A Detailed Explainer on NFTs And The Crypto-Art Revolution

In this one-hour-long documentary from Adorama, Sal D’Alia covers the crypto movement with a series of interviews and information breakdowns to help educate viewers on the growing world of crypto-art.

The Cryptocurrency and Digital art worlds are expanding faster every day, and NFTs play a large role in this growth. The video above specifically discusses how the new technology will affect the community, the environment, and the financial world of today’s digital artists.

For more information on NFTs and crypto art, make sure to check out PetaPixel’s three-part series on the subject:

Part 1: What is an NFT and Why Should Photographers Care?
Part 2: How to Mint an NFT: The Photographer’s Guide
Part 3: The Hidden Costs of NFTs: Ecological Impact and Unpredictable Volatility

“Non-Fungible Tokens” (NFT) and “Cryptocurrency” are terms that have been popping up in much greater frequency over the last few months, and most who hear those terms do not really understand the impact and true meaning of them, especially with how they relate to creatives and their careers. Digital assets and currency use have been on an incredible rise in the last few years, with vast amounts of money being spent on jpegs, pngs, and even gif files. This new trend is opening the doors for artists to take control over their art and the direction of their creative careers. Leveraging Blockchains through digital currencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin, NFTs have given creators the power to focus on their art and reach consumers and collectors who value the work that they do.

Imagine being able to sell a JPEG through a service like Instagram and have it make millions of dollars. Some of the artists who hopped on the NFT ride have achieved record-breaking deals like this and more.

Why is this a big deal? Non-fungible tokens are allowing artists of every style to sell their imagery online where they can maintain the intellectual property and a percentage of the secondary sales. Something that was effectively impossible to control, or even monitor until the creation of blockchain technology.

“Blockchain are public ledgers that are proof of ownership that are on multiple different servers around the world,” photographer Lindsay Adler briefly explains in the video above. “What this does is it helps ensure that these records can’t be tampered with because there are so many complex networks of redundancy. No one can steal the ownership of the art no one can create a counterfeit.”

The NFTs have become integral to the artist community giving creators the ability to protect their work, and providing a new value to digital art. Since the blockchain shows the true owner of the crypto art, everyone can see that ownership and knows who the creator is, and who owns the digital version, unlike what happens with most artwork online today. The added advantage is the person who created the image still retains the intellectual rights to the image.

The artists interviewed in the documentary go deeper and say that NFTs are a way for creators to go directly to their fans with limited edition works. It allows these super fans or collectors to participate and engage with these creators by opting in. Artists on the platform can create that and tell their story without having anyone else holding them accountable. Some artists have said entering the world of NFT has changed their lives drastically, saying pre-NFT, they were struggling to just make their rent payments. Now they are making enough money they can just focus on their art, instead of “surviving.” This new platform has effectively reinvigorated their creativity, allowing creators to take a much-needed break from social media platforms to create better art.

The documentary even tackles the topic of the environmental impact of the new crypto-world since creating and maintaining these services require massive amounts of computers and power all over the world. The good news for creatives is according to the reports cited in the video, crypto-art accounts for only 0.02% of the use of Ethereum. Meaning, if you take NFTs away from the equation, Ethereum will still be going full-steam and running nearly the same number of transactions as without it.

Obviously, there is a steep learning curve involved in getting started, but the good news is there is a thriving community set on helping creatives grow and thrive in this digital world. The next step, which the interviewees all agree on, is improving the system to filter out the “noise” so that new users don’t just reject it out of frustration.

As D’Alia says in the video, “Dreams are made of pixels” and in an era where most learning and sharing is done in front of an LED screen, it is time to grow with it instead of just ignoring it.