We’ve all seen these 3 letters thrown around on the news recently, along with some astonishing numbers. $69.3 million for a jpeg NFT. Both aspects of that news statement, people are still trying to understand. What is an NFT? In short, an NFT is a digital asset, that uses blockchain technology to create a unique trail of meta data behind each individual asset. As seen from the previously mentioned sale price, this auction marks one of the most transformative sales the art world has ever seen. NFT’s are fostering a new type of creativity and shifting the art world as we know it today.

The arts have always been one of the most archaic industries in terms of the methods used by the market to sell, acquire and showcase work. An industry that has lagged in terms of technological advancements on the business side, has now been forced to evolve. A pressure placed by the creative side of the industry...the artists and creators.  

With the evolution of the craft, through advancements in technology, artists have harnessed the power and created a huge shift. This is exactly what was needed for the business of art to swing from one of the most archaic models, to what is now at the forefront of all transactions and interactions of the future. With so much interest in NFTs, we are seeing a flood of content. Everyone is creating, which is magical. However, as artists challenge themselves in ways to establish their work in this new space, the parts that will have to translate between the worlds will be nuanced and important. With so many more variables to take into account, beyond format, there will definitely be a learning curve for artists, collectors, galleries and museums. Things to navigate and think about will be the royalties that follow every piece with each transaction, establishing and then assessing the credibility of museums and galleries in the metaverse, which “neighborhood” do these galleries exist in, what does public art look like in web3, challenges with ensuring the privacy of digital art, and protecting access in order to create value. Artists will also find themself faced with the challenge of how to translate their work. Will we see new trends in art start to form as a result of translating to digital format? Will artists use new technologies to expand on their authentic style, and stay true to their original craft? Is there an approach that can bridge the two in a way that speaks to both the digital and analogue world? 

With so many changes and challenges, this will most definitely be a time for learning. Everyone involved will help create this new world in the arts, and the way to navigate it will be defined through exploration, errors, and creativity. It’s wonderful to come across a world where nobody is an expert...yet. I encourage all to be involved, whether you’ve considered yourself to be a creative or not. This world is probably the most inclusive that the art world has ever been, in that there’s room for everybody to create. From musicians writing a new piece, to visual artists learning to paint in pixels, to drone pilots recording their skills, to athletes who’s art has been captured in clips, gamers who have created their own character, chefs with secret recipes, dancers with a performance...you name it, it has a place in the metaverse. A place where the universe can be unified, and the types of contributions are endless. Creativity is what separates us from animals, and we’ve come to a place where a new world needed to be created because of the endless supply of creativity that we have as humans. 

While we consider the creative content, we also have to keep in mind the other side. How privacy issues might compromise the monetization options. How creators need to be able to protect access in order to create or maintain the value of their work. Creating privacy and confidentiality in the blockchain space while still giving display rights to the web3 world will be one of the biggest challenges. What does digital ownership look like in the upcoming years? Taking into account the ecological cost of storing energy, and making it more efficient. Without even getting to which platform channels are the most reliable, and other potential technological limitations, there is plenty to think about when it comes to NFTs.

Is this a new movement in the history of art, or a transition of the current one just into a new space? Is the goal to move it over flawlessly without a shift in individual styles, or are we about to see an emergence of a new type of art that shifts the way we see and do things in the art world. Is this the new “Fountain” readymade by Marcel Duchamp that redefined “what is art?” back in 1917? Whatever it is, I’m grateful that it’s happening in my lifetime, and is coming as a result of a community that is constantly in communication and has realized the influence of their numbers, and the strength of their non-conformist thinking. 

Tarryn Soderberg