Why Non-Fungible Tokens Are Gaining Traction In The S’pore Art Scene

A Singaporean investor recently made waves in the art world by spending a record US $ 69 million (S $ 93 million) in cryptocurrency on a digital work of art.

The sale of artist Mike Winkelmann’s work, titled “Everyday: The First 5,000 Days” caused a stir in the art market, where digital art was still seen as a niche.

Winkelmann has become one of the top three most valuable living artists, according to auction company Christie’s, as his sale became the highest for any online offering to date.

The purchaser of the digital collage, Vignesh Sundaresan, is one of the oldest investors in non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs operate as a new type of digital asset and have rapidly grown in popularity in recent years.

What is a non-fungible token?

NFT non-fungible tokens
Image Credit: The Guardian

NFTs are unique crypto tokens that exist on the Ethereum blockchain and cannot be replicated.

Each NFT has a unique identification code and metadata that distinguishes them from each other, which is different from other forms of currencies. For example, a Bitcoin always has the same value as another Bitcoin. Likewise, a single unit of Ether is always equal to another unit.

However, since each NFT is unique, they cannot be traded or traded for equivalency. Therefore, digital tokens can be thought of as certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets.

As with cryptocurrency, a record of who owns what is stored in a shared ledger known as a blockchain. Records cannot be tampered with because the general ledger is managed by thousands of computers around the world.

Anyone can “symbolize” their work to sell it as an NFT, and interest in doing so has been fueled by recent million dollar sales that hit the headlines. For example, an animated GIF of Nyan Cat – a 2011 meme of a pop-pie flying cat – sold for over US $ 500,000.

Music can also be sold in the form of NFT. American rock band Kings of Leon have achieved more than $ 2.6 million in album sales so far, and The Weeknd’s new song will also be released on NFT.

It’s not just art that can be sold. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey put his very first tweet up for sale, with auctions reaching US $ 2.5 million (S $ 3.9 million).

Put a value on art

Shavonne Wong NFT
Lunah Moon, a work by Shavonne Wong, sold for 2.50 ETH or S $ 4,554.28 / Screenshot of the Shavonne Foundation page

The copying and redistribution of works of art, especially digital art, has long been a problem faced by many artists and creatives.

NFTs allow buyers of a certain work of art to prove that they own the original copy, which gives them more incentive to buy the work. When it comes to artists, the value of NFTs lies in the ability to monetize works of art despite endless copies.

“From an artist’s perspective, this (NFT trend) is revolutionary because we can create our work and publish it directly to the public while giving buyers the assurance that it will not be reproduced and that the authenticity of their purchase will always be verifiable, ”said Shavonne, who is a famous photographer and recipient of the Forbes 30 under 30 award.

Additionally, NFTs provide an opportunity for creatives to earn money through personal work, which is not common for creatives who are not active in the physical art world.

As the world becomes more digital, why not our art?

There are a lot of concerns right now that the NFT space will fall victim to the hype and while the ecosystem can go through ebb and flow, ultimately it gives artists a new platform on which to go. express themselves and it is a bet on the continuous digitization of the world.

– Shavonne Wong, photographer and artist

Shavonne told Vulcan Post that she has been creating virtual 3D human models for a year. When first told about NFTs, she felt it was “a perfect match” for her work with virtual models.

With 3D virtual models, she is able to create a wide range of personal works that would not be possible with a human model, both creatively and practically.

For example, she can add creative features to her models, like making fish swim over their faces. Additionally, the human models she photographs are typically from modeling agencies, and her personal work with models cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Having virtual models solved both issues and, when paired with NFTs, gave her a valuable opportunity to sell her digital work.

Shavonne Wong
Image Credit: Shavonne Wong

While new to the NFT space, Shavonne said the crypto art space is rich in useful information, resources, and a community very willing to help.

“As long as you’re up for challenges and engaging the community on Twitter and Discord, you’ll be fine,” she said.

Additionally, crypto has gone through a process of validation and legitimation, with a wave of large companies and well-known individuals getting involved in the space. Specifically, Tesla has started accepting bitcoin as payment for its vehicles, while venture capitalist Mark Cuban has approved the NFT space.

Shavonne is now selling some of her work as NFT on Foundation, an invitation-only NFT platform. So far, she has sold four of her six designs, with prices going up to 2.50 ETH or S $ 4,554.28.

Besides Foundation, other platforms for creatives to host their work include Rarible and Opensea.

Basically, all markets serve the same purpose, allowing creators to sell their art to collectors who then buy it for perceived value. However, the latter two allow anyone to create and sell on their platforms, while Foundation is invitation-only.

The future of NFTs in Singapore

Observers have warned of the dangers of investing in NFTs, and many have also dubbed it a bubble waiting to burst.

This is because NFTs are traded with cryptocurrencies, which are very volatile and prone to speculation that could cause prices to rise or fall sharply.

Of course, there are also supporters of the NFT. The crypto space in Singapore is only taking off, and as Singaporeans become more tech savvy, NFTs could be something they would like to have a go at investing.

The local arts community will also benefit tremendously from NFTs, with ease of access and reduced barriers to entry to sell their work.

For a long time, many digital artists have been unable to sell their work and have to resort to giving it away for free in order to gain exposure and build a reputation.

NFTs change this notion. Artists, especially those from Singapore, are finally able to showcase their hard work, paving the way for greater developments in the art scene here.

“As we all know, Singapore’s arts community isn’t exactly the easiest to create and develop, but there’s nothing stopping someone from diving into the NFT space and gaining access to a global audience. Shavonne said.

Featured Image Credit: Daily: First 5,000 Days via Verge / Nyan Cat GIF via Hypebeast

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Jothi Venkat

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