One of the most talked-about developments in the virtual world is currently non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
These come in the form of digital artworks or assets – sometimes even GIFs or videos – that can be downloaded and exist on the blockchain; an encrypted database in the crypto world where each artwork is registered with its own unique metadata consisting of a string of numbers and letters which act as a certificate of authenticity for each asset.
While there is considerable confusion around the concept of NFTs, leading people to question the point of art that can’t actually be displayed in real life, they resolve issues around false attribution and artists not having full agency over their work.
A 2014 report by the Fine Arts Experts Institute (FAEI) revealed that 50% of artworks are either forged or incorrectly attributed.
But when a digital artwork is registered on the blockchain, that confirms its authenticity. Plus, people are able to share digital art across social media platforms, meaning it is also possible for it to reach a wider audience.
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Virtual Galleries Work in Favour of Digital Artists
Olga Dogadkinda, CEO at VR platform Emperia, founded her company after having noticed a problem with luxury brands not being able to portray their brand identity through e-commerce.
She believes it’s all about the brand story; that the environment your product is presented in is just as important as the product itself.
In the absence of in-store shopping and physical art exhibitions during the pandemic, virtual experiences have been able to bridge the gap.
“If you want to display dresses in a field of flowers, or shoes on another planet in another galaxy, you can do those things,” says Dogadkina. This means that with virtual galleries, digital artists no longer have to rely on traditional art spaces to showcase their work.
Digital spaces have become saturated, meaning keeping customers engaged is more crucial than ever.
Virtual reality provides a way for people to do this, by being reactive to the global situation and by extending the retail experience to the digital world.
“It’s all about building this connection with something that they can’t reach otherwise,” explains Dogadkina. In fact, immersive shopping experiences have proved to be so popular; people spend on average 13 minutes across all virtual shows.
More Solutions for Showcasing Digital Artwork
Although primarily, NFTs are viewed online via certain platforms to be shared through social media and virtual galleries, wall-mounted screens are also an option for collectors.
This extends digital art to the physical world and traditional spaces, whilst ushering it into the mainstream and expanding its audience.
Popular NFT artist Beeple, AKA Mike Winkelmann, sends display frames to buyers of his art produced by Infinite Objects Inc.
The frames have built-in QR codes signed by Beeple himself, linking to each unique NFT (the frames are sent in sleek boxes for an extra exclusive feel).
These frames can’t be used for other artworks, nor do they have interfaces; to turn off the display, buyers have to place the frames back in the box, or drain the battery.
The Future Looks Promising for Crypto-art
Dogadkina emphasizes that due to the saturation of online content, it’s a lot harder to keep people engaged. But NFTs and virtual galleries offer something unique that can keep consumers engaged for longer.
“Consuming art in a digital space might seem more accessible and more appealing than, say, wandering around a gallery for 20 minutes,” she suggests.
Digital art frame startup Qonos Inc. even has plans to implement a way for digital artists to receive royalties whenever their art is displayed on a Qonos frame, according to the company’s founder, Moe Levin.
Offering accessibility and the opportunity for artists to receive an income without added fees, it’s safe to say that the digital art trend is one that is here to stay.