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‘I went from having to borrow money to making $4m in a day’: how NFTs are shaking up the art world – The Guardian

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Digital art is a billion-dollar business, with everyone from Paris Hilton to Damien Hirst trading in ‘non-fungible tokens’. But are NFTs just a get-rich-quick scheme masquerading as culture?
“It’s actually a lot simpler than you think.” It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and somewhat to my surprise, I’m on the phone to Paris Hilton, who is graciously explaining the world of NFTs.
Hilton is many things – a reality star, an heiress, an unlikely lockdown fitness guru who uses designer handbags instead of weights. But until now, she has never been considered a significant player in the art world. When artists have acknowledged her, often they’ve done so to fetishise her image. In 2008, Damien Hirst bought a portrait of her by the artist Jonathan Yeo, in which her body is constructed from collaged images cut from porn magazines.

Yet in the past year she’s become a surreal figurehead in the NFT scene: a world flush with crypto dollars and high on a promise to transform the worlds of art and commerce. When we speak, Hilton has just returned from a bitcoin conference in Miami, where customers paid up to $25,000 for VIP tables at the opening party to watch her DJ in a pair of diamanté-encrusted headphones. “NFT stands for non-fungible token, a digital token that is redeemable for a digital piece of art,” she explains. “You can have it on your computer server or your phone. I have these screens in my house where I display them.”
Sure enough, at Hilton’s Beverly Hills mansion there are screens displaying NFTs she made in collaboration with the digital artist Blake Kathryn. These include a video of a chihuahua on top of a rotating ionic column (a tribute to her deceased pet Tinkerbell) and an animated self-portrait of Hilton as a sparkling CGI Barbie floating in the clouds, a piece she’s called Iconic Crypto Queen, and which she sold in April for more than $1m.
Hilton first started investing in cryptocurrency in 2016. “I became friends with the founders of Ethereum,” she says. (Ethereum produces ether, the currency in which the majority of NFTs are traded.) Since then she’s thrown herself into collecting crypto art, and owns more than 150 NFTs.
To advocates of the NFT, the technology offers a revolutionary new way of selling art, and of circumventing snooty cultural gatekeepers whose resistance to a crypto future seems as square as the 19th-century Parisian art world’s disdain for impressionism. In this context, the relevance of Hilton’s brand to the NFT movement makes sense. Pink, jewel-encrusted, and openly motivated by being as rich and famous as humanly possible, she’s a far cry from the type of person whose work is typically exhibited in blue-chip galleries or hung in booths at art fairs.
Yet Hilton’s endorsement may also be ammunition for those who view the NFT as just another depressing example of the speculative logic of finance monopolising taste. To detractors, from critic Waldemar Januszczak to artist David Hockney, the NFT marketplace is a home for morally bankrupt, environmentally vandalistic money-grabbers whose creations barely qualify as art.
While most of us are still trying to remember what “fungible” means, a battle is under way to define how NFTs are understood. Are they a vital cultural product that tells us something profound about digital consumerism? Or are they just the latest cynical way to make absurd amounts of money?
A motley crew of celebrities have tried their hand at selling digital art, including Snoop Dogg, Lindsay Lohan and John Cleese. In July, it was estimated that sales of NFTs in the first half of 2021 rose by more than $2bn (£1.47bn) – a trend that prompted Christie’s and Sotheby’s to host their own NFT auctions and that is credited with driving contemporary art sales to an all-time high. But only a tiny proportion of the proceeds of art NFTs have ended up in the bank accounts of the galleries that have, in addition to auction houses, traditionally taken the lion’s share of art-market profits.
In March, the crypto firm Injective Protocol paid $95,000 for Morons, a physical artwork by Banksy depicting an auctioneer selling a framed picture bearing the words: “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit.” They then burned the picture before selling a digital token of the work for $380,000. The event was a marketing ploy, designed to stoke outrage, drum up publicity and turn a profit. Yet the symbolism was potent: digital art is here to replace its physical forebear, and its coming supremacy should be reflected by a higher price tag.
In essence, an NFT is a digital certificate of ownership, almost always bought and sold using cryptocurrency, to which any digital file – a jpeg image file, a video, a song – can be attached. That Hilton is able to display Iconic Crypto Queen in her home, despite having sold it, is part of the NFT’s appeal – and the challenge it poses to the established business model for trading and accessing art. With a simple Google search, anybody can find and download the file associated with an NFT for nothing, and store it on their phone or computer, but only the owner has the right to sell it. Each NFT is unique, and all transactions are logged on the blockchain, a type of database invented in 2008 for the purpose of recording the movement of cryptocurrency.
Unlike the commercial gallery business model, NFTs are designed to cut out the need for art dealers, enabling artists to trade directly online, typically via specialist auction sites. Crucially, in contrast to the contemporary art world, there is no “vetting” of collectors – a practice intended to stop the most speculative buyers flipping artworks by quickly reselling them at a profit. Anybody can buy an NFT, and prices, so often a thing of mystery in high-end commercial galleries, are listed as a matter of public record. Every time an NFT is resold, its creator also makes a profit – an inbuilt royalty system missing from the physical art world, where artists often feel as if they have been shafted when their work is resold on the secondary market.
A model for trading and sharing art, built on the principles of financial transparency, royalties and easy access for all may sound egalitarian. The reality has been rather different. As soon as it became apparent that almost anything digital could be labelled as art and sold, the circus rolled into town.
In March, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, a collage of previous artworks by a 40-year-old American named Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, sold for $69.3m at Christie’s New York. After that, Kate Moss sold a gif of herself for more than $17,000. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, sold an image of the first ever tweet for $2.9m. A Brooklyn film director managed to sell an audio file of his own farts for $85. Dominic Cummings even threatened to use the technology against Boris Johnson, by releasing what he said was evidence of government malpractice in the form of an NFT.
Along the way, the market became gratuitously inflated. Bidders at the top end included Vignesh Sundaresan, a blockchain entrepreneur who bought Beeple’s $69m NFT. A considerable number of small-time enthusiasts were also buying at the affordable end of the market, keen to celebrate the technology by investing in blockchain art. It didn’t take long before the bubble burst. By May, daily sales of NFTs had dropped by 60%. Crypto art’s reputation has also taken a knock because of its awful environmental track record. (The annual energy consumption of Ethereum is estimated to equal that of Iceland.)
Despite this, advocates still believe NFTs can mount a challenge to the monopoly on trading art held by commercial galleries, and even create a future where physical artworks are replaced by their digital counterparts. As Hilton puts it: “There are paintings out there that are $100m or more, but if you think about it, it’s really just canvas with paint.”
In the beginning, before the circus pitched up, there were nerds. Inevitably, because this is the internet, there were also cats. CryptoKitties, to be precise, is an online game launched in 2017, enabling players to trade and “breed” unique cartoon felines, sold as NFTs, using blockchain technology. Although the first NFT was created by a man named Kevin McCoy in 2014, CryptoKitties attracted attention and money, with some cats trading for hundreds of thousands of dollars. During 2020, as cryptocurrencies boomed and the pandemic accelerated our transformation into a species of screen-obsessed zombies, interest in NFTs rapidly picked up pace. As a consequence, the value of work by a relatively small number of artists already on the scene rocketed.
Among them was Trevor Jones, a 51-year-old painter who lives in Edinburgh. You’ve probably never heard of Jones, but he’s the most successful NFT artist working in the UK. He started making NFTs in 2019. “Five years ago, I was struggling to pay the mortgage,” he tells me. “I went from having to borrow money from friends to pay the bills to making $4m in a day.”
Jones has made a name for himself combining painting with digital technology, often producing pastiches of famous artworks with a crypto twist. In 2020, Bitcoin Bull – an animated painting of a Picasso-inspired bull, decorated with bitcoin logos and Twitter birds – was bought by a prominent crypto collector named Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile for $55,555.55.
Jones is warm, unguarded, and stunned by his rapid ascent. “I grew up in a little logging community,” he says of his childhood in western Canada, a place he describes as “rough”. “When I was 25, a friend of mine ended up getting into a fight at a bar and was killed.” He left soon after, eventually settling in Edinburgh, where he worked at the city’s Hard Rock Cafe as a waiter and later as a manager.
Jones tells me about the mental health crisis he suffered in his early 30s. “My girlfriend and I broke up and it kind of all came crashing down. At that point, it sounds cliched, but I decided I needed to find something to save me.”
He set his heart on becoming an artist and “begged” his way on to an art foundation course at Leith School of Art, which he followed with a degree at the University of Edinburgh.
Things began to look up for Jones in 2012, when he had the idea of incorporating QR codes into his art, painting the scannable barcodes in Mondrian-like colours on canvas. Scanning the paintings takes viewers through to an online gallery, where anybody can upload their work. “People were laughing at me at the time,” he says. While gallery audiences turned their noses up, he gained a new following online, one that would turn out to have deep pockets.
In 2019, Jones began working with animators to turn his paintings into short videos that he sold as NFTs. Among his most successful works is Bitcoin Angel, an NFT based on Bernini’s baroque masterpiece The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, which he sold in 2020 for the equivalent of more than $3m (all of Jones’s NFTs are bought using cryptocurrency). In Bernini’s marble sculpture, a nun has been stabbed in the heart by an angel with a spear. She leans backwards, overcome by the sublime ecstasy of being penetrated by a heavenly body. When the arrow pierces the heart of Jones’s nun, she bleeds bitcoin.
To sell Bitcoin Angel, Jones used a website called Nifty Gateway, one of a number of online auction sites designed for trading NFTs that are now flooded with aspiring crypto artists. I dedicated an afternoon to scrolling through the lots, each one flashing and jiggling in the hope of attracting the attention of collectors. I saw gifs of muffins transforming into dogs, spinning trainers, sycophantic portraits of Elon Musk and an abundance of naked, big-boobed cyborgs. The art critic Dean Kissick described the male-dominated NFT scene as “Etsy for guys”, and on this evidence it’s easy to see why. Aside from the headline-grabbing sales, Nifty Gateway provides a platform for aspirational entrepreneurs and hobbyists, who practise their craft on computers rather than knotting macrame plant hangers.
While those – like Jones – who successfully rode the NFT wave were busy counting their crypto dollars, over the past year the conventional art world has suffered a decline. During the pandemic, with audiences unable to physically attend exhibitions and fairs, art dealers have struggled to make online viewing rooms interesting or lucrative. As a consequence, global sales of art fell by 22%. To rub salt in that wound, millions of crypto dollars were exchanging hands for a natively digital art form. “The technology is designed against the existing art world,” says Noah Davis, a specialist at Christie’s New York. “It’s an art form that doesn’t need a gallery.”
It was Davis who helped to sell Beeple’s $69m NFT, the first piece of crypto art ever listed by a major auction house. He views his own impact as pivotal: “I introduced NFTs to the Christie’s audience and thereby the world,” he says. The artwork was sold during an online auction in March that took two weeks to close. Bidding opened at $100, and within an hour that figure had risen to $1m – the result of a vast number of bids all happening digitally. “I’ve never seen anything so spectacular. You can’t bid that quickly at auction unless you just shout out: ‘A million bucks,’” Davis says, “and that’s impossible to do online. So all that bidding had to happen in increments and manually.
“I look at my life as pre-Beeple and post-Beeple,” he adds. “The same way the world thinks about before Jesus Christ and after. Beeple is kind of my Jesus.”
In the months since, Christie’s has continued to cash in on NFTs. In May, it achieved $16.9m for nine pixellated cartoon characters from the CryptoPunks series, early examples of NFT art that have become sought-after collectibles. Christie’s has also attempted to unite the crypto and modern art markets. This spring, it hosted a sale of digital artworks made by Andy Warhol in the 1980s. The images, which had been recovered from floppy disks and transformed into NFTs, include drawings, made on the artist’s Commodore Amiga computer, of bananas, flowers, and of a Campbell’s soup can that alone sold for more than $1m.
In general, the commercial gallery world has been understandably cagey about adopting technology designed to circumvent it. Behind the scenes, however, a number of galleries have attempted to woo Jones. He has declined their advances. “What can a commercial gallery do for me?” he asks. “Having a gallery exhibition before, I worked a year creating paintings, I paid for all the framing, the overheads for the studio. I had the paintings delivered to the commercial gallery. I may or may not sell, the gallery takes 45 to 55% commission, and they might pay out a month, six weeks, two months later.” And now? “I sell something and three minutes later I’ve got the money in my digital wallet.”
At times, the divide between the two art worlds seems more profound than a difference in business model: it’s an all-out culture clash. “Few of these cyber-millionaires could tell the back of a Rembrandt from the front,” wrote art critic Waldemar Januszczak. “There is no challenge whatsoever in NFT art,” conceptual art collector Pedro Barbosa told the New York Times, arguing that the ideas behind NFTs are often derivative, having “already been explored by artists like Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, and Marcel Duchamp”. David Hockney branded NFTs “silly little things” for “crooks and swindlers” – a curious accusation from an artist happy to embrace and monetise novel digital technology. Since 2009, Hockney has been doing a roaring trade in souped-up iPhone and iPad drawings.
Jones tells me that the crypto faithful, who, like Hilton, ardently believe that NFTs are the future of art, now use the dusty epithet “the legacy art world” to refer to their physical rivals.
As a painter, Jones is unusual among NFT artists. On occasion, this has allowed him the opportunity to sell the original painting on which an NFT is based, as well as the NFT. Pulling off this kind of double sale, however, must be handled carefully. Charging more for a painting than an NFT, and thus valuing physical art more highly than digital art, could provoke the ire of the crypto crowd. When Jones sold Bitcoin Bull to Rodriguez-Fraile, he also sold the original painting to the second-place bidder. In order not to offend his fans, he priced the painting at $55,000 – $555.55 less than the NFT.
A handful of established contemporary artists, notably those who have form when it comes to explicitly courting headlines and extreme wealth, have tried their hand at making NFTs – most prominently Damien Hirst, who released the project The Currency in July. Hirst put 10,000 NFTs up for sale, each corresponding to a unique spot painting, for $2,000 a piece. But there is a catch: after two months, the collector must decide if they wish to keep the NFT or the physical art work. Whichever one they don’t choose will be destroyed, forcing the owner to gamble on which version will be more valuable in the future.
The most shocking aspect of the NFT to the art intelligentsia is its brazen entanglement with finance. Trading art has always been a pastime of the wealthy. Much of what counts for art history consists of flattering portrayals of the rich and powerful, and artists have long been expected to perform what Tom Wolfe called the Art Mating Ritual – attracting the interest of wealthy patrons and conservative institutions, while simultaneously presenting as Bohemians and renegades. Yet with the NFT, the distinction between art and asset seems to have disappeared. In place of the curated exhibition is the auction website; symbols of the market have seeped into the aesthetic language of the art itself. Prices, not ideas, dominate.
Despite the promise of “art for everyone”, the final destination of the NFT might not actually be art. Art may simply be a useful way to advertise the possibilities of a new technology. “I’ve done everything from fashion, fragrances to endorsements,” Paris Hilton says, adding that NFTs are another way for “fans to have a piece of me”. As well as working with the rapper Ice Cube, Jones recently made an NFT for the whisky company Macallan, to be auctioned alongside a very expensive cask of scotch. This, it seems, is a taste of where NFTs may be heading: not a radical new model for trading art, but a digital marketing bauble.
Perhaps the most significant legacy of the NFT’s assault on the art market will be the questions it forces us to ask about the nature of art, and what it is that we want from it. How should art be traded and viewed? Who gets to ascribe value to art? Is there a moral or aesthetic code by which artists are expected to work, and who has elected themselves to define it? And why would anybody part with their money in exchange for a digital fart? Then there’s the biggest question: is there a meaningful difference between an artwork and an asset? The answer, perhaps, is not always – but if we want art to be more than a tool for prettifying finance and flogging merch, then it’s an ideal worth holding on to.
Rosanna McLaughlin is editor of The White Review

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NFT

NFTs: four “secrets” to understand their real value – Domus

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If we take a look at the Bitcoin price chart, it’s quite easy to picture the ever-growing number of investors who, since the cryptocurrency’s first peak in June 2016, have found themselves spending one or more nights staring at those green and red lines, studying spikes and dips, desperately searching for a pattern that would help them predict the currency’s future value. Is it ever possible to predict the value of a cryptocurrency? How about the value of an NFT?
In March 2021, following the worldwide news that the NFT associated with the work of art by US artist Beeple Everydays: the First 5000 Days had just been sold by Christie’s for almost 40,000 Ether, corresponding to $69.3 million at the time of sale, researchers at the Alan Turing Institute decided to set up a data collection and analysis system that would tell the story of the NFT market from June 2017 to April 2021, covering a total of 6.1 million transactions. The recently published article Mapping the NFT revolution: market trends, trade networks, and visual features attempts to identify which factors determine the selling price of an NFT.
In just one year, the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) market has grown from around $340 million to $14 billion, and while some people are still questioning the point of investing in a .jpg and others are protesting against the environmental impact of proof-of-work transactions, luxury brands and auction houses, from Gucci to Sotheby’s, are rushing to launch their metaverse – a series of virtual places where it is now possible, among other things, to collect avatars and game items, wear digital designer clothes and exhibit intangible works of art, all easily purchased in the form of NFTs. In this new market, art and fashion come surprisingly second, imitating and seeking collaborations with the video game industry, while Morgan Stanley claims that in less than ten years, 10% of the luxury industry will be made up of NFTs bought, purchased and above all – get this! – rented, in the metaverse.
Homer Pepe, the currently most expensive and rarest NFT card of the first NFT collection to collect public success: Rare Pepe Wallet, created in 2016. The last auction that saw it as protagonist dates back to 2018, purchased in Ethereum for a value corresponding to approximately 320,000 dollars.
Genesis is the first NFT generated among the CryptoKitties, the collection that brought NFTs to the limelight, the kittens that congested the Ethereum network for the unexpectedly high number of sales, a few days after their release in December 2017. Genesis is born in November 2017 and is currently owned by Stimpson J. Cat who purchased it for the sum of 246926 Ether currently corresponding to approximately $ 750,000.
MoonCat #3531 belongs to a collection launched in 2017, and which was recently “adopted” by Sotheby’s: the MoonCat.
Sir Gregory is currently the most valuable NFT on Axie Infinity, the NFT-based online video game that in recent months has seen its users and consequently also the value of its tokens soar. Purchased in June 2021 for the sum of 369 Ether, currently corresponding to 800,000 Dollars. The rarity value of these characters, usable in the game, depends on their attributes and their “mystical parts”. Sir Gregory has three attributes: “Pink Turnip claws”, “Dreamy Papi eyes” and "Lam Handsome fangs” and a “Shiba tails”, apparently very popular.
Currently on sale in Sotheby’s Metaverse, Color is an NFT work composed of a generative script and therefore capable of generating almost infinite forms. Color is the perfect example of what can be found on Art Blocks, a collection of generative content hosted on the Ethereum network.
The legendary work of the artist and video game creator David OReilly, sold on the site of the Japanese auction house SBI Auction in November 2021 for the sum of approximately 12,000 dollars. Among other things, the artist declared: "POTATO literally represents my Irish roots, while as an NFT, depicts my future as a cyber-organic hybrid. POTATO embodies the collision between the past and the future.⁠ "
One of the database views of Mapping the NFT revolution: market trends, trade networks, and visual features. The densest clusters display very active moments in the history of a collection.
Homer Pepe, the currently most expensive and rarest NFT card of the first NFT collection to collect public success: Rare Pepe Wallet, created in 2016. The last auction that saw it as protagonist dates back to 2018, purchased in Ethereum for a value corresponding to approximately 320,000 dollars.
Genesis is the first NFT generated among the CryptoKitties, the collection that brought NFTs to the limelight, the kittens that congested the Ethereum network for the unexpectedly high number of sales, a few days after their release in December 2017. Genesis is born in November 2017 and is currently owned by Stimpson J. Cat who purchased it for the sum of 246926 Ether currently corresponding to approximately $ 750,000.
MoonCat #3531 belongs to a collection launched in 2017, and which was recently “adopted” by Sotheby’s: the MoonCat.
Sir Gregory is currently the most valuable NFT on Axie Infinity, the NFT-based online video game that in recent months has seen its users and consequently also the value of its tokens soar. Purchased in June 2021 for the sum of 369 Ether, currently corresponding to 800,000 Dollars. The rarity value of these characters, usable in the game, depends on their attributes and their “mystical parts”. Sir Gregory has three attributes: “Pink Turnip claws”, “Dreamy Papi eyes” and "Lam Handsome fangs” and a “Shiba tails”, apparently very popular.
Currently on sale in Sotheby’s Metaverse, Color is an NFT work composed of a generative script and therefore capable of generating almost infinite forms. Color is the perfect example of what can be found on Art Blocks, a collection of generative content hosted on the Ethereum network.
The legendary work of the artist and video game creator David OReilly, sold on the site of the Japanese auction house SBI Auction in November 2021 for the sum of approximately 12,000 dollars. Among other things, the artist declared: "POTATO literally represents my Irish roots, while as an NFT, depicts my future as a cyber-organic hybrid. POTATO embodies the collision between the past and the future.⁠ "
One of the database views of Mapping the NFT revolution: market trends, trade networks, and visual features. The densest clusters display very active moments in the history of a collection.
These staggering numbers raise further doubts and questions: Is this a bubble destined to get bigger and bigger as long as there are newcomers, and then to finally pop, or is it an investment capable of securing forms of “eternal passive income”, especially when NFTs can be rented out? From a conversation with two of the authors of Mapping the NFT revolution, some questions were finally answered.
Mauro Martino, director of the Visual Artificial Intelligence Lab at the MIT-IBM Research AI Lab in Cambridge, and Andrea Baronchelli, head of the Economic Data Science team at the Alan Turing Institute, tell us how from the very beginning – that is, since the rise of CryptoKitties (2017), one of the very first successful experiences in the world of NFTs – what we will call the first secret of the value of NFTs was already very clear: the sale value of NFTs depends on the community that supports them.
Here we are at the dawn of a new digital age. While we ask ourselves whether it makes more sense to invest in a sweatshirt made of only pixels from the “Balenciaga x Fortnite” collection, or in a piece of land next to rapper Snoop Dogg’s villa on the Sandbox metaverse, or simply in a digital potato, like the one sold by Irish artist David OReilly on the website of Japanese auction house SBI Art Auction, we should look, first of all, more than at the object for sale, at the potential fan base that supports it.
According to the researchers, this leads us to discover the “second big secret” of the sales value of NFTs: communities and capital are more likely to nest around collections or gamified experiences than episodic sales.
In Mapping the NFT revolution we discover that the greatest NFT buyers, the so-called whales, aren’t a lot – “the top 10% of traders alone make 85% of all transactions” – and tend to get attached to a single collection, making “at least 73% of their transactions in their main collection”. It is hardly surprising that companies traditionally associated with the world of sticker and card collecting, such as the NBA, MotoGP, Panini or Magic the Gathering, have jumped into the fray, quickly creating their own digital marketplaces.
As Martino and Baronchelli explain, the NFT landscape varies greatly depending on the industry it belongs to. There is the art world, where newly formed crypto marketplaces such as Foundation, Rarible and Nifty Gatheway fight against traditional auction houses. There are NFTs belonging to the “Metaverse” category, which would make no sense to exist outside of that world, as well as NFTs generated by the “Gaming” industry. Finally, there is the “Collectibles” category, the virtual counterpart of collectible cards, which could be considered as a kind of progenitor to imitate.
In Mapping the NFT revolution’s prediction system, half of which is based on data from previous sales, a big variable is the visual appearance of NFTs, analysed using AlexNet, a pre-trained convolutional neural network, which is simply an artificial intelligence that can ‘see’ images and detect recurring patterns. And what it sees is that buyers seem to like similar images. Just like the most mundane textbook instruction in social media management, the consistency of the feed rewards the artist.
The Fortnite X Balenciaga 3D digital clothing collection debuted on the multiplayer video game Fortnite. The multiplayer shooter made by Epic Games is currently the digital environment with the most users in the world.
This “Super Mega Yacht” called The Metaflower is currently the most expensive item in The Sandbox metaverse, purchased for $ 650,000. The Sandbox is currently one of the main metaverse platforms, which has seen its prices rise for collaborations with brands and celebrities such as adidas, Atari, Snoop Dogg, DeadMau5 and Bored Ape Yacht Club, another famous NFT collection.
Gucci recently inaugurated its “Gucci Garden” in the Roblox metaverse, another of the most powerful candidates in the “race to the metaverse”, which has recently opened its doors to other famous brands such as Nike and Sony.
A screencapture of the entrance to the Sotheby’s auction house virtual recreated in the metaverse of Decentraland, another top player in the metaverse and a real NFT real estate. Land plots on Decentraland are purchased with the local currency, MANA. In June 2021, Republic Realm spent an amount equivalent to $ 913,000 on 259 land plots in Decentraland, to transform them into a virtual commercial district called Metajuku, inspired by Harajuku, a famous Tokyo shopping district.
An example of an art gallery in the metaverse, in this case it is the Oasis Artwalk created by NFT Oasis on AltspaceVR.
A small part of the work Unsupervised, created by the famous Turkish-American artist Refik Anadol, exhibited in a royal gallery, the Moma, an exhibition of works created by training an artificial intelligence by feeding it the public metadata of the Moma collection. From 18 November, every three days new Unsupervised works will be revealed and put up for sale on Sotheby’s, following the gamified logic of the NFT market. The cover of this article “Machine Hallucinations – Space _ Metaverse” is part of a similar work by the same artist, created in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also for sale on Sotheby’s NFT platform.
The Fortnite X Balenciaga 3D digital clothing collection debuted on the multiplayer video game Fortnite. The multiplayer shooter made by Epic Games is currently the digital environment with the most users in the world.
This “Super Mega Yacht” called The Metaflower is currently the most expensive item in The Sandbox metaverse, purchased for $ 650,000. The Sandbox is currently one of the main metaverse platforms, which has seen its prices rise for collaborations with brands and celebrities such as adidas, Atari, Snoop Dogg, DeadMau5 and Bored Ape Yacht Club, another famous NFT collection.
Gucci recently inaugurated its “Gucci Garden” in the Roblox metaverse, another of the most powerful candidates in the “race to the metaverse”, which has recently opened its doors to other famous brands such as Nike and Sony.
A screencapture of the entrance to the Sotheby’s auction house virtual recreated in the metaverse of Decentraland, another top player in the metaverse and a real NFT real estate. Land plots on Decentraland are purchased with the local currency, MANA. In June 2021, Republic Realm spent an amount equivalent to $ 913,000 on 259 land plots in Decentraland, to transform them into a virtual commercial district called Metajuku, inspired by Harajuku, a famous Tokyo shopping district.
An example of an art gallery in the metaverse, in this case it is the Oasis Artwalk created by NFT Oasis on AltspaceVR.
A small part of the work Unsupervised, created by the famous Turkish-American artist Refik Anadol, exhibited in a royal gallery, the Moma, an exhibition of works created by training an artificial intelligence by feeding it the public metadata of the Moma collection. From 18 November, every three days new Unsupervised works will be revealed and put up for sale on Sotheby’s, following the gamified logic of the NFT market. The cover of this article “Machine Hallucinations – Space _ Metaverse” is part of a similar work by the same artist, created in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also for sale on Sotheby’s NFT platform.
Martino notices how the sentence of having to be recognisable, the nightmare of every artist and the imposition of every art gallery, is also present in the NFT industry: if Basquiat was forced to be Basquiat, today Mad Dog Jones will be permanently bound to the bright colours of post-vaporwave and to the cyberpunk illustrations that make him Mad Dog Jones, one of the most famous and prolific NFT artists on the scene. Apparently, as Martino and Baronchelli laughingly observe, even the non-fungible token, to sell better, ends up becoming fungible, i.e. potentially replaceable by a series of works that are identical to themselves.
Speaking of artists, here is the “third big secret” of the value of NFTs: the art market is an entirely secondary aspect of the NFT phenomenon. As of June 2020, “the most traded NFTs belong to the games and collectibles categories. Only 10% of transactions are related to the NFTs classified as art”.
We are dealing with a complex technology in its first years of use. We can imagine it, the researchers explain, as a Lego tower with vaults and architraves that the most diverse market forms are trying to mount on top of their castles, or their galleons, or their Lego spaceships. Infrastructures that are juxtaposed with other infrastructures, only to undergo violent processes of adaptation, including collapses, breakdowns and work fatalities.
In this scenario, the art industry is perhaps finding it most difficult to adapt. Attempts to gamify works or create communities around collections seem more forced than ever. And if we look at the success stories from the period of the so-called “NFT Craze” between February and June 2021, the greatest sales were made possible by unique factors that are difficult to repeat: “the first NFT sold by a traditional auction house”, i.e. Beeple, “the first Tweet”, i.e. Jack Dorsey, “the first NFT meme” i.e. Nyan Cat, or “the most famous meme ever” as well as the most iconic figure in the crypto world, i.e. Doge, or indeed one of the few visually and technically coherent digital art collections: Art Blocks.
Who guarantees that so many of the NFTs bought during this period of madness will be resold a second or third time, one, three, ten years from now? So far, the data do not look good: out of 6.1 million transactions, only 20% of NFTs were resold a second time, as Martino and Baronchelli note.
And so, we come to the end of this umpteenth gamification attempt, and thus to the fourth and last “secret”: it is impossible to imagine what the value of current NFTs will be one year from now, let alone in ten years from now, given the speed and the massive amount of works, tokens, platforms and metaverses that are currently on the table.
Remember the dot-com bubble at the end of the 1990s? This is a phenomenon of equal size and greater complexity, the researchers explain. We can assume that, as with dot-coms, when hundreds or thousands of economic proposals proliferate, only a few giants will survive, crushing and absorbing their competitors. In the transition between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, as Baronchelli suggests, it is possible that the current economic system, where the user participates by enjoying free content while donating his data to a centralised platform that reaps huge profits, will be replaced by a model where the concept of ownership is redistributed among users. Following an observation by Matthew Ball, an acclaimed theorist of the future metaverse: if it wasn’t the New York Times, or any other print media mogul, that developed the most used news feed in the world – *spoiler* it was Facebook –, it will probably not be Facebook Meta that will develop the most frequented metaverse, or who knows what it will be called in three years, the most frequented tokenized virtual space.
Opening image: Machine Hallucinations – Space: Metaverse NFT Collection, Refik Anadol, Sotheby’s, 2021
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Wafini NFT Marketplace Set To Launch On Cardano, Kicks Off Seed Token Sale To Early Adopters – GlobeNewswire

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| Source: Wafini Wafini
VALLETTA, MALTA
Valletta, Malta, Oct. 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Wafini, a Cardano NFT marketplace on a mission to facilitate a “DAO Powered NFT Marketplace on Cardano” has kicked off the initial seed round for early adopters.

As DeFi, GameFi and NFT projects are now leaning towards being run as a DAO, which in recent times have risen to become the perfect governance structure for Web3 projects, Wafini has announced that the $WFI token holders will have the benefits of governance DAO structures on Wafini and will be utilized in an easy to use interface.
The Wafini marketplace is set to launch within the fourth quarter of 2022.
This will come after the Wafini’s test-net that will be made available only to $WFI Token and Wafini Genesis NFT policy ID holders.
Wafini Seed Sale
Wafini team announced today that the Wafini utility tokens are now available to early adopters. 
Early adopters can join the $WFI Token Seed Sale here: https://sale.wafini.app/
To become a member of Wafini DAO, each participant has to acquire and stake $WFI Tokens and Wafini Genesis Passport NFTs
How To Join The $WFI Seed Sale 
You can join the Wafini seed sale in 3 simple steps.
1: Buy ADA from an Exchange like Binance, Kraken, Coinbase and transfer to your ADA Cardano Compatible wallet like Nami Wallet, Eternl or Flint wallet.
2: Visit the Wafini token sale page and input the amount of ADA you want to join with and continue to sign the transaction to confirm your purchase.
3: Your purchased $WFI Tokens will be sent your wallet as soon as the transaction is conformed on the blockchain.
Here’s a detailed and pictorial guide on how to join the Wafini seed sale.
Wafini Seed Sale Details 
1 ADA = 50 $WFI Tokens
1 $WFI = 0.025 ADA
Duration = 30 Days
Seed  Sale Allocation: 15,000,000 $WFI Tokens
Minimum buy: 500 ADA

For further details on the Wafini Token Sale visit the documentation page.
About Wafini
Wafini is a Web 3.0 community driven decentralized NFT Marketplace for Non-Fungible Tokens & NFT collectibles where users will be able to mint, list, sell and swap their Non fungible tokens utilizing the Cardano Blockchain.
Buy $WFI Token: https://sale.wafini.app
Litepaperhttps://docs.wafini.app/litepaper
Website :  https://wafini.app/
Pitch Deck: Seed Deck
Twitter : https://twitter.com/wafini_app
Telegram Group : https://t.me/wafini
Media Contact:

Name: Vincent Kowalski
vk (at) wafini.app
Website :  https://wafini.app/

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4 Steps to Take Before Buying Your First NFT – The Motley Fool

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by Emma Newbery | Published on March 26, 2022
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Read this before dipping your toes into the NFT waters.
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At the start of 2021, most people hadn’t heard of the word non-fungible token (NFT) and fewer still had any idea of what it meant. By the end of the year, Collins Dictionary had declared NFT its word of the year, and the market was worth an estimated $40 billion.
If you’re considering buying your first NFT, there’s a lot to think about. Here are four important steps to take first.
NFTs are essentially digital certificates of ownership, and those certificates can apply to a broad range of things. These include art, music, videos, sports collectibles, gaming items, and much more. You need to be clear on what type of NFT you’ll buy, and why you’re buying it.

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If you’re buying an NFT because everybody’s talking about them, you may need to dig a little deeper. Otherwise it’s a bit like buying a book because you want to own a book, with no care as to who wrote it or what’s inside it. Choosing an NFT should depend on your own personal interests, and there are big differences between NFT sectors.
For example, perhaps you’re a gamer and want to buy an NFT avatar. You’ll have very different needs from a big basketball fan who wants to own an NFT of a favorite sporting moment. And someone who’s an art collector considering branching into digital art will also have different requirements again.
Every investment is different, but the fundamentals of investing are often the same. You need to understand what you’re buying — whether it’s a piece of art, shares in a company, cryptocurrency, or your first NFT.

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We’ve found one company that’s positioned itself perfectly as a long-term picks-and-shovels solution for the broader crypto market — Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and all the others. In fact, you’ve probably used this company’s technology in the past few days, even if you’ve never had an account or even heard of the company before. That’s how prevalent it’s become.

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We’ve found one company that’s positioned itself perfectly as a long-term picks-and-shovels solution for the broader crypto market — Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and all the others. In fact, you’ve probably used this company’s technology in the past few days, even if you’ve never had an account or even heard of the company before. That’s how prevalent it’s become.
Sign up today for Stock Advisor and get access to our exclusive report where you can get the full scoop on this company and its upside as a long-term investment. Learn more and get started today with a special new member discount.
Here are some aspects of NFTs to get to grips with:
You’ll probably come across several NFT marketplaces during your research. These are platforms where you can create, buy, sell, and explore NFTs. First and foremost, look for a platform that trades the types of NFTs you want to buy.
Also consider what blockchain network is used — as we mentioned above, Ethereum is the most common but Solana (SOL) and Tezos (XTZ) are also getting in on the NFT game. This is important because it’s difficult to buy NFTs using traditional money such as U.S. dollars. Not only do you need to own cryptocurrency, you need to own the right cryptocurrency.
Given the prevalence of NFT fraud, look at what each platform does to ensure the NFT you buy is properly authenticated. You don’t want to buy your first NFT only to find it’s not legit and the original artist didn’t even know it had been made.
Finally, you’ll need an NFT wallet. These are crypto wallets that also support NFTs. It’s easy to set up a wallet, and there’s plenty of useful information online to help if you get stuck. When you first create your account, you’ll be given a kind of master password in the form of something called a seed phrase. Keep it somewhere safe, as this will help you access your NFTs if you ever forget your password.
You’ll need a wallet that’s compatible with the trading platform and blockchain network you chose above. Another key feature to watch out for is security — two factor authentication is a must. If you become a frequent NFT shopper, you might consider a hardware wallet that keeps your NFTs offline. But to start, a software wallet connected to the internet will do the job.
We don’t know how the NFT sector will evolve, but these assets could change the way we own items online. However, there are a lot of issues to address, including the environmental cost and copyright infringements. Right now, the best way to approach NFTs is to pursue your existing interests. This will help you judge the quality and value of the items you buy.
Be aware that there’s a lot of speculation, hype, and outright scams in the NFT world. There are no guarantees that NFT prices will continue to rise, in fact, many may fall. That’s why it’s best to only spend money you can afford to lose. If prices fall, it won’t prove financially devastating. Most of all, take your time and enjoy learning about a new world of digital ownership.
Emma owns the English-language newspaper The Bogota Post. She began her editorial career at a financial website in the U.K. over 20 years ago and has been contributing to The Ascent since 2019.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
Emma Newbery owns Ethereum, Solana, and Tezos. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Bitcoin.
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