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23 Sep 2021

Why NFTs are here to stay

Alia Kawar

While we never know what the future holds with full certainty, NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have given us a powerful indication that they most probably will be a part of it, if not, an integral one. Here are a few reasons why NFTs are here to stay (at least in the Art World).

1. We're forming digital identities

As with all artit’s not just about the surface of the image but it’s about what story you’re trying to share about you. NFTs are a part of this new era of forming our digital identities. While we already place so much value to our social platform identities and the content we put out, what better way to express who we are than through mediums of expression as moving and inspiring as art? Think of it as a way of garnering a collection of assets that reflect the deepest parts of you, what you relate to, what brings excitement to your life, all while connecting to a larger community sitting at your fingertips.

Art employing technology is not only part of culture but also human condition. NFTs are a tool to disseminate art and NFTism, the community swirling around it at the speed of light. Kenny Schachter, Artist, Writer and Curator.

2. It aligns with values we share as a collective

Authenticity. Transparency. Efficiency. Power of Community. These are all characteristics that breed blockchain technology. With its inception in 2008, blockchain gave the answer to digital trust by providing a decentralized digital ledger that records information in a public space and is predicted to disrupt almost every industry.

One word associated with the big headlines scattered across the art news in the past year and often to do with unexpectedly high numbers is NFT. While NFTs were first introduced to the public in 2017, it was the pandemic that sparked a larger interest towards its broad use case. Through NFTs, strong niche communities have been forming and growing on different social media platforms like Twitter, Discord and Club House. In almost every conversation on NFTs, it's difficult to not hear or mention the word 'community' because regardless of whether NFT projects will succeed or fail, what's more important are the strong relationships that are being built. It's an ecosystem that is refreshingly characterised by its open-mindedness, support and freedom of expression. It is a group of people that wake up every day thrilled by the innovative opportunities that are coming in at the speed of light. A community of artists, collectors and curators conversing, learning and growing together.

"The community being built is the warmest I have been around." - Gabe Weis, prominent NFT artist

3. It validates ownership in a way the Art World has never seen before

For art collectors, things that seemed impossible or difficult to obtain were now happening with a simple click: provenance, validity of ownership to the public, transparency, all encrypted on the blockchain forever. The concept of non-fungibility, meaning non-interchangeable is what truly gives value to owning an NFT. In other words this asset, whatever it may be is completely unique and only belongs to you. Similar to when Marcel Duchamp gave value to a urinal by simply signing it, anything minted on the blockchain can arguably now have value because it becomes unique, scarce and ownable. What once used to be a market of the top 1% in their mid 60s and with a history of transparency issues is now in the hands of Gen Zers and Millennials who place authenticity at the forefront giving the art market no other choice but to adapt (and to do so quickly). Traditional auction houses like Christies, Sotheby’s and Phillips bravely stepped in to prove the viability of NFTs by taking the decision to fully immerse NFTs in major auctions and exhibitions.

Soon to follow: established museums that will further validate NFTs as a mechanism in placing digital artists on a platform that never existed before.

4. Digital art and new media can finally be valued in their native ecosystem

Lifetime of royalties. If any digital artist heard that a few years ago would deem it impossible. That’s one of the most ground-breaking outcomes that come out of minting artwork on the blockchain. That’s one of the most ground-breaking outcomes that come out of minting artwork on the blockchain. As encoded in the smart contract of the NFT, artists can receive a royalty on every resale. It finally gave digital artists value they deserved. As we consume technology in different ways so too are artists in their experimentation with digital mediums. Some of the mediums that are leading the digital art movement like animation, CGI (Computer-Generated Imaging) etc. were never given the justice they deserved if printed on a wall, while now anyone can collect a digital work and proudly own it.

“NFTs are the future of digital assets and art. What has been possible in the digital space. Authenticity, ownership value, transaction and ownership history, everything written on the blockchain for everyone to see.” - Robert Jahns, Award Winning Digital Artist and Photographer

One of the most common questions is: why should I care about collecting NFTs if I can’t display them? This is still a growing opportunity with solutions to display NFTs coming in day by day. Those who care about physical display will have the opportunity to set up high resolution screens and hang them in their homes, similar to what is being done in physical NFT exhibitions. While those who enjoy displaying their NFTs within the virtual community have multiple options varying from setting up a personal exhibit on decentraland and cryptovoxels to simply enjoying sharing their newly bought NFTs on social media.

5. It's a part of a larger movement that is redefining the creative economy

In the art world one can arguably say that it’s either replication or it’s revolutionary. The NFT movement is most definitely leaning towards the revolutionary side by reminding us of those mediums that pushed the boundaries of the meaning of art like street art, photography, or abstract art. While at first faced with skepticism were later solidified as valid movements in art history.

With NFTs, the creative economy will never be the same. It’s only natural to think that the more time we spend online, the more value we’re giving to the space. The NFT movement is unique because it’s built for openness and interoperability, working on different wallets and exchanges on well defined standards. It is built for empowering peer-to-peer exchanges that has fostered a positive, innovative and open minded community that we all strive to work towards.

Stay tuned for Emergeast's first-ever NFT exhibition!