It is undeniable that NFTs made a big impact on the art world in 2021 and is continuing to do so in 2022.
Mainstream artists are increasingly adopting this medium, boasting record-breaking sales and announcements of new and exciting digital projects. An artwork called The Merge, created by the renowned artist who goes by the pseudonym Pak, was sold on NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway in 2021 for a record sum of USD 91.8 million — the most expensive NFT ever sold as an artwork.
The same year, artist Beeple sold a piece Everydays – The First 5000 Days for a whopping USD 69.3 million, while REPLICATOR created by Canadian artist Mad Dog Jones, a piece that replicates itself and produces a new NFT every 28 days, was sold for USD 4.1 million. Crypto art and NFTs have become invaluable assets.
It is undeniable that NFTs made a big impact on the art world in 2021 and is continuing to do so in 2022. But while they seem to be everywhere right now, museums and cultural institutions have been slower to pick up on the trend. And understandably so. There are a number of reasons for this – including questions of copyright, conservation, and authorship. In the meantime, much has been written about museums and NFTs – from how they might find common ground to whether museums should get into NFTs in the first place.
Of course, that is not to say that museums have not been involved with NFTs and crypto art at all. Even a traditional institution like the British Museum in London has partnered with the start-up LaCollection.io in 2020 to sell NFTs of Katsushika Hokusai’s works and it is still selling this type of innovative art. And other museums and institutions around the world have hosted panel discussions and talks to address essential questions around NFTs.
With the rise in the number of people using digital currencies as a means of investment or a fundraising method to support themselves or generate donations, the popularity of cryptocurrency and NFTs is not going to subside anytime soon.
2021 has undoubtedly entered art history as the year of NFT art, and propelled the latter into 2022 with full force. Some experts anticipated a cyclic crash of the NFT market for 2022, and Bill Gates has just made some damaging statements last month, claiming that ‘NFTs are a sham’. See: https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/15/tech/bill-gates-crypto-nfts-comments/index.html
Yet many interpret last year’s NFT storm as just the beginning and think that the trend will flourish beyond 2022. This forecast might be the reason why major auction houses have been embracing this highly speculative market. An era of less speculation and more stability may be in the horizon, empowered by an emerging trend of deeper crossovers between the tech-savvy NFT community and the traditional art market.
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