Some of you will already know what we are talking about, others have never heard of NFT art, others will have seen in this period some digital artists launch new digital works of art on unknown platforms.
Nft art, crypto art, digital tokens, digital art, ethereum platform, nft token, beeple, nft beeple, nft marketplace etc… are all words that in this period are seeing growing searches on Google.
Interest has grown exponentially since the digital artist Beeple (unknown to the art world until a few days earlier) ignited Christie’s auction with his digital work “Everydays-The First 5000 Days” sold for 69,346.520 million dollars on 11 March 2021. An absurd price, one of the highest auction sales in history, and the first ever considering that it is a digital work of art!
The NFT market for digital artworks sold between January and February reached $ 300 million (according to Cointelegraph / Artnet).
We have studied for a long time, experimented, created NFT art ourselves to understand its functioning and use, to better understand its advantages and criticalities. We therefore decided to bring together everything we know in this article – a guide on NFT digital art.
We will talk about what an NFT is, what a digital work of art is, how an NFT work of art is created, how and where to buy an NFT and, finally, we will answer the most common questions (FAQ).
Before getting started, watch the short video below:
Cesar Pelizer – “The Stairs To Self Discovery” – animation 3d, 2021
The question is: the short video just viewed, is or not is a work of art?
WHAT IS AN NFT
NFT is the abbreviation for “non-fungible token“. The noun Token indicates the presence of a series of digital information that characterizes each specific file, the term non-fungible indicates a non-interchangeable good, different from the others for its characteristics.
NFTs are digital certificates of authenticity. NFTs are therefore “digital information” that refer to a file to which they are associated, in our case the file is the work created digitally by the artist. They are essentially unique and unchangeable codes written forever within a network accessible to anyone.
The network currently most used is that of the Ethereum cryptocurrency – a well-known cryptocurrency similar to the more famous BITCOIN.
NFT and DIGITAL ART
So, starting from the assumption that the NFT is simply a code written within a network, how is it possible to compare this code to a work of art?
The answer is simple: NFTs are used to certify and 100% guarantee that a digital file (digital artwork) exists and has been uploaded to the network by its creator.
We explain better: the artist creates a digital file (the work of art created with the help of the computer), records it within the Ethereum network (thus creating the TOKEN) and at this point every once that token (associated with the digital work of art) changes owner, a trace is left on the Ethereum network, being able at any time to trace the original trace, i.e. the creation of that specific token and that specific digital work of art to be part of its creator.
So if, for example, OBEY registers a digital work of art on the Ethereum network (and he has already done so), even after this digital work of art has changed 1000 owners, it will always be possible to trace back to the fact that precisely that TOKEN was unambiguously created by OBEY himself.
Returning to us, NFT is not a digital work of art! A digital work of art is created in a thousand different ways, which end with the creation of a digital FILE (for example a jpeg or png file, or even a video in MP4 format or even music files etc …). This digital file, created by an artist and uploaded (technically minted – since it is not exactly an upload, but the creation of a contract, a track, on the ethereum network) within the ETHEREUM network leaves a trace by creating an NFT. This track, therefore the NFT itself, is associated with a specific digital file (an image, a video, a music track …) and, as mentioned, even following infinite exchanges that the NFT may have it will always be possible to trace to the event that originated the NFT itself.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT CRYPTO ART
We thought about it for a long time and we particularly liked one thing: finally, particularly talented people with computer programs, which use mouse and keyboard instead of canvas and brush, can be defined as real artists.
Creating a digital artwork like the one at the beginning of the article (the video made by the English illustrator Cesar Pelizer) requires great talent, imagination, technical skills as well as the expenditure of a considerable amount of time.
So let’s go back to the question at the beginning of the article: the creation of Cesar Pelizer (an artist with whom we have started a collaboration … updates in the coming days) is or not is a work of art? The artist created it from scratch, starting from his own personal idea, but using different tools than those we are used to.
Cesar Pelizer “Holding it Together” – 3d digital art
Dante Robles – frame taken from digital artwork “Rock a Bye Love”
Finally, by using NFT technology, a digital file like this can always have the certainty of having originated from the artist himself and can therefore also be exchanged just like other works of art.
Many will naturally ask a question: Can’t I just download the file instead of buying it?
It is a legitimate question, which we have also asked ourselves. Why buy an NFT work of art when it can be downloaded and / or viewed for free from any device? We will answer this question and others later in the FAQ section.
WHAT WE DID NOT LIKE ABOUT NFT ART
The disarming SPECULATION! A frenetic, agitated, absolutely meaningless market has been created.
We have seen people buy an NFT digital work for € 200 and put it back on sale after a few seconds for € 5,000, crypto art purchased for € 4,000 and put up for sale a minute later for € 700,000 and more. Money becomes a number, art becomes a game of chance, exchanges become an uncontrolled market. 90% of crypto art buyers don’t know what they are doing, buy anything, no matter who the artist is, at a price and relist at tens or thousands of times that price … hoping there is another person that, taken by the crazy frenzy of exchanges, can really pay those figures!
It is the idea of being able to become rich with a few clicks of the computer.
Many exchanges can also be piloted. Consider that opening an ethereum account with which to purchase NFT digital works of art takes 1 minute, and these are anonymous wallets. Therefore, if an artist uploads 10 digital works of art by connecting them to an Ethereum wallet (identified by a specific code) and then with another Ethereum wallet he “self-purchases” 5 works by paying 50,000 euros each, no one will know that it is he himself piloted the market. Therefore everyone will see that this artist has made 5 sales of 50,000 euros each, speculators will think they can make a big deal to pay similar figures for the other works available and try to resell them immediately afterwards!
Therefore, most people will risk investing large sums of money against which they will only get a code (the token) that, perhaps, no one else will be more willing to buy!
This type of art, crypto art, NFT digital works of art, are a new world that has opened up for us and certainly offer great opportunities both in terms of art collecting and also in terms of investments. But getting caught up in the madness of the market is extremely risky and could lead to big disappointments!
HOW TO PURCHASE NFT DIGITAL WORKS OF ART
There are essentially two ways to purchase NFT digital works of art: by paying for them with ordinary currencies or through ethereum.
In both cases, the prerequisite for obtaining and storing crypto art is having an Ethereum wallet. In extremely simple words, an Ethereum wallet (called the Ethereum wallet) allows you to keep both the cryptocurrency Ether (which has an immediate equivalent value in ordinary currency) and any other TOKEN created through the Ethereum network itself.
We specify it better: ethereum is both a cryptocurrency (properly called Ether), therefore a virtual currency that can also be exchanged with ordinary currencies at any time (at the moment in which we write 1 Ether is equivalent to 1,744 euros) and both a crypto allows you to generate other TOKENs. It is precisely for this last aspect that the Ethereum network was chosen for crypto art, because it allows you to associate digital files with new tokens (non-fungible tokens – NFT).
Therefore, buying crypto art once you have opened an ethereum wallet (we will tell you how to do it in the FAQ) is extremely simple. The Ethereum wallet, which consists of an alphanumeric code (a sort of iban), will be used to store your digital works of art. It will be sufficient to connect the Ethereum wallet to the platforms (in the FAQ we write the most famous ones) where the digital works of art are sold (it is done with a click), choose the crypto art of interest and pay through the Ether that are available on the wallet.
All transactions that will be carried out on the Ethereum network are subject to the payment of GAS FEES, i.e. commissions that the network requires in order to function. In the FAQ we will write the costs.
It is also possible to purchase digital works of art by paying with ordinary currencies because crypto art can also be transferred from one ethereum wallet to another. This is the option that we will choose: we will offer some NFT digital works of art at a price in euros for which a simple transfer will be made from our ethereum wallet to that of the buyer!
Finally, there are platforms that allow you to purchase NFT digital works of art without any ethereum wallet, such as Nifty Gateway.
All the methods mentioned for purchasing NFT digital works of art are the same as those used to sell crypto art. On all platforms, in fact, you will find not only the digital works offered for sale by the artists themselves, but also the “secondary market” or the sale of crypto art performed by third parties. All transactions, being tracked, will always allow us to trace the initial transaction, namely the one in which the artist himself associates his work with the NFT!
If anyone can download the file of any digital artwork, why buy NFT?
There are two reasons.
1. For speculative reasons, being a novelty on the market, you buy an NFT hoping that someone else will buy it at a higher price.
2. Because it is the only way to have OWNERSHIP of that specific digital file and, indeed, the more people download it, the more people admire it, and the more the prestige of the NFT and its owner grows. Furthermore, only the owner can dispose of it economically. In this regard, Hackatao, one of the most successful artists on the SuperRare platform says: “Everyone sees it, only one owns it”.
How to open an Ethereum wallet
The easiest and fastest way is to download the Google Chrome extension called Metamask. Once the extension has been downloaded and added to Chrome (1 minute or less), an account with a password is created. It is advisable to save the private key of the Ethereum wallet (it is an alphanumeric key that distinguishes every single Ethereum wallet and with which it is possible to import an Ethereum wallet also on another computer – just click, in Metamask, on ACCOUNT DETAILS and then EXPORT PRIVATE KEY, therefore save this key securely), because if you forget the password or the computer on which Metamask is installed suffers damage, there will NO longer be any possibility of recovering the NFTs stored on that Ethereum wallet and any credit in cryptocurrency!
What are the most popular platforms for buying / selling crypto art
SuperRare is our favorite, because it is focused exclusively on crypto art. Then there are RARIBLE and OPENSEA which sell crypto art and other types of NFTs.
Crypto.com and Nifty Gateway are also used without owning an ethereum wallet.
Are there any costs to buy and sell NFT digital works of art?
ALL the processes that take place on the Ethereum network and which, in some way, leave a trace, are subject to the payment of the GAS FEES, or commissions that the Ethereum network itself requires in order to function.
To be able to mint (upload) a file and associate it with an NFT, the cost varies from 40 to more than 100 dollars, depending on the hours and congestion of the network.
To be able to buy an NFT the price varies from a few dollars to 20/30 dollars, the same thing for the transfer of an NFT from one wallet to another.
Listing an NFT also costs around $ 20.
Making a bid on an NFT at auction (for example on SuperRare) costs about 15/20 dollars. If you are exceeded and you want to make another offer, you will pay other GAS FEES of the same amount … and so on! Please note that these costs are not due to the platform, but to the ethereum network to function.
What happens if the platform from which I purchased my NFTs closes?
If the platform from which you purchased or that in any case allows you to view your NFTs should close, absolutely nothing happens. NFTs are stored within the Ethereum network and are forever viewable within your Ethereum wallet as they are tokens. It will only be necessary to connect the wallet to another platform capable of viewing that token, but the latter will always and in any case remain in your wallet.
What happens if I lose my Ethereum wallet password and have not kept the private key?
You will lose everything, both the tokens stored inside the wallet and any Ether cryptocurrency credit, without any possibility of being able to recover them.
To prevent, it is essential to keep the private key of the Ethereum wallet in a safe place, as described above.
Do you get rich investing in NFT art?
If you had done it a year ago and had focused on the right artists, probably yes. If you shop today just to get rich it is a difficult, albeit not impossible, event. We always suggest buying art for taste, rather than for investment. The fact remains that with the right choices you can also make excellent investments in the field of crypto art.
Which artists to buy?
From this point of view, we are about to start collaborations with some digital artists who have always worked only with digital art and who use NFTs to certify the authenticity of their work.
We have noticed that many traditional artists have literally “launched” into the creation of NFT. Very often we saw a purely speculative purpose and, therefore, we kept our distance.
However, the situation is very different if we consider artists who have always used mouse and keyboard instead of brush and canvas. They are real digital artists who, certainly, benefit from the current trend but who, in any case, are rewarded for a talent and passion they have always shown, in a sector that belongs to them.
We have chosen a few, which we will present to you shortly.
However, the advice is always to choose according to your tastes, and only if you believe in the phenomenon of crypto art and buy it out of interest and with passion.
What is the future of crypto art?
Difficult to say. As we have been able to describe, the NFTs have made it possible to enhance “pure” digital artists, allowing them to sell real masterpieces made with talent and passion.
It is certain that also and above all international auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s will continue to offer crypto art, and many works will still have significant prices but, probably, only real digital artists will be rewarded. Bepple, for example, beyond the fact that he enjoyed the “novelty event” is a purely digital artist, certainly not a painter who switched to NFT art to follow the trend!
How can I create an NFT?
The procedure is very simple and on the RARIBLE and OPENSEA platforms it is open to everyone.
You log in to the platform via the Ethereum wallet, from the appropriate link you can upload the digital file to be associated with the NFT, enter the title and description, any sale price in Ether and finally you will sign the smart contract always with one click from the Ethereum wallet. At this point, by paying the famous GAS FEES (from 40 to 100 dollars), the Ethereum network will be able to create a non-fungible token associated with that specific file. The file will then be visible on the NFT platform used.
On the SuperRare platform we assume that the procedure is the same, but we have not been able to try as this platform is not open to everyone, but only to the artists selected by the curators of the site itself.