Fall 2021

Artists increase value of craft by adding digital tokens

by Saul Eli Rosa

Staff Writer

Celebrities and artists are selling NFTs in record numbers, cashing in on the latest cryptocurrency craze.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital assets such as digital art, music, video clips, and memes. It allows the designer’s creation to be authenticated, thus providing verification as an original work of art. The uniqueness of each token is what makes it not interchangeable or non-fungible.

This unit of data is stored on a digital ledger or blockchain. A blockchain is a specific database that collects information in groups, creating a block. Each block has a certain storage capacity that, once filled, chains itself onto the previous block of information. The chains of data that are formed create the “blockchain.” Each block is given an exact timestamp when it is added to the chain and becomes part of an irreversible timeline of data.

NFTs originate from Bitcoin’s 2012 introduction of Colored Coins. It was the idea of using the blockchain for assets such as digital collectibles, coupons, property, and more. It has been evolving ever since. Users began creating their own tradable currency in 2014 on a peer-to-peer financial platform named Counterparty. Then came the crypto art movement in 2017 that saw projects like Cryptopunks and CryptoKitties create more than 10,000 uniquely different digital art characters.

The pandemic of 2020 saw much of the world unemployed and confined to their homes, searching for any potential possibilities of income. It was during this time of hardship that many began to realize they could develop their own unique digital art and sell it in the comfort of their homes. Thus, the NFT craze was created with many celebrities and artists jumping on the bandwagon.

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“Everdays: The First 5,000 days” by Beeple

On March 11, digital artist Beeple, sold his NFT digital artwork entitled Everydays: The First 5,000 Days, at Christie’s for over $69 million. It is the first time a major auction house has sold a fully digital NFT, and the sale made it the highest price ever paid for an NFT.

Last August, Paris Hilton created her first-ever NFT for a charity auction. The hand-drawn portrait of her cat Munchkin sold for nearly $17,000. This success was the inspiration for her partnership with digital art designer Blake Kathryn and the recently-released NFT collection named Planet Paris that sold for more than $11 million.

Others cashing in on the NFT sensation are Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who sold his first ever tweet for $2.9 million, and the rock band, Kings of Leon, who in March announced they will become the first band in history to release their latest album, When You See Yourself, on NFT.

As the list of celebrities selling digital art continues to grow, they are not the only ones taking advantage of this opportunity. Brooklyn artist Blake Jameison has made roughly $46,000 in six weeks profiting from the sale of his artwork.

“I firmly believe that I will be a millionaire in like eight weeks, just because I see the potential of the NFT stuff,” Jamieson says. “I have a really big rolodex of pro-athlete clients, and they’re like beating down my door to do this stuff.”

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