Exploring the world of on-chain digital art.
“NFTs are a way for people from all over the world to participate in a global economy.”
When we talk about on-chain digital art, what do we mean exactly?
The term On-Chain refers to the blockchain. Most people should have heard by now about bitcoin and blockchain, but that is just the top of the iceberg of a new eco-system.
You can image a blockchain (sometimes referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology or DLT) as a ledger, as used by accountants, where every transaction is written down. But this ledger is digital and there are many many copies spread over the world. And each copy is protected by cryptography. As a result, there is no way to ‘cook the books’. Every transaction made is logged and stored forever and everyone can get a copy of the ledger and check the transaction log.
So what has art have to do with transactions and ledgers?
When art becomes digital (it can a photo, a movie, an audio file, …), it can be linked to a non-fungible token (NFT).
“A non–fungible token (NFT) is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger.” – Wikipedia
When you store the (digital) art on the blockchain and specify the creator, owner, number of copies and so on, it is possible for everyone to verify creator and ownership on the ledger.
But why is this so important?
Imagine you are a young artist from a small developing country with limited resources. To sell your art, you have to find a local market. You can try to self-promote on the street but your market is very limited. To find a larger audience, you’ll need to find an agent or publisher. Since you have no resources, they will charge a large commission on sales. And they have the power to decide if your art is good enough or not.
But when you would create digital art, you will need some tooling such as a computer and internet access, but beyond that you can immediately enter a global economy. You can choose your own pricing, you don’t depend on critics. You still have to promote your art but there is a much greater chance of being seen. And since there are no agents or publishers taking large commissions, you can lower the asking price and increase the chance of finding buyers.