Beeple, an artist, made history in March, after selling his digital art for $69 million using non-fungible token (NFT). Later, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $2.9 million. And many artists, musicians, and other cryptocurrency enthusiasts joined the exciting market.
However, Cat Bluemke, a Saskatchewan artist, says that not every artist is making money. He adds that many artists are losing money because of the fees associated with minting an NFT.
However, Bluemke still sees some benefits to the technology, especially for the artists. The technology used is similar to that underlying cryptocurrency, making it impossible for a piece of art to be duplicated and- thus retaining a sense of originality.
Bluemke says that artists should see NFT as a storage locker full of paintings. It is helpful to artists since it eases the difficult task of keeping a record of their work. An artist can track how their work is shared, and unlike physical art sales, every time an NFT exchanges hands, the artist received royalty.
Bluemke runs an NFT minting studio at Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina alongside co-founder Jonathan Carroll. Carroll says that duplication of pieces of art is still a challenge, something that is non-existence in the traditional art market.
Still, Carroll sees blockchain technology as a medium for artists to make work. He adds that NFT is mined in a simple video game-like virtual environment, and every time a click is made, a unit of cryptocurrency is generated. But as one gains the power to make mining more powerful, so are the environmental devastations.
Cryptocurrency mining uses a proof of work system that makes it difficult to create a new currency and validate transactions. The system is designed to expend energy to limit people from taking advantage and to create value.
Mining NFTs is, however, friendlier, it utilizes Tezos blockchain that is less valuable, and one doesn’t have to pay to have access. Miners can create and validate transactions based on the number of coins they hold.
Bluemke hopes that people will understand and reflect on the technology and maybe create interesting digital work. Carroll also agrees that NFTs are an exciting opportunity for the artists, she hopes that NFTs will see more uses.
“I feel like a lot of artists have understood the blockchain now that it’s, like, entered their world more. And we might see more uses of it that may be a bit more useful to artists even that NFTs are.”