What Is NFT Art? Everything You Need To Know
NFTs are a relatively new concept that burst onto the scene with the metaverse development. NFT stands for non-fungible token. When dealing with economics, fungible assets refer to readily interchangeable units, such as money and currency.
For example, you could exchange four American five-dollar bills for one American twenty-dollar bill, which would hold the same value. However, any non-fungible asset has unique properties that cannot be interchanged with anything else.
NFTs are assets that can be purchased or sold, just like any other object or property, but they are unique intangible objects. NFTs are digital assets bought, sold and traded within the metaverse.
NFTs are not just one form — even though they are not traditional art, they now very much exist in the art world. But how can something digital and intangible be art? Keep reading to find out more.
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NFTs: A brief history
To better understand NFT art, knowing how non-fungible tokens developed in the first place is helpful.
2012: The inception
While there are a few different ideas of who first invented NFTs, the movement started in 2012-2013. Many agree that Colored Coins were the first NFT to exist. Colored Coins were introduced as part of a bitcoin and can be a tiny currency representing multiple assets.
Colored Coins’ biggest flaw was the reliance on people to agree on its value. Colored Coins were not a perfect science, but they did open up a whole new concept in NFTs.
2014 – 2016: Trading cards and memes
After Colored Coins paved the way, several others realized the potential of blockchains. Blockchains are virtual ledgers that record transactions via virtual code. Transactions are recorded in the block, and the chain keeps track of everything.
Each cryptocurrency user has a unique blockchain that serves as their digital ledger. Blockchain technology is meant to prevent fraud in the world of cryptocurrency.
During this timeframe, several more companies tried their hand at NFTs.
- Counterparty: This NFT platform allowed users to build projects and assets, like trading cards and memes, on top of the Bitcoin blockchain through a decentralized exchange. Eventually, Counterparty partnered with the popular trading card game Force of Will, which showed the industry how valuable NFTs could be.
- Rare Peeps: Rare Peeps introduced memes to a scene once dominated by trading cards. The platform became so popular that unique NFT memes were eventually traded on multiple blockchains, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.
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2017: Cryptopunks and CryptoKitties
Cryptopunks was the next stage in the evolution of blockchain entertainment. Rather than only dealing in memes, creators produced characters that users could own as avatars. There were only 10,000 available characters, and the low supply drove up demand as people bought and traded the unique animations.
Around the same time, CryptoKitties came to the scene not only as stock characters but as a virtual game through which players could adopt, raise and trade virtual cats. The highest-priced cat characters sold for over $100,000.
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2018 – Present
With more and more digital items like animations, video games, gifs and memes available to crypto fans, NFT marketplaces and ideas continued to develop. Some of the biggest NFT marketplaces include:
- Nifty Gateway.
These marketplaces hold endless opportunities for people with all kinds of interests. From real estate to purchasing an NFT version of Jack Dorsey’s first Tweet, there is something for everyone.
And once people realized how valuable images could be, the art community became interested as a new craze began.
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What is NFT art?
Much like any item in NFT form, NFT art is digital art that is tokenized in the blockchain. The artwork is entirely digital, meaning that investors ultimately buy, sell and trade in the metaverse.
Just like there is only one original with physical art, NFT art only has one original. Even though it is relatively easy to copy with downloads and screenshots, only the original holds the unique value. Just how much money is in the NFT art world? Keep reading to find out.
Related: How NFTs Have Changed Digital Art Forever
10 top-selling NFT artists
NFT art has taken the art community by storm. Although buyers and sellers never actually touch the art they own, they are still willing to pay top dollar to have unique pieces made by digital artists.
Many of these artists use social media to publicize their work, while others stick to the NFT markets. See the list below to see which artists have made the most revenue from this new movement.
At $291,732,674.58, PAK is the highest-grossing artist in the world of NFTs. Only a little is known about the artist, as they have remained anonymous throughout their time in digital media.
However, one of their most famous and highest-selling pieces is a commentary called Clock, a digital counter representing the number of days Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has served in prison.
Until PAK surpassed him, Beeple held the record of highest-selling NFT art. Everydays: The First 5000 Days sold for $69,346,250.00 at a Christie’s auction house session. This auction is primarily credited with putting NFT art on the mainstream media map, and it also marked the first auction that sold cryptoart and accepted cryptocurrency payments.
SNOWFRO is an artist and the founder of Art Block, a generative art platform that allows artists to present and sell their art NFTs like a digital art gallery. As an artist, his highest-selling piece sold for $8,129.59, and his total artwork value is $71,428,522.72.
Tyler Hobbs is an NFT artist who aims to provide positive messaging in his art. His highest-selling piece, Incomplete Control, sold for $81,227.67 and told the story of letting go, allowing yourself to breathe and accepting the imperfections of life and self. TYLERXHOBBS has found success in his mediums of algorithms, paint and plotters.
This artist has grossed $55,620,220.68 in NFT sales with his 9,575 pieces of NFT art that primarily focus on dystopian themes. His images include movement rather than remaining still on a screen.
DMITRICHERNIAK lives in the abstract part of the NFT space. His highest-grossing digital file sold for $2,682,000.00 and showed the digital art world how colorful, geometric and modern NFT projects could be.
This artist creates physical and digital art pieces, and their work reflects that duality with themes of society and its changes involving human behaviors and the metaverse. At $29,003,737.04 in earnings, the digital art community seems to resonate with the artist’s work.
This teenager is ahead of the game with $28,123,807.25 in earnings. They have used social media to leverage their work to over 100,000 followers across platforms. FEWOCIOUS lives in the pop surrealism space and has big plans for the future.
9. TREVOR JONES
Trevor Jones began working as a physical artist on canvas, but he quickly became fascinated with NFT art and started moving into QR codes and augmented reality.
Jones has seen tremendous success, as his highest-selling work earned him $368,856.40, which helped his total artwork value reach $23,472,483.23.
MATTDESL’s work is full of geometrical shapes, landforms, small strokes of color and 3D moving images. His total artwork value is up to $55,620,220.68, and his highest-selling work, Meridian, sold for $14,427.69.
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What can NFT art mean for you?
The metaverse has something for everyone. While digital artwork certainly lives in a higher price range for your digital wallet, looking at NFT artwork is still just as accessible as looking at a physical piece of art in a museum.
NFT collections in the art market have grown as new artists emerge each day with works of art that appeal to all genres. Whether you love real-world art or are interested in finding a new medium, NFT art is certainly something to see for yourself.
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