Beeple hit news headlines last week with the sale of his 13 year long digital artwork being sold for £50million. The Kings of Leon are the first band to announce that they’ll be releasing their latest album via NFT’s.
Move over Bitcoin
So, what’s all the fuss? What are these so called NFT’s?
Well, a Non-Fungible Token is a form of crypto currency – a digital file. It’s unique identity and ownership are verified on a blockchain.
“What’s a blockchain?” you ask.
Grab a cup of tea, you’ll need to sit down for this one…
A blockchain, in its most simple form, is a distributed ledger technology (DLT). This means, that data can be stored globally on thousands of servers – though no one else on the network can see other people’s entries, thus meaning that it is difficult for one user to gain control of the network. This DLT technology represents a new age for tech. Data can be communicated and shared between partners in a transparent, secure, and real-time way.
Back to Non Fungible Tokens…
Imagine you have a £10 note (remember the days of pre-pandemic cash!). This £10 note can be exchanged for two £5 notes.
With NFT’s this can’t happen. They are not exchangeable because it has unique properties, a ‘one of a kind’ asset.
NFT’s can be used to commodify digital files, such as art, music or video games. The owner of a token does not have sole access to the original copy, meaning many people who buy a token can have access to the original file. However, in the same breath, an NFT can also be used to create artificial scarcity of the digital file.
This means that digital files can become highly lucrative, as seen by the £50 million sale of Beeple’s 5000 strong digital art collection.
How will NFT’s impact the creative industries?
The Pandemic has forced the world of virtual trading to boom. We’ve been forced (for lack of a better word) in front of our computer screens, and so much of the recent success of NFT’s could be thanked for this.
The emergence of the importance and focus on the user experience is also another driver. People want to own things – there is something more gratifying and special about owning a digital file of art, then downloading a copy from the internet.
NFT’s also allow for typically impenetrable traditional art circles, to be penetrated! Digital art can create an inclusive scene that is not subjected to the constraints of the traditional art scene. Increasing visibility of and for creators means that it’s likely we’ll see a rise in creative expression that is separate from the highly stigmatised culture of traditional art.
In 2016, we approached Beeple to ask if we could reconstruct one of his digital pieces. He said yes!! We created a 360 Virtual Reality video for one of his animations. See it here for yourself.