What is Crypto Art?

Crypto Art by Maria Garcia Venezuale
Crypto Art by Maria Garcia Venezuela

Wikipedia defines Crypto art (also stylized as CryptoArt or Crypto art) as a category of art related to blockchain technology.

„Emerging as a niche genre of artistic work following the development of blockchain networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum in the mid to late 2010s, crypto art quickly grew in popularity in large part because of the unprecedented ability afforded by the underlying technology for purely digital artworks to be bought, sold, or collected by anyone in a decentralized manner.”

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crypto_art)

CryptoArt has limited edition digital artworks,  or digital trading cards, associated with unique and provably rare tokens that exist on the blockchain. You can buy, sell, and trade those digital goods as if they were physical goods. This system works because, like Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, CryptoArt exists in limited quantity. Popular early examples include CryptoKittiesCryptoPunksRare PepeCurioCards, and Dada.NYC.

How is Criptoart identified?

The authenticity of physical artworks can be proved in different ways, for example, by examining the artist’s signature or receiving authentication certificates. In the case of Crypto art, different methods are used. The authentication and proof of ownership are based on non-fungible tokens (NTFS). They are unique digital assets that are stored in blockchain. NFTs cannot be reproduced. It can represent any type of digital formats such as GIF, JPEG, and MP3. They are not mutually interchangeable, but it is possible to buy them with cryptocurrencies. Once a digital artwork is uploaded on a blockchain in the form of NFT, it will become a unique piece of art, as it will always be possible to determine the original file even if its copies are shared indefinitely on the web.

The Common Base

According to the specialist, some key factors have shaped the aesthetic and community around NFT

  1. Digitally Native:  artwork can be created, editioned, bought, and sold digitally.
  2. Geographically Agnostic: artists participate from all over the world, so it is a truly global art movement.
  3. Democratic/Permissionless: Everyone is encouraged to participate regardless of skills, training, class, gender, race, age, creed, etc.
  4. Decentralized: Tools and guidelines are designed to reduce the control of middlemen and increase the autonomy of artists.
  5. Anonymous: artists can create and sell art while staying anonymous
  6. Memetic: CryptoArt is often literally memes valued for their ability to spread quickly.
  7. Self-Referential: CryptoArtists often play with references to key events and personalities within cryptocurrency and blockchain culture.
  8. CryptoPatrons: CryptoArt is collected by CryptoRich: a group of savvy technologists and investors who got into cryptocurrency early.
  9. Pro-Artist: Blockchain platforms often take little to no commission from artists. Artists are often remunerated for every future sale of a single work.
  10. Dankness: BecauseCryptoArt is open to everyone, judging it by traditional artistic values and standards does not work, so better value CryptoArt by “dankness” or potency of expression and creativity.

Crypto art – statistics & facts

Based on  Statista Research Department,

The market cap of NFT, or non-fungible tokens, shows a fast-moving development, growing nearly ten-fold between 2018 and 2020. Transactions declined for gaming, whilst value grew for arts. This latter aspect was demonstrated in early 2021 when an NFT digital artwork was sold in an auction for roughly 69 million U.S. dollars – making it the third most expensive art piece ever sold from a living artist.

In 2020, the Crypto art segment played already a significant role within the non-fungible token (NFT) market. Last year this sector reported the second-highest sales revenue of the NFT market. Overall, NFTs sold as artworks generated roughly 12.9 million U.S. dollars in 2020. Meanwhile, when considering the sales volume of the non-fungible token (NFT) market, the art segment only accounted for about five percent of all units sold. Outside of the NFT market, the online contemporary art market has grown significantly since the Pandemic closed galleries In the first half of 2020, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced auction houses to find alternatives to in-person events, the online auction revenue from contemporary art sales worldwide skyrocketed, roughly doubling the revenue reported in 2019.

Beeple: the first major auction of crypto art

On February 25, 2021, Christie’s – one of the leading auction houses worldwide in terms of fine art revenue – promoted an online auction for a single lot, a non-fungible token-based artwork by American artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple. This was the first auction by a major auction house sale of NFT digital artwork and accepted cryptocurrency for the sale.

The art piece, a digital collage named “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”, attracted 33 bidders. The majority of them were Millenials, with only three percent of bidders coming from the Baby Boomer generation. On March 11, 2021, the lot was ultimately sold for the unbelievable price of 69.3 million U.S. dollars, making it the most expensive artwork sold online to date. Not only that, but it was also the third-highest auction price for a living artist’s work, behind Jeff Koons and David Hockney. The buyer, only known by the pseudonym of Metakovan, was a Singapore-based investor and co-founder of the crypto fund Metapurse.

While it seems Crypto art is going to be the 21st art innovation attempt, it will remain widely controversial as new art movements are usually at the beginning of their journey. As art is very subjective, you can make up your mind by visiting  Arthome to see some interesting examples of Crypto art and judge for yourself. https://www.artnome.com/news/2018/1/14/what-is-cryptoart

Sources: Wikipedia, Statista.com Arthome.com