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The NFT market is growing at an exponential rate. But what exactly is an NFT, and is it something you should be considering? NFT stands for “Non Fungible Token - let’s be thankful for acronyms!
This blog is a summary of the main points, with links to more in-depth for those wishing to take a deep dive into the subject.
Here’s a great overview from the really useful “Simply Explained” channel.
Basically, an NFT is proof of ownership of a digital file - like a certificate of authenticity. You don’t need to understand the underlying technology. It’s robust and used for cryptocurrency to the tune of trillions.
Collectors, from art to toys, cars, and comics fuel a market worth billions as they seek to own rare or original items. An NFT is, basically, for collectors and investors for collectibles of digital assets. It simply provides proof of ownership of an “original” asset, as declared by the creator.
Whilst the first ever recording of an artist, or the first print of a comic or movie poster, is valuable to certain people even if others have many such recordings or prints, so is, it seems the “first” or “original” digital media copy. It’s like a “signed” memorabilia for collectors, adn the creator digitally confirms it’s authenticity and provenance by way of an ‘NFT’.
This will be a barrier for many, as it does cost money to create, list, and sell (commission) an NFT. The costs are often greater than the value of the digital asset for most people without a defined market presence and customer base.
Creative Bloq have an in-depth article that details the lengthy process. However, the steps are simple and, as ever, the more you do it the easier it will become.
Jack Dorsey sold his first ever tweet for $2.9M.
Beeple - real name Mike Winkelmann - creates a new piece of digital art every day, and was selling the first 5,000 days (13 years) of his work.
The OpenSea market place sells 2 to 3 Billion a month across it’s categories, and there are other successful marketplaces.
It’s an emerging market and, like Cryptocurrency, not without its controversies and confusion for many.
In both these examples, the item being sold was perceived by the investor/collector as having that value now, and into the future. As always, the value of a collectible is driven by the people willing to pay to have that asset, digital or otherwise.
However, these headline-grabbing figures also reveal the pitfalls of such a market: what’s fashionable today may not be tomorrow: When the buyer tried to sell the Dorsey Tweet: “...the highest bid was valued at $6,222.36…” from this BBC article.
The video content seems to be art-based and loops or music videos. There are some people posting whole videos, but little evidence of quality content or traction.
Very few collectors would be interested in “owning” an original video from an unknown director, but if said director was to become famous, then for sure people would be interested in pretty much any original works.
There is a cost to minting an NFT, so a photographer must be certain of the market for their output.
I found two articles where photographers appear to have had success with NFT photography.
Jonny Melon has a great article here, and offers advice via his inbox if you are interested in looking further into the NFT photography market.
Aaron Reed also gives a wonderfully written piece about his experiences here.
It takes time and effort to build a brand. There seems to be a market for NFT photography, but as with any business you have to build brand recognition and have products people want to buy.
This article was written in 2021 and suggested artists were turning away from NFT’s.
The same website in 2022 gives a more positive outlook of the market, and specifically mentions it becoming ubiquitous in nature as digital tagging, even for real-world goods.
The Cryptocurrency market is a new frontier, as are NFT’s. Their use and application are uncertain, but promising.
There will always be a “fad” element to something like this, both as an industry, and as to which “collectibles” become good investments over time.
I could imagine iconic journalism or Street photographs fetching a premium price.
Given that we have examples of photographers using and benefitting from NFT’s, and more and more companies coming on board and creating more real-world uses, it would seem sensible to keep an eye on the concept and markets.
If you are running or starting a business and are willing to explore NFT’s as a new way of marketing your output in emerging and exciting markets, adding value to your output for the consumers, and, generally, willing to put in the effort to be ahead of the curve, then NFT’s are certainly a promising prospect.
We’d like to hear more from anyone already using NFT’s and your experiences.