Post Magazine

September/October 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 39

FEATURE A year or so ago, few had ever heard of the term "NFT," or non-fungible token. So, what is it, and better yet, what impact, if any, does it have on today's digital artists? An NFT is often described as a one-of-a-kind digital asset that can be exchanged on a block- chain. It can assume many forms: a graphical ele- ment (filmed, photographed or crafted), a musical element, a URL, a Tweet and far more. I knew very little about NFTs outside of the headlines that peppered the news outlets of late. "Everydays: The First 5000 Days," digital artwork from Mike "Beeple" Winkelmann, sold for $69.3 million at Christie's. It was not his only NFT sold to date, either. "Crossroad" sold for $6.66 mil- lion initially, and "The Complete MF Collection" brought in $777,777. An NFT version of the first Tweet on Twitter, by Twitter co-founder/CEO Jack Dorsey, sold for $2.9 million. Randomly generated CryptoPunks characters have sold for $7.5 million, $1.54 million and $1.3 million. Those are just some of the top earners — for now. However, the dollar amounts may be a bit de- ceptive, as those sums will not show up in a Wells Fargo or Chase bank account. Rather, the bidding amounts are in ether, and the cryptocurrency actu- ally credited to a digital wallet. Welcome to today's world of hard-core NFT collectors who own prominent crypto tokens — the modern-day rare books and masterpiece paintings of yesteryear. Providing information on this growing trend and what it might mean for digital artists is Christopher Nichols, director of Chaos Labs, whose CG Garage podcast series recently focused on the subject. In this exclusive Q&A, Nichols discusses NFTs, their history and why digital artists need to educate themselves about the crypto world in order to make an informed decision as to whether entering this market is right for them. What exactly are NFTs? "NFT means non-fungible token, which can be bro- ken down into three words. Let's start with "token" and move backwards. A 'token' represents some- thing of value. For example, a subway token repre- sent one ride on the subway. A dollar bill is a token that represents $1 of value. In the crypto world, a token is created by a piece of the blockchain (a dig- ital database of records, or blocks, linked together using cryptography). So, the block is the token. You can own that piece of the blockchain by having it in ONE OF A KIND Digital artists in the age of crypto art BY KAREN MOLTENBREY CG portrait ©Ian Spriggs. Chaos Labs' Christopher Nichols

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - September/October 2021