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Crypto-Art will be the New Digital Art Standard in the Future

December 6, 2019
Ross Peili


Crypto-Art will be the New Digital Art Standard in the Future

Crypto-art might not sound as familiar as Cryptocurrencies which are undeniably the most popular by-products of the booming distributed ledger technology, and while there is an international-scale war over which platform will act as the ‘digital FED’, essentially providing netizens with near-instant monetary exchange settlements, blockchain technology gains traction as the network of choice for many other web applications as well.

From supply-chain tracking to encrypted documents distribution and smart-contracts, blockchain technology has been powering corporate-houses of the likes of IBM, JP Morgan, and Volkswagen for the past years, and the use-cases utilizing some sort of a DLT, whether for financial-related purposes or not are growing with an exponential rate.

One of the areas with the most heat right now would be that of digital art, or basically, audiovisual material, usually with aesthetic-purposes and stored on a blockchain, that can be mined, stored and redistributed among internet users.

Sure, digital artists, whether musicians or graphic designers where always a thing of the internet, but what blockchain offers to the table is scarcity, history, and value otherwise impossible to determine when browsing gifs on 4chan.

Core differences between crypto-art and traditional digital art

Practically, it is one thing to own a digital image someone created with his cracked-version of photoshop that was later uploaded on a digital art broker website only to sell an infinite amount of the same image to art consumers who won’t care how many people have already purchased the same piece, and it is a totally new scenario when digital art can be registered on an immutable distributed ledger, timestamped, and attributed to a single crypto-wallet.

In a nutshell, owning a getty image is equal to owning a fake Mona Liza that has an infinite amount of supply, while owning a blockchain-based collectible is equal to owning the original Mona Liza, which is registered to a specific user and can be traded only if agreed between the owner and the potential buyer(s).

Due to the DLT architecture, examining the authenticity and integrity of a digital art piece should be a piece of cake, and it wouldn’t require shipping, chemical analysis, and all that physical stuff a supposed Mona Liza would require, not to mention that in some cases, a piece can be extremely unique from an aesthetic point of view, making it even more valuable for some collectors.

Practical examples

Besides the popular crypto-games such as CryptoKitties, Gods Unchained etc, there are unaccountable digital lobbies and even entire virtual worlds set on blockchain environments where netizens can practically purchase or acquire by means of trade anything from land parcels and buildings, all the way to crypto-collectibles such as MarbleCards, and virtual clothing and accessories designed by digital artists all over the globe.

Ethereum’s ERC-721 protocol makes the issuing, possession, and trade of such unique digital assets possible, and there are many enterprises that focus solely on the creation, custody, and distribution of crypto-collectibles attracting digital collectors and virtual gamers who are looking for that unique AI-generated painting or a brand new shirt in CryptoVoxels (an Ethereum based virtual world).

If I am not mistaken, I think that Decentraland (MANA), was among the first commercial-scale crypto-projects that offered virtual land pieces where netizens could buy and build their own environments, while the concept of virtual worlds has drastically grown over the last couple of years. 

As a matter of fact, in virtual worlds such as CryptoVoxels, you can find various city-districts that are created, maintained and decorated by popular digital artists who contribute to the aesthetic part of the city, with their unique creations. 

From virtual art galleries that attract and can host simultaneously thousands of players and possible art collectors, to virtual clothing shops that offer unique clothing and gear to make your crypto-avatar stand out, CryptoVoxels is a second-life-like environment where netizens spend their time and ETH on a regular basis. 

Future of digital art

Being a passionate gamer myself, I’ve seen stuff like a huge painting of Holy Mary holding an Ethereum logo in place of baby Jesus, or an inspiring AI-generated image that is unique and ‘weird’ in its own way, being sold for anything between 0.5 ETH to 6 ETH per unique piece. 

Ready Player One, VRChat, and all that stuff we have already experienced during the past decade will unavoidably inspire younger generations to a crypto-art oriented VR era, where Coca-Cola commercials will be floating in 3d gifs over the city, your favorite Neon Luis Vuitton bag will be available for a couple of ETH, and virtual night clubs will offer unique internet-inspired electronic music impossible to hear anywhere else but the virtual world itself.

Crypto-art brokers such as OpenSea, offer a glimpse into what’s going on at the moment in the digital art scene, and just scrolling down at its landing page, you can see that there is literally an infinite amount of digital art pieces coming from various mortal or AI artists, in limited edition, or unique single pieces, such as SuperRare‘s products. 

Wanna see a duct-tape banana being sold for $120,000?

Concluding, regardless of the price per piece, I highly believe that digital blockchain-based crypto-art will be the norm in the near future, as users could prove the authenticity and uniqueness of a product, as well as transparently disclose the history of the exchange price per art piece, making Chinese-like “art-galleries” who managed to sell thousands of $50 worth of paintings for millions of dollars to unaware consumers only during the last decade, a thing of the past.