Decryption of Crypto Art: The New Art Movement on the Channel

How lucrative is the rare seed manufacturing market getting

In November 2017, Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi was sold at Christie’s, the world’s largest auction house, for $ 450.3 million. In October 2020, Satoshi Nakamoto Block 21 was sold at Christie’s for $ 131,250.

The first is the most expensive work of art in the world. The second is the first piece of crypto art to ever be sold at a major auction house.

Cryptocurrencies have had their day for some time, with the Bitcoin craze of 2018 (which, by the way, was created by the person under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto) and recent rumors that it could replace paper. -currency once central banks inevitably collapse due to the pandemic. And because, of course, it wouldn’t be the Internet without the idiosyncratic evolution of an underground subculture, there is now a growing presence of crypto art in the crypto community as well.

I hear you ask, “What is crypto art?”

Crypto art is a new movement that allows people to create digital art while securing official ownership of the coin with what crypto demons call an NFT.

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, which means something that is certified unique; it is irreplaceable, which gives it a certain intrinsic value. Since most works of art online can be reproduced at will by just about anyone, making a digital work of art an NFT, where copyright and ownership details would be stored on a cryptocurrency’s blockchain, would give it the same amount of rarity than a physical work of art like da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi.

Art can still be reproduced, but only the person who has the token – the artist’s cyber signature on the artwork, essentially – really owns it.

TVNs can take many forms. It can be specific artwork, just as it can be collectible characters and games, like CryptoPunks – a bunch of punk characters that you can buy using Ether, a cryptocurrency – and CryptoKitties, which is a lot like Nintendogs, but with a digital cat that has a unique NFT genetic code that you can breed with other cats to make another unique kitten.

Another use of crypto art is what’s called cold storage: some crypto artwork is available as physical prints with a QR code, which Bitcoin users can then use to store their Bitcoin. outside of their crypto wallet. Since they transfer funds to a physical two-dimensional object – which therefore cannot be hacked – the art print then acts as a safe in a bank.

For the most part, crypto artwork can cost anywhere from $ 50 to $ 500,000. But it is difficult to follow the value of these coins because the value of cryptocurrencies changes so much, and there are so many sources claiming different values ​​for the more expensive crypto art coins.

So far, a crypto photo of a rose, sold for $ 1 million, is said to be the most expensive piece of crypto art on the market. As a fast-paced business, the crypto art market is estimated to be worth well over $ 128 million, and it grew by $ 8.2 million in December 2020 alone.

Some see it as a counter-culture movement against the traditional art world, which has come to embody elitism and luxury. Where museums, art buyers and others decide what types of art and artists will be honored, the internet is able to democratize the industry and give small artists the support and recognition they want. deserve. The web is also home to a multitude of different artistic styles and themes.

Now crypto art is a fun game, but this is the internet we’re talking about, and on the internet people just have to make it weird. Enter the Rare Pepe directory.

The Directory is a group of “experts” who work to verify and approve user-submitted Rare Pepe artwork (which act and look like collectible cards). They have a list of specific criteria to consider any bid, like dimension specifications and how many parts it should have, to confirm that the Pepe in front of their eyes is indeed rare. If approved, the new Pepe can then be purchased and traded as an NFT.

As far as I know, there aren’t really any practical uses for crypto art. But the concept has been questioned by many as another way for internet users to launder money more effectively. After all, the fine art world is already being used as a vehicle to clean up dirty money and tax evasion through underlying payments and overestimates; creating an art industry based on decentralized and anonymous payments seems like an obvious next step for the blockchain elite.

The rise in popularity and value of intangible art starts an important conversation about why we care about art in the first place. Salvator Mundi’s sky-high price denotes the rarity of original Leonardo da Vinci pieces, but what difference does it make when you can peer into the piece and appreciate it as much as a JPEG file? Are we about to see ever higher price records for digital coins?

More importantly, crypto art, as a prediction of the future of art, is an indicator that barriers to entry into the art world have reached a tipping point. Just as we see in the rest of the digital world, the 99% are taking back the art from those who capitalized on its captivity.

Photo collage by Kit Mergaert

Christopher S. Washington