The Future of Art: NFTs

Web 3.0 and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) envisage a connected, trustless, and accountable network capable of efficiently providing value and in so doing serving as a foundation for valuable assets.

This post explores the problem of ownership and accountability on the internet. As we’ll see, NFTs are the solution. NFTs are already altering the scene of digital art, enabled by blockchain technology, we will uncover how this innovative tech is doing this.

NFTs have given digital artists new financial opportunities.
NFTs have given digital artists new financial opportunities.

How Has The Web Evolved Over Time?

It's safe to say the Web has evolved rapidly in recent years.

The term "Web 1.0" refers to the earliest World Wide Web development phase. Many in Web 1.0 were content consumers, while just a handful were content providers. Static sites hosted on ISP-owned web servers or free web hosting services were commonplace.

Then, Web 2.0 came, encompassing websites that emphasize user-generated content, usability, and interoperability for end-users in the future. These features rendered this phase to be known as the "social web."

It does not relate to a change in a technical definition, but rather to a change in the design and usage of websites. User-generated material in a virtual community may be shared and collaborated on via social media interaction enabled by Web 2.0.


The Emergence of Web 3.0

The first two web protocols were primarily concerned with information dissemination and human connectivity. They accelerated the expansion of information and cooperation and did wonders for global interfacing. However, these protocols were never intended to transport valuable items.

Additionally, as the Web 2.0 era matured, problems such as "fake news" and the "batched relay" of asset movement across several intermediaries became apparent.

Let's now shift our attention to Web 3.0's innovations.

Web 3.0, also known as Semantic Web or read-write-execute, is the age (starting in 2010 and onwards) in which the web's future is discussed. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning allow online algorithms to think and act like humans, enabling intelligent distribution of material suited to users' specific needs.

In Web 3.0, tokens control the internet, which the users and the creators own.

From Web 3.0 to NFTs…

Users and developers may own parts of internet services by acquiring non-fungible token (NFTs) or fungible tokens.

In essence, Web 3.0 decentralizes digital ownership and control and NFTs are a transformative technology integral to Web 3.0. NFTs make digital ownership possible, as they confer users’ property rights, allowing them to claim ownership of a portion of the internet.

NFTs enable users to own items, including art, images, code, music, language, gaming objects, credentials, governance rights, and access passes, among other things.

NFTs are built on top of blockchain technologies such as Ethereum and Cardano.

While digital art accounts for the lion's share of the NFT industry, the technology's inherent flexibility enables near-limitless experimentation with what an NFT might represent.

Movies, concerts, tickets, sporting events, and training are just a few of the rapidly developing NFT sectors that benefit from blockchain-based proof of ownership and authenticity.

Since blockchains are immutable and publicly available digital ledgers, it is possible to observe the complete transfer history of a particular NFT. We can determine who produced the NFT, acquired it, kept it for how long, and the transaction's worth.

Read here to learn how to trade NFTs on Cardano!

Why Would Anybody Choose a Digital Collectible Over a Physical Item?

When you really think about it, owning a digital collectible actually makes more sense than a physical one.

Imagine for a moment that you own a first edition Superman Comic. Since it is a physical possession, you would keep it at your home under lock and key. You might show it off to a friend or two when they came to visit and they’d no doubt stroke your ego with their jealous admiration of owning such a rare item.

Now compare that to owning a comic book NFT and imagine how many more people you could impress when you flash it on Facebook or Instagram.

The ‘digital flex’, as it is referred to in NFT lingo, would be immense.

Profile picture NFTs, in particular, offer the greatest opportunity for digital flexing.

For instance, having a Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), a blue-chip NFT on Ethereum, as your Twitter profile photo is like wearing a large Rolex or driving around in a Porsche in the real world.

Bored Ape Yacht Club
Owning a Bored Ape is the ultimate digital flex. (Source)

Then There is Exclusivity and Status…

Investing in a blue-chip NFT initiative features membership in a distinguished club, and like with any club, there are perks.

As the name indicates, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is touted as an elite club or social organization, with membership restricted to those who possess one of the coveted NFTs. It entitles members to a special Discord server, where they may socialize and talk with other owners, including celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton.

Exclusive events are a great highlight of being a member of the BAYC.

Owners of the renowned NFT collection BAYC hosted a real yacht party on the Hudson River and an owners-only performance by The Strokes at Brooklyn Steel.

The event was attended by NFT aficionados, prominent crypto influencers, and mainstream celebrities, including filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, and comedian Chris Rock, among others.

But that is not everything! BAYC is also introducing its own game as an added benefit of membership.

Additionally, owning a BAYC entitles you to get free NFT drops directly into your wallet. Possessing an actual collectible provides none of this utility.

Don’t Try To Fake It

With all of these amazing things associated with the NFT, isn't the 'right click save' assertion fairly ridiculous?

And if you were to right-click save someone's BAYC as your profile picture on Twitter, you would be seen as a joke.

It would be akin to wearing a false Rolex with a sticker that reads 'this is a fake,' since ownership of an NFT is so easily verified.

The Innovations of NFTs

If you've been paying attention to the recent news, you’ll know that NFTs are stealing the spotlight.

So, you might ask yourself, what exactly is an NFT?

A Non-Fungible Token is metadata associated with digital art created using blockchain technology, resulting in a tradeable asset that is instantaneously verifiable and transferrable. Metadata endows digital art with legitimacy, ownership, and rarity and a plethora of benefits arise:

Security: NFTs may be exchanged in a very secure and transparent manner.

NFTs serve as unchangeable digital signatures, providing collectors with unparalleled trust.

This assurance applies to the art's future heritage as well. While digital works kept on the blockchain are impervious to censorship and physical degradation, they must be carefully preserved.

Additionally, blockchain technology enables individuals to safely transfer massively valuable items internationally and in full public view.

Composability: One of the fascinating aspects of NFTs is their resemblance to interlocking Lego pieces.

This implies that developers may launch new NFTs that capitalize on the popularity of existing NFTs.

Royalties: With NFT technology, royalties may be hard-coded into the NFT itself, ensuring that when an NFT is sold or resold, a part of the revenues is immediately delivered to the inventor, while marketplaces such as, residing on the Cardano blockchain, take a negligible royalty.

Accessibility: Rather than requiring a wall to exhibit your artwork, you can just see it on your smartphone after downloading a cryptocurrency wallet.

NFTs are highly impacted by the general reception and responses of NFT enthusiasts. Unlike most traditional art, customers and a few important art dealers/collectors choose whether art is excellent or not.

Reduced entry barriers: Overall, digital media drastically reduces the entry barriers for artists and collectors.

They are not confronted with the same gatekeepers as in the analog world. Additionally, they avoid the significant bother and upfront expenditure associated with setting up the manufacture and distribution of a collection of several thousand physical items.

Being able to sell their work on a large scale is a totally new potential for most producers and artists.

Beeple's Everydays
Beeple's Everydays sold for a cool $69 million. (Source)

So, Are NFTs Even Worth It?

After pondering this avalanche of information, one thing is clear for me: NFT technology will revolutionize how we interact with the Internet.

Are you a new artist who wants to establish your NFT collection and are delighted that your work will be freely accessible for everybody to view and appreciate, as well as secure?

Or do you merely want to trade some NFTs?

It doesn’t much matter how you embrace the NFT revolution, just so long as you do.