you buy an NFT in most cases you’re not buying content, but rather a token that connects your name with the creator’s art on the blockchain.

However, the digital tokens operate on the same deflationary principles as bitcoin. NFTs cannot be duplicated, can be easily authenticated, and are immutable, but there’s no surefire way to know whether they will maintain their value over time.

Billionaire Mark Cuban told Insider buying NFTs is about scarcity.

“The buyer knows how many will be made and has blockchain proof of ownership,” Cuban told Insider.

Cuban has been a proponent of NFT investing, from buying NBA Top Shot clips to investing in Mintable, a community-controlled digital-asset marketplace.

The CEO of SuperRare, another NFT site, told Insider people are motivated to buy NFTs because it provides a unique connection to the creator that does not exist with any other art form.

Crypto art has also spawned entire communities online. Robert Martin, a senior content strategist at Kapwing, told Insider there’s a lot of pressure right now to buy and even create your own NFTs within the crypto community.

NFT buyers are not necessarily fans

Music Industry expert Cherie Hu told Insider an artist’s fan base does not dictate their NFT sales. How could it? How many fans would be able to drop thousands if not millions of dollars on a single digital token?

Musician Justin Blau, known by his stage name 3LAU, and André Allen Anjos, known as RAC, have been members of the crypto community for over half a decade. They told Insider a lot of their buyers are already investors in the crypto world. As artists they make a point of buying other creators’ NFTs as well.

“The crypto community creates and sells these artworks for each other,” Hu told Insider.

While NFT investors hardly account for a large portion of a creator’s fanbase, involvement from outside the crypto community is on the rise.

Platforms like NBA Top Shot are spreading awareness and present broader audience appeal. Hu told Insider that she believes the NFT space will continue to grow, but will need to become more accessible in order to generate mainstream appeal.

Read more: Here are 4 NFT startups transforming the way we buy art and sports memorabilia

NFTs still face several barriers to mass adoption. Most NFT marketplaces require buyers to use a crypto wallet. Only about $70 million people – less than 1% of the world’s population – have a crypto wallet, according to Blockchain.com.

Creators and buyer also have to deal with gas fees associated with minting and buying a product off the blockchain. These hidden fees can cost hundreds of dollars.

Co-founders of NFT platform Nifty Gateway, Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster have been working to make digital assets more attainable for the general public. They are one of few platforms that allow users to buy NFTs off the site using their credit card.

“We’re trying to make a space where anyone can be an art collector,” Griffin Cock Foster told Insider.

Rodriguez-Fraile said NFTs represent the future of the art world.

“A few years from now this could just be how people own art,” he told Insider.

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We talked with Beeple about how NFT mania led to his $69 million art sale

  • A piece of digital artwork by Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold for nearly $70 million last week.
  • Digital art backed by non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are exploding in popularity and value, and Beeple is riding the wave.
  • In an exclusive interview, Beeple told Insider about his unexpected fortune and the future of NFTs.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, has sold the most expensive work of digital art in history.

It’s part of an explosion in the market for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens – digital tokens that prove ownership of things like Beeple’s image that you can’t even touch.

“I honestly, like, I never thought I could sell my work,” Beeple said in an interview at his home in South Carolina. “Kind of late September, early October, people kept hitting me on being like, ‘Oh, you got to look at this NFT thing.'”

Two months later, in December, he netted $3.5 million selling art backed by NFTs.

In March, Christie’s, a 225-year-old auction house that previously only sold physical art, auctioned an entirely digital piece by Beeple. It sold for $69,346,250.

“If everybody wants it, well, then it has value,” Beeple said.

The speculation in this market is so wild that when a $95,000 Banksy piece was recently burned and turned into an NFT, the NFT was sold for nearly $400,000. A cat meme recently sold for $600,000. To understand who’s paying these prices, it’s important to understand NFTs.

“I really look at NFTs as like a blank slate,” he said. “And so it’s sort of like saying, do you think a webpage is valuable? Well, I don’t know. It could be, or it could be totally worthless.”

NFT stands for non-fungible token, essentially a digital signature backed by blockchain technology that proves ownership of something.

Unlike Bitcoin, which are all identical by design, NFTs are unique. To some degree, what NFTs offer for sale is the idea of scarcity. It’s possible to buy a token that represents art in the physical world, but NFTs also back digital assets like an image or a tweet.

“So May 1, 2007, I started doing a sketch a day, every single day, start to finish, and uploading it online,” Winkelmann said. “And after a year of that, I learned a lot about drawing. Like, I got much better at drawing. I was still very, very bad, as you can see from the Christie’s piece. But I learned a lot.”

Beeple_THUMB_V1
Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.

Beeple’s popularity caught the attention of Christie’s in December. They decided on a collage of his first 5,000 days of work that forms a square of 21,069 x 21,069 pixels. To help make his digital art more accessible, back in December, Beeple provided a physical product along with the NFT for his digital art. But for Christie’s, being completely digital is what made Beeple’s work unique – and all the more valuable.

“It’s really a radical gesture to offer for sale something without any object, and we might as well lean into that,” said Noah Davis, specialist in Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s.

In the media, Beeple has been compared to artists like Banksy and Warhol, though his paid work has been as a graphic designer, with clients like Louis Vuitton, Nike and Apple.

“So I don’t really like the term artist because it sounds very pretentious and douche-y,” Beeple said.

“There’s an interesting parallel between Mike and Andy Warhol in the way that their careers developed,” Davis said. “Andy also started as an illustrator working in, basically, a gig economy.”

Critics have compared him with artists like Warhol, Banksy, and the Italian artist who taped a banana to the wall of a Paris art gallery.

“I’ve been thinking about the banana a lot, talking a lot about the banana,” Davis said. “It’s the dumbest idea, and you are basically celebrating a lack of creativity, like the bare minimum of creativity, but with Mike, it’s a ritual assignment of value that is celebrating 13 years of hard work of him doing this for no financial gain.”

For Beeple, the pace of change has been mind blowing. Back in the olden days of 2020, Beeple’s NFT-backed “Crossroads” sold for $66,666.

“At the time it was like, oh my God, I sold a piece for 66,000,” Beeple said. “It was just, like, insane.”

In December, he sold $3.5 million worth of art in one day. Then, on February 26, Crossroads was resold on a secondary NFT market for $6.6 million, of which Beeple got a 10% cut.

Then in March, Christie’s sold the 5,000 image montage by Beeple for $69.3 million.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How animal hides are made into parchment at the last workshop of its kind in the US

  • Pergamena is the last company in the US that uses animal skins to make parchment.
  • The craft dates back to 2500 BC and was most popular during the Middle Ages, before paper was industrialized.
  • CEO Jesse Meyer taught himself the craft as a way to revitalize his family’s nearly 500-year-old tannery business.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Read the original article on Business Insider

A piece of NFT art just auctioned for a record-breaking $69 million. NFT artists making millions say the craze could permanently change the art world

Bitcoin Angel open edition
Part of “The​ Bitcoin Angel” from Trevor Jones.

  • NFTs have been shaking up the art world, and auction house Christie’s has already found success pivoting.
  • NFT artist Trevor Jones says traditional art markets could become obsolete in the face of NFTs.
  • Mike Winkelmann of Beeple says galleries will end up pivoting to cater to this emerging market.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

NFT art has suddenly dominated headlines across the world, and it’s impact on the “traditional” art scene may be here to stay.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are more straightforward than they sound. Basically, a NFT provides blockchain-backed “proof of ownership” on an item that the token is attached to. This could be anything, from the Nyan Cat meme to virtual NBA “moments” to an upcoming album from Kings of Leon.

Mainstream players like Grimes and Mark Cuban are also getting in on the NFT scene.

“I have a feeling it’s only going to get a lot bigger!” Trevor Jones, an artist who has an educational background in fine arts with a focus on drawing and painting, told Insider in an interview. “Ride that crypto wave!”

Jones, who has been a full-time artist since 2015, considers himself a “traditional painter,” but has been interested in the intersection between art and technology for the past decade, including exploring the NFT art space since 2019.

In homage to his training, all of Jones’ NFT work still begins as a traditional “physical” painting. And so far, this formula has been finding him massive success: His artwork has been selling for between $40,000 to $180,000 each, Jones told Insider.

And last month, he sold 4,157 pieces of his “open edition Bitcoin Angel” in seven minutes for $777 each, amounting to a total $3.2 million.

Despite his background of “traditional” art, Jones predicts this wave of NFT artists could defunct the longstanding art market.

“This digital art market is only getting warmed up and it could quite easily take over the $67 billion (physical) art market in the not too distant future,” Jones told Insider in an email interview. “The traditional art markets, galleries, and auction houses that don’t see this and don’t prepare will become obsolete in 10 to 15 years.”

tom hanks beating the shit out of coronavirus
Part of “Tom Hanks beating the shit out of coronavirus” by Mike Winkelmann, otherwise known as “Beeple.”

Mike Winkelmann – also known as Beeple, a wildly successful digital NFT artist with sales and resales amounting to millions of dollars – thinks galleries will in fact cater to this emerging market.

As Winkelmann explains it, entities like museums and auction houses are “gatekeepers” and curators of the art world. And as the NFT world grows, so will the “noise” that comes with being able “quite cheaply or easily” produce art.

“I still think you’re going to want other people to cut through the noise and show them cool things,” Winkelmann told Insider. “I really don’t think this is going to be the end of galleries or the end of some level of curation.”

For traditional galleries, this pivot could be replacing framed artwork with hanging video screens that will display these new digital works, an idea Winkelmann is already exploring.

Sergio Scalet of Hackatao, a pop NFT art duo based in Italy, also believes both curators and art experts will be essential in this emerging scene in order to tell the works’ stories. Scalet believes this could create a meeting place between the NFT and traditional art worlds.

“Probably in the beginning, the traditional art world will be on defense, but as we can see from the creation of many new technologies and apps, the bridge [between the two] is happening,” Scalet told Insider. “Maybe these older entities [like galleries] should adapt and find a way to exist in this new space.”

And it seems like the traditional art world is already rapidly pivoting. Previously, these works of (often digital) art would have likely been rejected by old, standing art spaces. Now, traditionalists are scrambling to get a piece of the NFT art pie.

This includes Christie’s, which put Winkelmann’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” up for auction in Februrary. The art piece is the famed auction house’s first digital art sale and its first auction to accept cryptocurrency, specifically Ether.

The piece was sitting at $3.5 million on March 5. By the auction’s conclusion on March 11, the digital art sold for $69,346,250, making Winkelmann “among the top three most valuable living artists,” Christie’s announced in a tweet.

"Everydays: The First 5000 Days" by Beeple is up for auction on Christies' website
“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by Beeple is up for auction on the Christie’s website

The general art world’s growing receptiveness to digital – and NFT – art is now being noticed by people who’ve been integrated in the community for much longer.

“No shade, but there’s a lot of people [in the traditional art world] who would have never worked with us before we were in the NFT space,” Mark Sabb, founder of artist collective Felt Zine, told Insider in an interview. “They’re like gallerists and people we looked up to understanding they would never want to work with us, represent us, or really communicate with us deeply at all, who [are now doing so].”

Felt Zine was founded about a decade ago to “give voice” to art that likely wouldn’t be embraced by traditional galleries or museums.

Felt, which has always been deeply integrated in the digital art scene, was initially approached by artists who wanted the collective to enter the NFT space. These artists – which Sabb calls “early adopters of NFT” – then began asking Felt for sales representation and “crypto art exhibitions.”

Now, the collective is directly seeing the success in this recent NFT art boom: Its month-to-month sales volume has shot up 500% since mid-December 2020, Sabb told Insider.

Felt is also taking the idea of traditional art galleries and applying it to the online community by creating digital galleries and museums to showcase its artists’ work.

It’s a “new mode of experiencing this art,” Sabb says.

Bear Land by Mark Sabb for Felt Zine (2020) NFT art cryptoart
Part of “Bear Land” by Mark Sabb for Felt Zine.

However, Sabb doesn’t expect galleries to go defunct if they don’t pivot to this NFT boom due to the inherent differences in business models. Also, many collectors still collect both traditional and NFT art, a trend Sabb says will continue to grow.

“I think that artists feeling empowered may change the relationship that they have with some gallerists, similar to the ways streaming impacted the music industry, for good and bad,” Sabb said. “But ultimately, we’re probably looking at a reality where we have a thriving NFT space while the traditional art galleries continue to sell art the ways they always have.”

Sabb also notes that some art is better viewed in a typical gallery, while others fare stronger in a digital gallery space. However, he still has his concerns.

“I think there’s a reality where the NFT space can create more pressure for galleries to become increasingly controlling of the artists they represent if we’re not careful,” Sabb said. “So yes, it can be liberating, but we have to purposely work towards that.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

NFT artists who are making millions on their creations say the craze could permanently change the traditional art world

Bitcoin Angel open edition
Part of “The​ Bitcoin Angel” from Trevor Jones.

  • NFTs have been shaking up the art world, and traditionalists like Christie’s have already pivoted.
  • NFT artist Trevor Jones says traditional art markets could become obsolete in the face of NFTs.
  • Mike Winkelmann of Beeple says galleries will end up pivoting to cater to this emerging market.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

NFT art has suddenly dominated headlines across the world, and it’s impact on the “traditional” art scene may be here to stay.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are more straightforward than they sound. Basically, a NFT provides blockchain-backed “proof of ownership” on an item that the token is attached to. This could be anything, from the Nyan Cat meme to virtual NBA “moments” to an upcoming album from Kings of Leon.

Mainstream players like Grimes and Mark Cuban are also getting in on the NFT scene.

“I have a feeling it’s only going to get a lot bigger!” Trevor Jones, an artist who has an educational background in fine arts with a focus on drawing and painting, told Insider in an interview. “Ride that crypto wave! 

Jones, who has been a full-time artist since 2015, considers himself a “traditional painter,” but has been interested in the intersection between art and technology for the past decade, including exploring the NFT art space since 2019.

In homage to his training, all of Jones’ NFT work still begins as a traditional “physical” painting. And so far, this formula has been finding him massive success: His artwork has been selling for between $40,000 to $180,000 each, Jones told Insider.

And last month, he sold 4,157 pieces of his “open edition Bitcoin Angel” in seven minutes for $777 each, amounting to a total $3.2 million.

Despite his background of “traditional” art, Jones predicts this wave of NFT artists could defunct the longstanding art market.

“This digital art market is only getting warmed up and it could quite easily take over the $67 billion (physical) art market in the not too distant future,” Jones told Insider in an email interview. “The traditional art markets, galleries, and auction houses that don’t see this and don’t prepare will become obsolete in 10 to 15 years.”

tom hanks beating the shit out of coronavirus
Part of “Tom Hanks beating the shit out of coronavirus” by Mike Winkelmann, otherwise known as “Beeple.”

Mike Winkelmann – also known as Beeple, a wildly successful digital NFT artist with sales and resales amounting to millions of dollars – thinks galleries will in fact cater to this emerging market.

As Winkelmann explains it, entities like museums and auction houses are “gatekeepers” and curators of the art world. And as the NFT world grows, so will the “noise” that comes with being able “quite cheaply or easily” produce art.

“I still think you’re going to want other people to cut through the noise and show them cool things,” Winkelmann told Insider. “I really don’t think this is going to be the end of galleries or the end of some level of curation.”

For traditional galleries, this pivot could be replacing framed artwork with hanging video screens that will display these new digital works, an idea Winkelmann is already exploring.

Sergio Scalet of Hackatao, a pop NFT art duo based in Italy, also believes both curators and art experts will be essential in this emerging scene in order to tell the works’ stories. Scalet believes this could create a meeting place between the NFT and traditional art worlds. 

“Probably in the beginning, the traditional art world will be on defense, but as we can see from the creation of many new technologies and apps, the bridge [between the two] is happening,” Scalet told Insider. “Maybe these older entities [like galleries] should adapt and find a way to exist in this new space.”

And it seems like the traditional art world is already rapidly pivoting. Previously, these works of (often digital) art would have likely been rejected by old, standing art spaces. Now, traditionalists are scrambling to get a piece of the NFT art pie.

For example, in February, Christie’s listed Winkelmann’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days.” This will be the famed auction house’s first digital art sale and its first auction to accept cryptocurrency, specifically Ether.

The piece was sitting at $3.5 million as of March 5, and the auction is set to conclude on March 11.

"Everydays: The First 5000 Days" by Beeple is up for auction on Christies' website
“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by Beeple is up for auction on the Christie’s website

The general art world’s growing receptiveness to digital – and NFT – art is now being noticed by people who’ve been integrated in the community for much longer.

“No shade, but there’s a lot of people [in the traditional art world] who would have never worked with us before we were in the NFT space,” Mark Sabb, founder of artist collective Felt Zine, told Insider in an interview. “They’re like gallerists and people we looked up to understanding they would never want to work with us, represent us, or really communicate with us deeply at all, who [are now doing so].”

Felt Zine was founded about a decade ago to “give voice” to art that likely wouldn’t be embraced by traditional galleries or museums.

Felt, which has always been deeply integrated in the digital art scene, was initially approached by artists who wanted the collective to enter the NFT space. These artists – which Sabb calls “early adopters of NFT” – then began asking Felt for sales representation and “crypto art exhibitions.”

Now, the collective is directly seeing the success in this recent NFT art boom: Its month-to-month sales volume has shot up 500% since mid-December 2020, Sabb told Insider.

Felt is also taking the idea of traditional art galleries and applying it to the online community by creating digital galleries and museums to showcase its artists’ work.

It’s a “new mode of experiencing this art,” Sabb says.

Bear Land by Mark Sabb for Felt Zine (2020) NFT art cryptoart
Part of “Bear Land” by Mark Sabb for Felt Zine.

However, Sabb doesn’t expect galleries to go defunct if they don’t pivot to this NFT boom due to the inherent differences in business models. Also, many collectors still collect both traditional and NFT art, a trend Sabb says will continue to grow.

“I think that artists feeling empowered may change the relationship that they have with some gallerists, similar to the ways streaming impacted the music industry, for good and bad,” Sabb said. “But ultimately, we’re probably looking at a reality where we have a thriving NFT space while the traditional art galleries continue to sell art the ways they always have.”

Sabb also notes that some art is better viewed in a typical gallery, while others fare stronger in a digital gallery space. However, he still has his concerns.

“I think there’s a reality where the NFT space can create more pressure for galleries to become increasingly controlling of the artists they represent if we’re not careful,” Sabb said. “So yes, it can be liberating, but we have to purposely work towards that.”

Read the original article on Business Insider