NFT’s (non-fungible tokens) are digital tokens that can be tied to goods that are bought, traded, and sold. In other words, they’re computer files combined with the proof of authenticity and ownership. Similar to cryptocurrencies, they exist on a blockchain which allows them to remain free of hacking or tampering. Unlike bitcoin, however, NFT’s are unique in how their value is determined. When it comes to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, one bitcoin is worth the same as any other. But with NFT’s, the value of an individual NFT is determined by the highest bidder.
The creation of NFT has allowed many digital artists to truly ‘own’ and sell their work for the first time. Digital art is often undervalued as it is available to view for free online or on social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. But, with the creation of NFT’s, adding the element of authenticity and scarcity has created a new sense of value for a digital artist’s work.
According to Time, collectors have spent over $200 million on an array of NFT art, memes, and GIFs solely between February and March of 2021. By comparison, the entirety of 2020 saw roughly $250 million in sales. And, on March 11th this year, an NFT piece by artist Mike Winklemann was sold for $69 million, making it the third-highest price ever fetched by any living artist.
Many digital artists, after years of creating art that generated engagement rather than value, are excited by the trends turning toward NFT work. One 20-year-old artist who has sold over $60,000 worth of NFT art, Jazmine Boykins, stated, “You will have so many people from different backgrounds and genres coming in to share their art, connect with people and potentially build a career… Artists put so much of their time—and themselves—into their work. To see them compensated on an appropriate scale, it’s really comforting.”