Art Basel Sees New Interest in NFT Artwork – The National Law Review

December 14, 2021 by No Comments

Monday, December 13, 2021

Art Basel is a premiere event in Miami Beach, showcasing the best in modern art, which has typically existed in the physical realm. After a break in 2020 due to COVID, Art Basel returned this year with a strong crypto flavor as the culture surrounding Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) made its mark. Thousands of people attended various crypto conferences and NFT networking events throughout Art Basel week. One of the most popular exhibits in the Miami Beach Convention Center allowed visitors, including myself, to create an NFT on the Tezos blockchain by submitting their video image to an artificial intelligence algorithm for interpretation.

Despite all the media attention, it is easy to say that NFTs selling for millions of dollars are a passing fad since they are just that pixelated punk and animal cartoons. In fact, art NFTs typically do not store images on a blockchain but instead display them through a website link. These NFTs are only unique because their special file (or hash) data, ownership history from creation, and sales data are all stored on a blockchain. So how can a unique file identifier, transaction data, and a web link to a pixel character be so valuable and how did the culture surrounding these tokens come to dominate Art Basel?

I would say that the answer is not in the digital images that NFTs display and can be easily copied. The answer is also not in the utility of provable authenticity and ownership history that NFTs offer to the art world. Instead, the real value of NFTs and the reason they have exploded onto the cultural scene is in the social networks they create. We already know that the social media networks of Internet 2.0 like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are immensely valuable. But these networks are walled and centralized gardens where you (and your personal data) are the product. Today, art NFTs are driving the decentralized blockchain social media groups of Web 3.0 where the users are the owners. The best ones could continue to be immensely valuable as their influence grows.

For example, NFT collections often have associated Internet groups or “channels” on Discord or Telegram. By linking a wallet to a channel and proving ownership of an NFT from its associated collection, a holder can access exclusive groups that offer the same features you might use in a Facebook group. For NFT collections whose holders include early crypto investors, access to these groups can be a very valuable networking tool. NFTs can also be used to access exclusive social gatherings in real life. For example, at Art Basel week, various …….



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