The Ultimate Guide to NFT Crypto ART
Welcome to LondonPunks, a place where you can learn about the current art revolution that goes beyond art itself. We’re answering everything from what NFT means, what is NFT crypto art, and how to buy and sell NFTs on the internet. You can also find information on how to navigate the hottest NFT exchanges and why cryptography matters in the grand scheme of things.
The guide is updated around the clock to address the latest information and development in the world of NFT crypto art.
Quick NFT Fact Sheet
What does the acronym NFT mean?
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Tokens. It’s a unit of data stored on a blockchain, which is a digital ledger technology. NFTs certify unique digital assets that are not interchangeable for the smaller sums of their total worth. Unlike Bitcoin that you can break into Satoshis (or a hundred dollar bill that you can exchange for five 20 dollar bills), NFT always stays in its original form.
What is NFT crypto art?
Artists can store and distribute images, videos, audio, and other digital assets as a non-fungible token. Crypto art represents mostly collectibles with various cultural backgrounds, but use cases will expand as more users adopt blockchain technology.
What does NFT mean in the art world?
NFT in the art world brings practical solutions to record ownership on the ledger without going through the hassle of intellectual property, unmatching judiciary systems, and hiring expensive legal teams to defend artists’ creations.
How to buy NFT crypto art?
Please note that this is not financial advice but a guide on navigating the world of crypto art. You can buy NFT art on various art exchanges and from artists themselves. Artists and art dealers usually use MetaMask to buy and sell their NFTs. We have listed the most popular NFT exchanges in this guide.
How to sell NFT crypto art?
You can sell NFT crypto art on crypto exchanges and trade them directly with prospective buyers. Selling NFT requires a dose of marketing, promotion, and finding buyers.
Revolutionize Art, Decentralize Control, and Harmonize People
The future is on the blockchain
Welcome to one of the ultimate guides about Non-Fungible Tokens and Crypto Art. We’re the founders of London Punks, a digitally native NFT crypto art gallery, and newly baked crypto enthusiasts. I admit it takes a minute to wrap one’s brains around the idea of all this digitally native technology. This is why we’re sharing our journey.
NFTs will stay with us for the rest of our lives, and this page will help you stay ahead of the game.
Where does NFT technology fit in the mainstream?
The creator’s economy is in a strong upward trend, generating income for almost 50 million people with an outlook that could reach 100 million earning creators soon. That’s a big number, larger than any individual EU country or State. As a matter of factly, only 15 countries have a population larger than 100 million. So, in effect, NFT creators could be considered the 16th most populated country on Earth.
NFT technology can fuel a big part of the creator’s market. Artists don’t have to worry about trademarks, copyrighting, and royalty payments. Smart contracts can replace whole legal teams. Artists can earn every time buyers resell their NFT crypto art.
You can create your NFT today, share it on the blockchain, and reap the rewards for decades to come. No managers. No lawyers. No labels. No need for galleries unless you want to work with them.
The power is with you- the creator.
Creators, platforms, and the audience are the only three things that matter in the creator’s economy. Individuals make 90% of all consumed digital content. Today is more about YOU and less about the big corporations and brands.
In that honor, Andrew Makin, Ash Jurbeng, and Toni Koraza raise our digital glasses high. We‘re creating a digital gallery with 999 collectible pieces, each one hiding a short piece of a larger story. Characters and magic come to life when NFTs are put together. If you get lost, just open the first page of this guide, and that’s where the story starts. Each collectible holds a locked card with the next part of the puzzle.
This guide will be the kicker. This is everything we know about the NFT world in early 2021. The boom. The NFT crypto art. And the crazy hype nobody yet understands. Some swear the NFTs are going to be larger than life. Others think it’s nothing more than another Dutch tulip mania.
If you’re confused and baffled by everything, we got you. Keep on reading. We’ve all were skeptics at first, thinking about how non-fungible tokens are nothing more than a mental abomination of dirty capitalism. And today, we’re building London Punks, a truly digital gallery. Who would’ve thought? Not us, surely.
Let’s take it step by step and patch the whole puzzle together.
To explain why non-fungible tokens may disrupt the world as we know and why so many high-end individuals are bullish on this new technology, we have first to explain the nature of money, cryptography, and all that dry dogma.
The nature of currency would become less important as we get on with the story. Still, it’s important to understand where NFTs within the grand scheme of life to understand the potential upside of the technology.
The idea of money and criminal activity on blockchain
Criminal activity on blockchain makes for a staggering 0,3%.
Bitcoin could be the end of the dollar if the United States doesn’t step in and gets real with blockchain and cryptocurrency. The United States dollar (USD) is losing ground.
Think about the money.
American dollar (USD) holds nearly 60% of all money reserves, with 40% of global debt being held in the good ol’ greenback. USD is the international reserve. What does that mean? It’s simple. If every other currency plummets, you can always fall back on your Hamiltons, Jacksons, and Benjamins.
Global exchange markets all gladly accept USD, allowing you to buy your groceries, pay rent, and order stuff online. We’re all jaded by this idea and rarely ever question the value of money. However, this is all very recent.
The idea of the mighty dollar has been around since we’re alive, but only so long.
Before the USD, the world relied on the British Pound to serve as the global reserve. British Empire dominated the colonized world of the 19th century. London was the epicenter of international commerce. Merchants and businessmen exchanged pounds for goods and services in London, Manchester, Birmingham, and other commercial hubs, including China, Africa, Australia, and other parts of Europe.
If you asked the people of the 19th century about the future, they wouldn’t imagine the world without the Pound at its center. It was money. However, the First World War absorbed Europe, Britain lost its influence, and the United States took over as the major global economy. Scholars called it Pax Americana that succeeded Pax Brittanica.
The world adopts a new currency. Merchants now took US Dollars over any other currency. Britain then abandoned the gold standard. And later pulled out of the silver standard agreements. Global leaders then met in Bretton Wood and accepted the Federal Reserve as a vouching institution for the dollar’s value. America could now print the money on a promise of its worth.
USD was nothing more than an idea. And people entertained it collectively.
Money is a truly fascinating mechanism if you stop and think about it. We all share the same vigor when it comes to money, although it has no intrinsic value. It’s hard enough to make 11 people cooperate in a company, let alone convince 9.3 billion individuals to believe that a few numbers on a screen hold the key to their survival and happiness.
Some might argue money is the only god everyone agrees on — the true force of unity. Korean shepherds can sell wool to an American furniture maker and use the proceeds to buy a house, even though Koreans and Americans don’t entertain the same values, principles, or structures in power. Everybody agrees on one thing, and that thing is the value of money.
Before the GBP and the USD, the world relied on Dutch commerce in the 17th century, and before the Dutch set sail, the Spanish Empire ruled the world. Real (Spanish money at the time) was the main currency for commerce. Historians could take this argument back to the Roman Empire, where everyone exchanged Roman Lira for food, shelter, and protection.
The world turned to a basket of currencies in the 21st century, with the rise of the Euro, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen, and Swiss Franc. The idea of the mighty dollar had lost momentum. And people had been slowly getting the memo. Total collapse never happened overnight. The cultural, political, and economic decline was usually decades in the making.
We’re extremely effective at documenting the current fall from grace.
The American influence had been losing steam ever since the horrific events of 9/11 devastated New York, taking countless lives in the process.
Today, we live in the 20th year of American steady fall from grace. And the trend is obvious to everyone, except the people in power. Citizens of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah danced and sang their way to judgment day. Parties and wild orgies only grew more intense in the face of God’s reckoning. Spaniards danced as their King borrowed money, and Dutch outperformed themselves for a minute before losing control. The British still think they rule the world.
If history teaches us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t blindly follow flawed systems. We should question things around us and constantly evaluate the world through our eyes and experience. Otherwise, the joke is on us.
We have all heard a great deal about blockchain. People know about Bitcoin, altcoins, and, more recently, Non-Fungible Tokens. However, 97% of the global population has no idea what any of it means for them. And the current explanations are frankly boring. Explaining how blockchain works could help you fall asleep, and you’d probably miss why it has the power to change your life. Crypto would be a sexy topic on a date only if you made a few million buying early coins. But it all very much matters, and it matters to not just tech geeks, crypto artists, and that weird guy that follows the news all the time. It matters to chefs, entrepreneurs, taxi drivers, and Communications Majors.
Here’s another to put everything in perspective.
Imagine the Internet in the 1980s
American Military, or more precisely ARPANET, connected nodes into the first communication networks in the 1970s. IBM developed the first PC in 1981, and the commercial internet didn’t enter the mainstream until the early 90s.
The United States created and developed today’s internet.
The internet created new American wealth. It brought an excess of jobs to the United States. It birthed Silicon Valley, Silicon Hills, smartphones, streaming services, car-hailing apps, room-sharing services, cheap plane tickets, YouTube, Zoom calls, and countless other life-changing services we take for granted today.
What would the world look like if the United States abandoned the idea of the Internet in the 1980s? Even worse, what if the Attorney General tried to prosecute the hosting providers on the grounds of potential illicit activity?
Sure, the Church was appalled by the possibility of someone uploading explicit content (also known as pornography). Individual representatives fought the internet tooth and nail. Paper business took a massive hit. And many individuals thought it’s just an awful idea overall.
But what if America didn’t take the lead in creating the internet?
The internet would still grow as it is inherent to human nature. But the United States wouldn’t call the shots. American contractors wouldn’t build global internet grids. Uber, Amazon, Airbnb, and Google would not be American companies, and America wouldn’t be the richest country on the planet. Some other country would.
The first Bitcoin was minted in 2009
Western consumers grew distrustful of financial institutions in the recent decades. Older men in expensive suits didn’t seem to represent the interest of the majority anymore. But maybe they never did. Wall Street became a synonym for greed and shame because its financial orgies almost destroyed the world.
Bitcoin rose as a punk movement against the elite who gambled with our collective trust. The cryptographic geniuses introduced a system of public ledgers that would install trust in cooperation at scale. One individual powerbroker couldn’t game blockchain as it could other systems.
The future is on the ledger
Blockchain, the supporting technology behind Bitcoin, has use cases for all spheres of life and not just the world of finance. The same way the internet is not solely a messaging service, blockchain is not just money or stock to be traded. CargoX boosts a ledger system to organize the shipping world and rightfully claim the Bill of Lading with every shipment. Other companies are solving identity theft, cross-border payments, and countless other issues.
Outside finance, you can apply the technology to the world of art and memorabilia. Non-fungible tokens are solving significant problems in the world of art ownership, forgery, and distribution.
The ledger technology (blockchain) permanently records every transaction, so it’s verifiable by all other entities. The system makes it impossible to steal, plagiarize, and otherwise claim possessions that not ours.
If you go back in recent history and philosophy, ownership is a concept that takes humans apart from animals, as argued by John Lock and many other Western Philosophers. Your dog can’t own a house, iPhone, or lease a car. You can do all three.
When you make something yours, you tend to take better care of it. Jeff Bezos paints this story with a vivid brushstroke in Amazon shareholders‘ memo. He said that casual tenants wouldn’t hesitate to nail the Christmas tree into the hardwood floor of a rented house but would never do so if they owned the place.
Let’s put all these digressions in perspective. Suppose America abandons the idea of ownership and emerging global technology. In that case, it will cease to be the default worldwide currency and lose any global influence in matters of local importance. Like Spaniards and Britons, American citizens will slowly earn less each year as their stuff grows more and more expensive before they finally start running solely on the pride of past glory. We have seen it many times in history.
Our ancestors offer a glaring warning for what could happen if the US government doesn’t take blockchain technology seriously.
Trump’s Administration took a position against Bitcoin, and Biden’s might continue down the same path
U.S. Attorney General William Barr played on the fear of American citizens by describing Bitcoin as a threat to national security.
“Current terrorist use of cryptocurrency may represent the first raindrops of an oncoming storm of expanded use,” the Cyber-Digital Task Force shared in a report in late 2020. “Cryptocurrency also provides bad actors and rogue nation-states with the means to earn profits.”
The current circulation of criminal money in cryptocurrency makes for less than 2% of the total trading volume. “But the potential for abuse is much higher,” as the past administration framed it.
Yes, the potential is high for abuse. But if you solely live on potential, you’ll never actually change the world. Everything is a probability.
The internet endured a similar scrutiny.
Imagine if the Right-wing populists launched a cultural and mental attack against the development of the internet because terrorist organizations and rogue-nations can use it to spread influence.
Terrorists were doing an excellent job of spreading fear before Bitcoin, the internet, or even smartphones. Would you still live in a world without technology because it could be used for criminal activity?
Most drugs, guns, and other illicit activities are still financed with the USD because it’s the most widely accepted currency.
Steering drama, breeding distrust in technology, and playing on fears of American citizens haven’t done any service to anyone except totalitarian governments that can use it as a bargaining chip against America. China and Russia can call the free states on their hypocrisy, depicting it as a wretched country with no sense of direction.
If the United States doesn’t step up its game in developing a more transparent blockchain, the whole Western world is at risk of losing the economic advantages it has enjoyed for centuries.
Some argue it’s for the better. Others claim it’s a nation’s organic destiny — to collapse under a belly full of prestige, complacency, and privilege.
I’m just petrified.
Today’s Blockchain Is the Internet of the 1980s
How would you feel if you enter a room with 2,000 people raving about a new technology that’s about to change the world?
And you just don’t get it. The whole damn room is on a secret together, except you. You’re out of your depth. Cryptocurrency and strange tech talk are only making it seem more exclusive and geeky. Tech may not be your cup of cold coffee. Maybe you’re out for a different kind of fun. Either way, you’re not entirely convinced by any of it, even though you can’t deny the massive attention and absurd money these people are throwing around.
This is how I feel listening to a Clubhouse room on Non-fungible Tokens.
I’m dazed and confused, but recently, I became excited.
Something fun is brewing.
The more I listen, the more NFT crypto art makes sense
Let’s go back to the 1980s. The internet is an idea that started only a decade earlier as ARPANET, a tech branch of the United States Military. Here’s what followed:
- IBM launched the first PC in 1981.
- “The computer” was on the cover of Times Magazine, as the “person” of the year in 1982.
- In 1983, ARPANET standardized TCP/IP protocol.
- Internet went truly public in 1984, and organisations could register .gov, .mil, .edu, .org, .net, and .com domains
- The number of networks grew from 2,000 to nearly 30,000 between 1986 and 1987
- LAN technology-enabled local PC connection with the speed of 100Mbps in 1989.
What about the World Wide Web?
The internet of the 1980s didn’t have a single functioning website that you could fit on today’s web. It didn’t make any sense for 99.9% of people.
Why do you need the internet when you have phones, TV, and satellites? You can call your friends in Europe any time you’d like, and watch what’s going on the coast of Croatia from the comfort of your living room, so why would you need the internet?
Textual information that exists on host computers and is transported through wires and invisible signals? That would never live on. Surely, we have better technology already. Look at the microwave. Can the internet cook my food? Well, I didn’t think so.
That’s how we imagine the sentiment around the internet in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The 80s were coming to an end, and Tim Berners-Lee drew an informational management proposal for CERN. For those who’re not savvy with scientific institutions, CERN is a scientific research hub in Switzerland and possibly the most influential scientific organization on the planet. What did they do? Tim wanted to rearrange the common informational architecture to make the internet more accessible for everyday people.
His efforts gave us the World Wide Web, or WWW, the extension at the beginning of today’s web addresses. The first website went live on November 12th, 1990. Most readers were young and kicking at the time.
That simple textual website is still alive today: The Project: Hypertext.
Imagine reading a few blocks of text from a blinking computer screen. What would your thoughts be? As the ultimate entrepreneur for the digital age, Seth Godin advised people to stay away from the internet.
“My biggest mistake (at least in terms of income avoided) was not believing in the world wide web in 1994.”
Today, Seth Godin is one of the most prominent internet personalities. He’s the author of 19 international bestsellers. Let the number 19 slowly sink in — all internationally bestselling books. Seth is obviously a smart person, but sometimes smarts and wits can’t help you see the world change. Einstein could miss the opportunity that was staring him dead in the eyes. Bitcoin could be a strange digital blasphemy that you don’t want anywhere near your bank account.
Here’s a bit more from Seth Godin:
“I’m going into all this painful detail to let you know what an idiot I was. How many clues were just sitting there, how much access I had, how deliberate I was in ignoring them.”
Time Berners-Lee single handedly changed the course of human history. We’re reliant on the internet and its protocols to live an ordinary life. Job-seekers can find listings and openings. Individuals meet the love of their lives, and some build a digital art gallery. Life without the internet would be just like the world without earth.
You’re not any less if you don’t understand the hype around Bitcoin, blockchain, and 100,000,000 other altcoins and NFTs. Most people don’t understand any of it, and that’s why it’s the best time to get involved and pave the way for future generations. Once everyone understands this new technology, opportunity drops, and it just becomes a normal part of everyday life. Something that’s just here, always present in our lives.
What is Bitcoin, and what are cryptocurrencies and blockchain?
You’ve undoubtedly heard about Bitcoin.
Mysterious figure Satoshi Nakamoto filed a manifesto against the big financial institutions in 2008 following massive financial orgy investment banks enjoyed at the expense of everyone but them.
The 2008 financial crisis followed. The crisis hit the Midwest and Deep South more than other places. Millions lost jobs, and families were forced to vacate their cities, towns, and homes. One whole post-grad generation was lost. Banks that collapsed the system took the houses from hungry families in America.
People lost faith in Wall Street and the world of high finance. One mysterious figure set up a cryptographic system that will make no room for bankers’ greed. The ledgers’ system could not bring such destructive events and bring human misery to the American people.
The system was named blockchain.
Blockchain would record everything publically on a ledger and would eliminate systemic human corruption.
Bankers would not be in a position to abuse the trust of hard-working Americans if everything is made public. The Bitcoin and Blockchain were truly born, and the idea sparked a new revolution in technology.
We don’t know the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto to this day, but his ideas are changing the world one crazy day after another.
Are Bitcoin and Ethereum here to stay?
Yes, we believe that some form of cryptographic technology will shape our lives in the not so distant future.
Thirteen years have passed since Satoshi introduced Bitcoin to the public. The idea has never really lost its appeal, even though it’s prone to volatility. Strangely, outside volatility is Bitcoin’s strongest weapon. It shines through in times of great political and social uncertainty. When the folk stop trusting the Johnsons, Bidens, and Trumps of the world, we become open to new ideas.
Ethereum came about seven years later as a more inclusive blockchain network. Vitalik Buterin jotted down the idea when he was only 19 years old and successfully implemented it before his 23rd birthday. Ethereum launched in 2015 as the alternative to Bitcoin.
Today, one Bitcoin is worth $63,000 and one Etherum $2,100.
In 2014, one Bitcoin was worth $250, and Ehterum didn’t even exist.
[Alright, dude, we get it, I could’ve been rich, the world will collapse, and a dude in Switzerland is responsible for my whole Tinder game. But were we going to talk about NFTs or what? I’ve got no time to lose. Step on it, buddy.]
What is NFT crypto art, the latest crypto craze racking millions by the minute?
Logan Paul made $5 million in one day selling NFTs, Grimes has made 6 million in 48hr, and NBA has racked well over $200 million in a single week. And you can make one today, for free, in minutes, and with no prior experience.
Beeple sold one JPEG photo for $69.3M in early March, thumping J.M.W. Turner, Georges Seurat, Francisco Goya, and countless other historical artists.
The artwork, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, was auctioned at Christie’s, a gallery dating back to 1766. Beeple made and released one image every day over 13 years and then collaged every piece in a wide JPEG image offered as an NFT. Observers can follow how technology and style changed through the years of the digital revolution.
You can watch Beeple’s reaction in the final moments of the auction at Christie’s and see what it feels for an artist to make almost 70 million dollars.
All these people were in the same business, selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They are unique cryptographic tokens, meaning you can produce and store a unique digital asset. These can be images, animations, music, video clips, or anything that exists on the cloud.
Imagine if you take a photo of your dog and want to store it uniquely for all of eternity. If you turn your photo into an NFT, everyone would be able to see that you’re the owner of the image. Nobody can take it from you, and it stays recorded on the blockchain with your name as the rightful owner.
Individuals are ready to pay millions to own the rights to a digital asset. If this still sounds crazy. You may be thinking that only crazy rich idiots would buy such a thing. I understand. It’s all super techy and crazy.
Here’s a more tangible example.
Have you heard about Baseball cards that sell for head-spinning amounts? T206 Honus Wagner’s card sold for $3.12 million in 2016
What is the value of a baseball card? It’s just a piece of cardboard dipped in plastic, right?
For some, the baseball cards are not worth the pretty penny, or even any penny. While others, well, they’re willing to cash out millions for a token of history, culture, and the reflection of times. Individuals can then resell it and make additional money.
Now, NFT’s are a digital way to make all this possible for regular chaps.
NFTs are fantastic for a heap of different people, but one group is especially affected by all these exciting changes, visual artists.
Visual Artists can earn perpetual royalties from NFT crypto art
Unlike musicians and writers, visual artists rarely ever earn perpetual royalties.
When painters sell an art piece, that marks the end of the road with that project. The artwork could then be resold many times over, sometimes reaching 7-figure or even 8-figure digits. Jasper John’s The Flag was sold at a private auction for $110 million, and Andy Warhol’s Triple Elvis sold for $81,9 million. Neither John’s nor Warhol’s estate got a single penny from those transactions.
Visual art is the winner takes all business.
Imagine if those two paintings were actually NFTs. The original artist could still pocket sizable income from those pieces of work. Jasper John could potentially get $11 million from the last transaction, and Andy Warhol’s estate could be earning millions every time one of his pieces finds a new buyer.
The money could be used to preserve the work and life of these painters for future generations. Conversely, younger generations can actually explore their artistic nature if the money from a $70 billion art industry actually trickles down to the artists.
Disclaimer: Although we’re talking about some of the richest artists in history to illustrate this point. Jasper John was not strapped for cash at any time in his career, and Andy Warhol was worth $220 million at the time of his death.
The 25 Punchy NFT Facts That Sum Up the Latest Crypto Craze
- Non-fungible tokens can be shared and consumed but not duplicated, creating digital scarcity and proof of ownership.
- People who dislike stocks, and cryptocurrency, can now directly store value in NFT crypto art, digital land, and countless other NFT supported ideas.
- NFTs are helping international artists sell their work, pay rent and buy food.
- Blockchain technology makes no room for forgery, helping artists set up their show without legal work in setting trademarks, copyrights, and chasing royalties.
- Non-fungible tokens can take the form of music, photos, and any other digital collectible, including books, blogs, or even Tweets. NFTs are basically unique autographs that a person can own outside the analog world.
- NFTs are supported on the Ethereum network, currently driven by proof-of-work, which helps communicate account balances and transaction orders to protect users from double charges.
- The original creators can opt-in to automatically collect royalty from every transaction. Smart contracts enable perpetuated payment for all future transactions.
- Beeple’s JPEG is the 3rd most expensive artwork ever sold. The buyer believes it’s ultimately worth $1 billion, which dwarfs the price of any artwork ever sold. The artwork is a first-ever digital piece to be auctioned at Christie’s.
- The anti-forging industry is a $1 billion YoY business, while forged arts make for a $6 billion industry YoY.
- The total volume of all traded NFTs is $431 million, hardly even breadcrumbs compared to the art-forging industry.
- Animated Flying Rainbow Cat with a PopTart body meme sold for nearly $600,000, becoming the first privately owned NFT meme.
- CryptoPunks are the first non-fungible digital art ever created. The project came to life in 2017, boosting the Ethereum ERC-721 standard that fuels most of today’s NFT crypto art.
- Larva Labs generated 10,000 CryptoPunks for $44. Today, the average price of one Crypunk is $26,101, and $186M is the total value generated selling the art collectibles.
- Ether’s price was $320 at the time the first NFTs were minted. The price of one Ether is $2,405 today, 1391 days later. Here’s the original contract.
- Minting NFTs is free at Opensea.io, but listing them for sale costs a pretty penny. The price can reach $140 or more at times, with an average of $90 for March 2021.
- NFT hype is underway. However, similar hype ballooned the internet in the early 2000s. The bubble burst, but the internet is still a major part of our lives. You’re reading this story from the internet.
- NBA’s Top Shots sold NFTs in a move to support the league during COVID restrictions.
- NFT crypto art is not all rainbows and teddy bears. Artists are finally getting paid, but minting NFTs potentially demands massive energy expenditure, affecting climate change.
- One minted NFT allegedly produces 211 kg of CO2 — equivalent to a return flight from London to Rome or month-long energy consumption by a European household. This is the environmental argument against NFT crypto art.
- SuperRare (NFT marketplace) rejects all potential environmental damage claims, arguing that energy expenditure wouldn’t change if the whole world stops selling NFTs today. This is the argument for. We’ll scrutinize both sides of the argument in chapter xx.
- The University of Cambridge features a section on common crypto misconceptions. The university agrees with SuperRar’s argument about blockchain’s low-to-minimal environmental impact.
- The idea of NFTs dates back to 2012 when Colored Coins tried to embed proof of ownership within Satoshi, the tinies units of Bitcoin. However, the technology didn’t support such behavior, and Colored Coins never took off.
- NFTs truly emerged in 2017, starting with CryptoKitties and CriptoPunks. CryptoKitties is a game on Ethereum where users can adopt and raise virtual cats.
- NFTs have opened doors to virtual real estate. Decentraland is a digital world where users can purchase, build and monetize virtual plots of land.
- Gary Vaynerchuk, a famous marketing guru, believes that he’s going to be involved with NFTs for the rest of his life.
Non-fungible tokens are a big drop in a massive block-sea
Blockchain records ownership and perpetuates the original artist through every upcoming sale. NFT technology makes it virtually impossible to claim others’ work, which is a common problem in the world of professional art.
Ownership is an inherent part of human nature. Both kids and adults gladly buy game items with real money. Collectors spend millions on baseball cards. And digital enthusiasts buy NFT crypto art. Starting a gallery similar to LondonPunks is exciting for a creative soul.
Non-fungible tokens have astonishing macro applications, similar to the internet of the 1980s and 1990s. But stay cautious. The early-day internet companies are not around anymore, and the same could happen with today’s NFT projects.
Let’s dive deeper into all the non-fungible opportunity
Logan Paul’s 24hr-long NFT frenzy is remarkable, even if you’re not a fan of his work. He uploaded his YouTube clips, minted a few Pokemon cards, and auctioned all of it for a head-spinning price. Everything sold out in a day.
Chris Camillo, the best trader you’ve never heard of, paid $60K for an NFT Cyberpunk image. He claims it was a bargain and that he’d gladly pay $70K if he could.
Electronic producer 3LAU released a limited-edition NFT album last week, pocketing $11.6 million in less than 24 hours. NBA, Grimes, and others have also made use of this technology.
What does NFT stand for?
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Tokens, meaning that they can’t be exchanged for something else. Fungible is a word we haven’t heard much, but it’s about to hit the mainstream. You can’t break one NFT into two as you can with a $100 bill or Ether. One NFT is always one NFT.
NFT’s proof of ownership can’t be replicated, duplicated, or otherwise plagiarized. NFTs are Ethereum powered tokens that can be pretty much any digital file.
Cyberpunk auctioned pixelated headshots, Logan Paul sold Pokemon card images, Grimes uploaded music videos, and NBA shared Topshop clips from previous games. You could totally create an NFT blog post if you wanted to.
Why would anyone buy NFT crypto art?
Scarce digital art is a new concept.
People are used to consuming digital content, taking it at will, and replicating it across other platforms. This is where everything gets confusing for many.
Non-Fungible Tokens don’t put a stop to free content consumption. You can still watch Logan Paul’s videos on YouTube and even share videos from tokenized links with your friends. Here’s a clip that sold for $20k. Go and watch it.
So, why are people paying obscene amounts for a non-fungible token that everyone can consume at will? NFT gives the right of ownership that is recorded and perpetuated on the blockchain. From today and through the future, blockchain will record the original artist’s name together with the current owners’ names. You don’t need to do much past that point.
Buyers essentially purchase the bragging rights and can resell NFTs as any other painting, video installation, or anything deemed of value. The original artists still get compensated for the original work. The wrt piece becomes scarce in a way we’re yet to understand.
Can I make millions selling NFT crypto art?
Maybe, if you’re lucky.
You could make a non-fungible meme that soars in popularity and attracts the right kind of eyeballs. CryptoPunks are a good example. The company produced 10,000 digital collectibles in the spirit of transparency and immutability. Images are unique pixelated headshots that have trackable proof of ownership on the Ethereum networks.
CryptoPunks draw a firm reference to the early history of blockchain and the cypherpunk movement. The original cypherpunks experimented with Bitcoin precursors in the 90s, using cryptography to fight censorship, surveillance, and totalitarianism.
CryptoPunks are not cypherpunks, but they both embody the spirit of digital transparency and freedom.
CryptoPunks are now selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and if this trend continues, the price may only soar. (Note: this is not investment advice. NFTs are extremely risky investments. Always do your research before making a financial decision. We’re not telling you to buy anything.)
How to mint an NFT crypto art in a few minutes for free
Creating an NFT contract takes a few minutes. I made my first NFT in only 30 minutes. You can do it in minutes if you already know what to upload as an NFT.
Many platforms offer an easy way to create NFTs. Here’s an example:
This post contains no affiliate links, and the author has no stake in any mentioned platform.
1. Install Metamask, a Chrome plug-in
If you don’t have Chrome, you’d have to get that too. Once you have the browser, head to Metamask.io and install the plug-in. The installation process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
Metamask creates an Ethereum wallet that you can access from your browser.
2. Head out to opensea.io
OpenSea is a large NFT exchange market that got my attention first.
The process was easier done than said. (All this is easier to do than to explain to others.) Load the website, and click on the Create button from the right corner. Then, choose Submit NFTs from the drop-down menu.
3. Prepare your file
Even though any NFT could be called art, many artists would gag over the majority of top-selling NFTs.
To simplify this idea, let’s say that NFTs don’t have to be an actual piece of traditional art. You can upload a picture of your cat, or a dog, or both.
We’re using Citizen Bowie in this example. He’s one of the first London Punks to be created by Andrew Makin.
Once you have your files ready, click on “Create a new collection.”
4. Create your collection
Add a logo, name, and a short description. Logo and description are optional, and you can get by with only a name if you’re not up for creating the entire concept today.
5. Add a new item
The platform prompts a contract when you add a new item. Worry not, you don’t have to pay anything at this point. Sign the contract and continue to the next step.
6. Upload your artwork
The platform supports JPG, PNG, GIF, SVG, MP4, WEBM, MP3, WAV, OGG, GLB, and GLTF. The max file size is 100 MB.
Artists could probably find a way to upload different or larger files, but most NFTs currently on the market perform well as a short video, tune, or image.
Click on Add New Item, and sign another free smart contract.
Add your image. Artists can optimize search results with information, including properties, levels, stats, and supply. The platform offers an option to include exclusive content only an owner can open.
Upload your image, and choose the supply in circulation. And voilà. You’re undeniably an owner of NFT digital art.
The process is free.
How to buy and sell NFT crypto art – everything you need to know
Artists can create and store NFT crypto art for free.
The fees kick in once you want to auction your token. The only fee we could see so far is Ethereum needed for gas money. Gas is the price of sharing information on the Ethereum network, and it covers the computational effort required to execute a specific operation.
The total investment comes out as a roughly $150 one-time fee (at the time of writing) if the artist wants to sell NFTs. Once you list NFTs on OpenSea, you don’t have to pay any additional fees for adding and selling additional artwork. The price may vary every time you try to list your collection.
You can wait a few hours and try again, hoping the price goes down. We’ve listened to NFT punks for $80 after 3 days of going back and forward with the platform. I’ve pressed the auction button more times than I can count. However, we’ve saved $100, as the price soared to $170 on the first day.
If we’re going to give one piece of advice here, that is to not pay on the first turn. Study what you’re getting yourself into, and make a rational decision.
Precise Reasons Why NFTs Are Not Just a Fad
Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet on Valuables for $2,9 million. Valuable is a marketplace that can automatically mint your Tweets into Non-fungible tokens.
You can still read all of Jack’s tweets on twttr together with any other tweet on the platform. So, what’s the fuss all about then? Jack Dorsey’s first tweet is going nowhere, but it’s changing ownership.
Screenshot from Valuale’s auction
Justin Sun and Sina Estavi pledged millions to own Jack’s sentence fragment. Estavi eventually won, but Justin Sun was a worthy competitor with the last offer of $2 million.
The auction ran its course on March 22th, when the $2.9 million was automatically converted to Bitcoin and donated to Directly’s Africa First Response.
This is where NFTs start making more sense for more people.
Perpetual Royalties from selling NFTs
Transparent automation is one of Blockchain’s greatest assets.
After Artists sell NFT crypto art, they can opt in to continue earning from every future sale. Artists can also choose where the money goes after each transaction is finalized, and they don’t need a legal team, judicial system, expensive lawyers, bookkeepers, and trademark registrations.
Painters that sell their art to galleries usually receive a fixed advance. The money seems reasonable at first. However, if the gallery sells the painting, the original author doesn’t receive more than attribution, at best. The sales team, art dealers, and business makers naturally take a cut as well. The painting makes rounds and round, and the original artist can forget about ever creating that piece. The process can be draining and unsustainable.
Attribution is cool, and it can compound to better deals over time, but it’s not money to spend. You can hardly pay rent, groceries, and student loans with attribution and rounds of applause. NFT’s make sure the original artist gets commission from every transaction, and the best thing is that nobody has to think twice about it. Non-fungible tokens automatically embed the author’s fee with every transaction.
Non-fungible tokens could save starving artists
I’ve been hearing about starving artists since I could crawl. Apparently, the art world was for the misfits that don’t fit into the society, and they’re all hungry.
I’ve never met a starving artist, although I live in Dalston (a hyper-gentrified artsy neighborhood in London.) Artists around me are buying overpriced apartments and live their lives like CEO managers.
What I realized is that being an artist is almost exactly the same as being an entrepreneur. I’m a digital entrepreneur. I can’t paint or sing, but I can create stuff other people want to consume. Both artists and entrepreneurs sell parts of themselves in risky transactions for potentially life-changing upside.
Non-Fungible Tokens smooth the transactional part of being an artist. Creators can invest more time in their creations, possibly creating more art. If a painter sells just one NFT that goes on the be resold 100 times through the next ten years, earning a commission on every transaction. We’d eradicate the term “starving artist” from our cultural vocabulary.
NFTs bring many “ifs” and “buts,” but that comes with every new technology that goes on to change the world.
The institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies is underway
Without Ethereum and Bitcoin, NFTs would even exist, let alone sell for millions of dollars. To put things in perspective, 99% of NTFS don’t make the pretty penny, and half of the NFTs on the market are dodgy. Criminals, scammers, and other not-so-nice folks will try to take advantage of Non-fungible tokens.
The sad reality goes for fiat cash, smartphones, the internet, social media, cars, and everything else that people can abuse. However, not everybody wants to cheat and steal for a living. As a matter of fact, illegal transactions make for 0,34% of the total crypto activity, according to Chainalysis’s analysis and a Forbes’ report.
Do you know a system that caters to more criminals every day? United States Dollar comes to mind. More criminals use USD than Bitcoin. However, more people use USD, so the comparison is not the hill to die on, even though it outlines why the “cryptocurrencies-mostly-for-criminals” argument makes no sense. (Even though Donald Trump’s Attorney General loved to blame Bitcoin for national security threats. Disregarding that Donald Trump was probably the worst thing that happened to American national security since 9/11.)
Institutional individuals, including Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Wilkenwoss brothers, Gary V, and countless other whales, trust blockchain with their money. Hedge funds are taking positions in Bitcoin. Venture capital firms are raising IPOs for Crypto companies, and the price is soaring.
Self-made often reach that god-like status with smart investments and knowing their way around the market needs and wants. If big players and companies bet on blockchain’s future, who am I to say it’s a fad?
When institutional players adopt new technology, that usually means one thing — Blockchain has a future, and this is probably just a beginning.
IPOs are initial public offerings a company makes when it wants to raise capital on the stock markets. Coinbase, with the help of venture capital firm Anderson Horowitz, is planning to go public later this month.
Coinbase is one of the largest, most practical, and legal cryptocurrency exchange markets on the internet. The market value of the Coin base was estimated to $100 billion, according to Axio’s report.
The IPO will propel founders Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, together with the board of directors and early employees, to the top of the food chain, as they’ll become the wealthiest people on the planet.
Kathryn Haun — an ex-federal prosecutor with the US Department of Justice, who focused on fraud, cybercrime, and corporate crime, working alongside the SEC, FBI, and Treasury — is sitting on Coinbase’s board of directors and actively spearheads the IPO.
If a federal prosecutor and ex-government heavy-weight official supports the future of blockchain and Non-fungible Tokens, then surely it’s not a fraudulent scam. Here’s a Tim Ferriss interview with Kathryn. You’re in for a mind-shifting hour if this is your first time listening to Kathryn speak.
Coinbase’s initial public offering launched on April 14, 2021.
The digital sentimental value of NFT crypto art
Gary Vaynerchuck asks his fans one question every time the NFT debate comes up, “do you or your kid value your in-game items? Would they pay money for them?”
If you’ve ever played a video game, you know that some in-game items, usually including skins, collectible items, and rare actions, cost money. In the days of World of Warcraft, you could buy weapons, gear, and other expensive items on the in-game market. Players would sell their characters and other rare valuables for thousands of dollars.
The stakes are higher today. Fortnite players can splurge $2,935 to buy every item on the shelves. Entropia Universe, the largest online game you’ve never heard of, has recently witnessed a $6 million transaction for a virtual planet.
So why would people buy all this? Most of the time, it’s about sentimental value and feelings. We do many things to preserve and cement the good memories of when we felt safe, happy, and comfortable. NFT’s are everything but crazy in that regard. You can store your pictures, music, videos, and other sentimental valuables on the blockchain virtually forever.
Here’s how Valuable explains why people throw crazy money at Tweet NFTs.
The tweet itself will continue to live on Twitter. What you are purchasing is a digital certificate of the tweet, unique because it has been signed and verified by the creator.
“Why would I pay to own a tweet?
Owning any digital content can be a financial investment, hold sentimental value, and create a relationship between collector and creator. Like an autograph on a baseball card, the NFT itself is the creator’s autograph on the content, making it scarce, unique, and valuable.”
— Writes Valuable in FAQ doc.
Everything was a fad until it wasn’t
The Internet was a fad in the 90s.
Many companies went underwater in the early 2000s with the dot com crash. The bubble was real. If you’ve been an economy major, then you’ve probably read that recession and bursts usually happen to purge the economy of bad business. If nobody needs landline phones anymore, maybe we don’t need 10,000 companies trying to sell us telephones.
The economy has a Darwinistic way of purging the foul business, but somehow it’s a natural occurrence. Many people will get hurt in the NFT market. I assume we’re about to see a massive expansion and swift contractions. The snake-oil companies will go underwater, and we’ll get the Amazon, Google, and Apple of the crypto world.
Please, don’t gamble your house and kids on the NFT markets just yet (even if you have a world-changing idea.) The reason why the market is so exciting is that everything can happen. You can wake up a millionaire tomorrow, or you can burn a hole in your wallet. Approach with care. (Also, this is not investment advice, quite the contrary, don’t gamble with more than you’re comfortable losing.)
However, enough attention to solutions to real-life problems will bring ideas into the mainstream sooner than later. The journey, however, is probably going to be bumpy.
NFTs are not Tulips from 15th-century Dutch bubble
I loved using Tulip Mania as an example to discredit Bitcoin in its early days.
The price of a single tulip peaked in 1637 and came to roughly $700,000 (adjusted for centuries of inflation). Tulips are lovely flowers, don’t get me wrong. However, paying 15x the average annual income for a flower bud was mental. Tulips are planted, and holding value in something that can easily die and root doesn’t make much sense. The whole tulip market came crashing down the same year, erasing billions in value.
NFT digital art is valuable for several reasons
- You can prove your ownership over a digital asset at any time in the future.
- Creators record contribution and ownership over an asset forever.
- The original author can receive payment perpetuated through his whole life without a legal team or blood-thirsty battle with shady agents, accountants, and paginators.
- Blockchain is tackling more than 30 daily problems, and technology is becoming a central focus for many governments around the globe.
NFTs are more than pretty pictures on a computer screen.
Value of NFT crypto art – a quick summary
- Proof of ownership and originality. Would you be excited to see the original Mona Lisa, compared to my phone photo from Louvre? It’s the same image.
- Tax efficiency. The internet communities are still silent on tax benefits that come with NFT art. Instead of converting your BTC/ETH to USD and paying capital gain tax, why not buy NFT art?
- Sentimental value. Why do people buy Baseball cards for ridiculous amounts or NBA Top Shot clips? Sometimes you want to preserve a part of your history and youth in a physical idea.
- Hype. YouTube, Medium, and online content is drawing many to NFT goldrush. Similar to California Goldrush, Dutch Tulip Mania, and DotCom bubble, the mob mentality is pulling many just because others are there.
- Storing value. Individuals who dislike trading stocks, bonds, and commodities, can still store value in art and digital sentiment.
- Making money. Many starving digital artists are not starving anymore. NFT technology has helped many pay rent, buy groceries, and get out of credit card debt.
- Bragging rights. Sometimes is just as simple as being superficial. We all need to feel special from time to time, and NFT can make you feel rich and unique.
How to start your NFT crypto art gallery — each step of the way
When I first read the story about NBA Top Shots, I had to share it with Andrew.
He is an established graphic designer and true digital artist with decades of experience. So, no wonder he’s the only person that could relate to the hype. I tried sharing it with my girlfriend too, but she fell asleep. Bo-ooring.
Well, Andrew was interested. One thing followed another, and boom, we opened an NFT gallery. [Then, Ash joined a few weeks later, and the rest is history.]
The first piece just went live for an auction. The Queen with a VR headset kicked off with a price of 0.3ETH ($536) and a locked piece of the story.
The Queen is also the first of 999 NFT crypto art pieces that make London Punks. To unlock the full story, one has to open all 999 pieces and patch things on a board with thousands of other crypto enthusiasts. Citizen Bowie comes 72 collectibles after the queen, and his story falls on that timeframe.
We have documented our early ups and downs and created a guide to save your time and money if you wish to dip your fingers in the NFT business.
Here’s that very replicable guide on how to start an NFT gallery.
1. Get the Metamask Chrome plugin
Seriously, opening a wallet has never been easier.
Download Chrome (if you don’t have it already), search for plugins from within the browser, and get the Metamask extension. The whole process shouldn’t last more than 7 minutes, and a child could do it following a simple guide on Opensea.io
Next, add some money to your Metamask wallet. Experienced crypto lords already have wallets at the ready, but for complete newbies, this process should be just as easy. Metamask has an option to buy Ethereum with your credit/debit card directly. The process of adding money shouldn’t take longer than a minute.
2. The mindset: face your fears
“What can I sell if I’m not an established artist or a famous person? NFTs are rich people’s playground.”
Established artists, YouTubers, and other creators didn’t start as established personalities either. Mark Winkelman (Beeple) was an unknown name in digital space before 2008. Grimes was completely unknown when her first album came about in 2010, and for the next 3 albums, serving only a one-inch wide niche.
All these people are now the 1% of the very rich that live on this planet. Nobody started that way, but they all made it there with their creations.
So, who am I to sell NFT crypto art? I’m nobody, and so are you. We have to create something before we become somebody. So, “Move fast and break things.”
Otherwise, you risk not moving at all.
3. The culture and art
Art lives on the junction of culture, history, sentiment, and appeal. These four roads converge in a single place, which’s usually different for everyone.
Find something that resonates with people, records history, adds value, and has an emotional appeal. Search your inner world and remember the emotional pull towards things and events you had since you were a kid.
For us, the London Punks gallery is an ode to times of the pandemic that has pulled the one powerful city of London to its knees.
The Queen, virtual reality headsets, and royal controversy are all very much a big part of early 2021. Punk as music originated in the United States, but it found its soul in London, with the likes of Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned. We love to rock with these tunes.
London Punks are a part of our identity.
History bears enormous value. It tells us who we are as people and what we collectively lived through. LondonPunk 001 will always represent the feelings, events, and lives of people that lived through British descent from grace. It’s a collective feeling captured on a piece of cryptographic code that nobody can take away.
Everyone has a story in them. Find your junction, and crack on.
4. Leverage your existing skill set
I’ve shared an NFT article with Andrew around 9 am, and before 9 am the next day, the LondonPunks idea was already underway.
I wrote every day. And non-fungible tokens arrived like an overstuffed Birthday Piñata to an 11–year-old boy’s birthday party. I couldn’t drop the topic. And I could actually produce value for others, all while learning about cool new technology. Win, win, win.
“What if we create a few pixelated images that represent our experience from this pandemic and mint them as non-fungible tokens?”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Hmm, maybe a Queen with a VR headset? Something cultural and relevant, but also futuristic and historical at the same time. If that makes sense, hah.”
The domain LondonPunks.com was free, so why not? I wrote the first story, and Andy magically pulled pixels together to shape the Queen. Then Bowie, and then Boris and Churchill followed naturally. One idea just fed into the next, and we had the original concept before Friday.
I wrote a few blog articles the next day and shared them on BetterMarketing, Newsbreak, and Geek Culture. Before the end of week two, I had enough content to write a book on NFTs.
5. Stay calm and prepare for launch
OpenSea has created a gas-free NFT exchange market. You can mint and sell your NFT crypto art for virtually no money, but there’s a tiny catch.
The average price was $50 (0,027 ETH) for listing the first NFT on Monday. The same price hit $171 on Friday. The market is highly volatile and changes from minute to minute. Wait a day or two if you’re not comfortable dropping north of $150 into something new.
Andrew and I decided to spend $90 to list LondonPunks. The money, once split between two guys in lockdown, was not such an irrational decision as it may sound at first. Effectively that’s $45 per person.
Even if it fails, I still love the idea we created. It’s worth the damn $45. I’d spend this on beer otherwise, so why the hell not?
London Punks was in the pipe, and we just had for the price to drop a bit.
I refreshed the page religiously, and finally, 72hr later, the price hit $80, and LondonPunks hit the market. OpenSea charged two transactions. One is more expensive than the other. We paid $80 + $10 to list all items. However, if you’re not comfortable holding extra cash in your Metamask wallet, then the second fee can create potential headaches.
You can’t see the second charge before paying for the first one.
Add at least 20$ to over the original. Crypto is a new world, and unexpected surcharges are common as day. But if you plan well, that’s not a problem.
6. How to determine the NFT price?
Most NFT crypto art is inexpensive to produce and not worth the pretty penny. We can borrow the pricing ideas from the world of physical art, but these are just loose pointers and not exact laws of rules.
If you can sell something for more money, do it. Here’s what goes into the value of a painting that has just hit an auction.
Three things drive the value of pantings
- Providence. Who owned the artwork? David Rockefeller bought Rotko’s painting for $10,000. It generated $72 million later when Sotheby’s sold the piece later on.
- Attribution. The historical significance of a painting and the celebrity status of the artist. Most experts wouldn’t be able to tell a good Michelangelo’s copy from the real painting — hence the $6 billion industry revolving around art forgery. If you think that something is Michelangelo’s, the value suddenly moons to the sky.
- Auction heat. Christie’s knows how to generate hype among the art enthusiasts, who’d gladly bid boatloads of money in heated auctions.
What if you don’t have any of the value drives? Can you still make NFT crypto art?
Yes, you can. We’re building London Punks, and we’re not well-attributed artists with a historical track record in the mysterious world of exclusive arts. We’re not backed by Christie’s or any other major gallery.
Your real work starts once your NFT crypto art is live if you’re not an established individual. Create a story, go on Clubhouse meetups, talk about all things NFT with your friends, and generate a buzz. Apply for PR press, and send out memos. And become a thought leader in your topic.
Sooner or later, if you keep your game on, people will start gravitating to you because you will offer them value.
Your fountain of knowledge and experience will now produce a thick stream of good vibes, and people will flock. Suddenly, you’ll have the privilege to focus more on your creations. Rich people will buy your NFT. Your name will get out there. And maybe even Christie’s extends an offer to feature your art.
Who knows? Focus ahead, and continuously produce something new.
The giraffe in the room: are we boiling oceans with collectible JPEG images?
We have addressed elephants, zebras, and half of Africa in this odd metaphor. But the animal kingdom wouldn’t be complete without our long-necked friends, giraffes. In this old display, giraffes represent the environmental impact of NFT crypto art.
Are we paying a disturbingly heavy price for owning a JPEG image? The answer is not straightforward. As of today, a single NFT art exchange has yet to succumb to accusations of how NFT crypto art is destroying the environment.
SuperRare, a popular NFT market, claims NFT exchanges have no role in the vast energy expenditure and that CO2 emissions wouldn’t change even if we shut down all NFT projects. The University of Cambridge, one of Britain’s historically best research authorities, supports SuperRare’s argument. Cambridge has published a separate website addressing common cryptocurrency myths and stating that environmental concerns are vastly exaggerated.
Activists have a different story, claiming that something more sinister is at play here.
One NFT transaction leaves a carbon footprint equal to an hour-long flight. Imagine adding more transactions to the mix. Trading 100 pieces would produce 10 tonnes of CO2, dwarfing the yearly energy expenditure of a single European household. This argument puts NFTs in the same box as the world’s worst polluters, including fossil fuels and the meat industry.
Grimes — a musician, artist, and wife to the richest man on the planet — sold over 700 NFT copies in 48 hours, singlehandedly disrupting the climate beyond repair, according to climate activists.
Memo Akten analyses the carbon footprint of NFT markets in a long-form blog piece on Medium. His story is worth reading, even if you disagree with the premise. Many others share his concerns. New York Times also seems to be on a crusade of exposing the real danger of crypto markets.
What does all of this mean for everyday NFT artists? And are you a bad person for trying to make ends meet with money earned on the blockchain? These are tough questions. Let’s dig deeper.
Two reasons potentially fuel the debate
- Activists are running on emotions, misrepresenting climate readings, and failing to see the big picture.
- Auction houses and top universities are biased and oblivious to the real costs of decentralized markets.
We’re exploring both arguments in this story, hopefully contributing to the overall debate. But before we jump into both arguments, we have to mention two leading Ethereum protocols Proof-of-work and Proof-of-stake.
The proof-of-work vs. proof-of-stake debate
A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is an ERC-721 token that defines each token as being unique from other tokens on the blockchain.
NFT markets are mostly run on Ethereum’s grid. To prove ownership, you must control the private key that’s associated with the token in question.
Blockchain lets users create low-maintenance apps that don’t need much monitoring once published. These apps are decentralized and self-sufficient in theory. One app can travel and interact between websites, enhancing user experience and boosting workflow. Imagine Google chrome plugins that work on multiple websites. Good Annotations is a good example of a centralized app that looks almost like a decentralized one. The app lets you capture and annotate any website from your browser. You can then easily share your remarks, audit website elements, and collaborate with colleagues.
NFT markets are mostly run on Ethereum, the second-largest blockchain in the world. Ether powers the network. Think of it as a currency that helps things move around and information delivered to its rightful place. Miners currently produce and validate Ether through proof-of-work, a protocol that manages mining operations and generates consensus at scale.
This is where everything gets interesting.
Proof-of-work helps Ethereum’s decentralized network reach a consensus. The network users can communicate account balances and transaction orders, effectively preventing double-surcharges and loss of information. Similarly, Internet has TCP/IP and several other protocols that make the cloud go round.
However, proof-of-work has an immense downside. The network evenly distributes information across the nodes, which favors stronger computers. Miners have to buy better equipment and use more energy to compete amongst each other. Weaker miners organize into groups. And groups form mining pools to compete with other mining pools. Demand for high-end electronics spirals out of control, driving energy consumption and tech shortages. Gamers literally couldn’t buy new graphic cards because miners buy off entire market supplies. When AMD launched Radeon RX 6700 XT in March 2021, miners crashed the website and bought all the graphic cards within an hour. Here’s where the problem lies. High-end tech consumes more energy than your regular air conditioner and a washing machine. Electricity bills for mining are mindbogglingly high, forcing miners to relocate to Siberia, Mongolia, and in some cases, re-negotiate energy prices with the American government.
On the other side, we have the proof-of-stake (PoS).
Blockchain can effectively run on less energy. Units can stake Ether to validate transactions and forge blocks, giving wealthy participants more power over the network. The system seems grotesque at first. It favors the rich, after all. However, validators leverage their stake against fraudulent activity and lose part of leveraged Ether if they try to bamboozle with the system. If any stakeholder misrepresents your transaction, they’re pledging to lose money.
Proof-of-stake lets miners solve computational problems on little to no energy, as they don’t need to compete with energy-intensive computers anymore. Money talks now. The system would kickstart a new age in the crypto world, creating Ethereum 2.0. Blockchain then becomes more effective, faster, and flexible. And PoS primes Ethereum for a major expansion and possible entry to the mainstream.
This all sounds good, but here’s the catch. Crypto-critics have heard this argument too many times before. Ethereum Foundation has been promising Eth2 for years now, with the latest failed attempt to launch the network in January 2021.
Ethereum needs 16,384 validators willing to stake a minimum of 32ETH to launch the PoS network. Each validator has to pledge roughly $81,436 to join the grid. The total stake comes down to about $1.3 billion at the current price.
Compared to other financial institutions and banks, these numbers are not scary. Ethereum has already moved part of its grid to PoS, and that’s positive news. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founding father, now predicts the network would fully move to PoS by December 1st, 2021.
The environmental arguments can be put to rest if the largest blockchains implement PoS systems. NFT transactions could virtually spend less energy than the old lightbulbs in this case.
We’re not there yet, though. Let’s try to see how badly does crypto is affecting the planet at current rates. Are NFT crypto artists truly boiling the oceans?
NFT crypto art is wrecking our efforts in fighting climate change
Memo Akten spearheads the argument against NFT crypto art. He’s a London-based creative technologist and an established artist with more than one polarizing opinion.
His 22-min viral Medium article goes against all things NFT. The story has dominated the trending category on Medium in early March, almost 3 months after being originally published. The story is still making rounds, judging from the number of YouTubers, TikTokers, universities, and crypto exchanges sharing his ideas. Memo has been openly documenting his finding on several platforms, including FlashArt, Cornell University’s arXiv, and other, both peer-reviewed and more speculative journals.
“This lack of transparency is unacceptable” — Memo Atken
His story intentionally presents a one-sided argument. Memo actively fires back at NFT crypto art in its current form and calls for change.
“I’d like to make it very clear that what follows is not a general “all-sides-of-the-story” article, but focuses only on the CryptoArt/NFT Market from one perspective, which I believe has to be — but yet has not been — included as part of the conversation.” — Memo Akten
What is the argument all about?
Non-fungible tokens are energy hogs, according to Memo. Minting NFTs consumes a lot of electricity, and the heat from the mining rigs melts the glaciers and destroys energy grids.
Bitcoin runs on an energy-intensive network, and it’s responsible for 0,45% of total energy consumption in 2020. Bitcoin is the original and the largest blockchain system on the planet. The network can’t process or store data-intensive artwork, and all those efforts have been focused on the Ethereum network.
Artists can mint personalized ERC coins or even create whole blockchain systems that support NFTs. Personalized networks could potentially consume less energy if build well. However, building a new blockchain network would be a monumental task that’s unlikely to be sustainable for an individual. Even if you successfully organize your private blockchain, you probably wouldn’t have time for much else. The artwork would suffer.
What’s left then? Ethereum.
Ethereum’s ability to execute custom code and build smart contracts has been fueling the non-fungible world. Smart contracts allow artists to earn royalties on their NFT crypto art time over time and without worrying about the legal aspects of trademarks, copyright infringements, and other business aspects. You can deploy your NFT with a smart contract and make a cut of every future transaction.
However, a single Ethereum transaction is responsible for 61.7 kWh of electrical energy, or 2 days of regular power consumption for an American household.
Ethereum’s annual consumption for 2020 is pegged at 28.29 TWh, which compares to Libya’s power consumption, or equivalent to the environmental footprint of the Ivory Coast.
One NFT transaction is not the same as one ETH transaction, according to Memo. You have to Mint the NFT, transport the token, exchange it for money and then receive royalties every time it’s resold to a new owner.
Memo estimates that an average artist is responsible for 9,553 KhW, or 5,926Kg of CO2 emissions. The median numbers are lower, though. They amount to 3,143 Kwh or 1,950 KgCO2e. Most of the NFT market is not active and never sells a single copy, making it almost impossible to calculate the real energy expenditure.
Finally, the environmental cost of running NFTs on SuperRare (a popular NFT marketplace) is 6 GWh, which amounts to 37 thousand hours of flying, or 54 thousand years of using a laptop, according to Memo. This all sounds grim.
The real consensus is yet to be reached, as the majority opposes Memo’s sentiment. Memo is not a fool. He has put the time end energy into getting to the bottom of this argument. At least, he contributes to creating a truly sustainable crypto world. However, we disagree with his sentiment.
Here’s what we have found in our research.
NFT crypto art consumes less energy than literally everything else – including YouTube
Memo’s conclusions are scary, and nobody wants to contribute to the environmental catastrophe massively. However, his calculations are ambivalent at best. Here are a few clear facts that will put your mind to ease. You can easily verify everything in the list below with a simple Google search.
Crypto art is not killing polar bears, but almost everything else does:
- The entire crypto world is responsible for 0,7% of total CO2 consumption in 2020, at the time when the planet completely stopped driving, sailing, and flying. Everyone was stuck at home in front of their computers. The percentage of crypto’s contribution to total energy consumption can only dwindle from now on as factories, roads, and airports reopen.
- Watching Youtube contributes 5x to producing carbon footprint than running the whole crypto world with all of its tokens and applications. Youtube contributes 2,5% of total greenhouse emissions.
- Streaming the song Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Biber, consumed over 900 GWh in 2017. Youtube streams of Despacito emitted 150x more greenhouse gases than SuperRare, a whole marketplace for NFT art where thousands of artists trade their work.
- Meat and dairy consumption makes for around 14.5% of total emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Dropping meat for your diet only once a week contributes more to saving the planet than shutting down every NFT market out there.
- NFT art costs less energy than producing physical art.
Imagine a professional painter from Lower Manhattan. He’s sitting in his wooden workshop chair, adjusting his canvas and smearing the pallet with oil paint.
He’s ready to translate his ideas to reality. The painting comes to life some 17hours later. The artist is almost satisfied with his creations, but he knows he can’t be a perfectionist now. Nobody pays for wasted time. He has to ship the artwork, so he calls an established gallery and inquires about an auction. He shares the event online and accepts a few interviews. The auction house happily sells the painting to the highest bidder, who turns out to be an art collector from London.
Our painter can’t hide his smirk. People validate his hard work in intense exchange, and he makes enough money to pay off half of his mortgage. It’s a win-win. The painting finally takes off. Local couriers accept the package, transporting it to the nearest airport and across the Atlantic to its final destination in the United Kingdom.
What’s the total cost of a classic painting, including the canvas, paint, brushes, marketing, auction, and transportation? Well, it’s still less than a few hours spent on YouTube. The painting emits significantly less CO2 than a few weeks of eating burgers and drinking alcohol. The moral of this story is that we shouldn’t point fingers at one artist or the other, digital or physical.
We should be concerned about the environment. The potential implications of NFT art should come under scrutiny. But why are we pegging these narrow art fields against each other when they wouldn’t reach 1% of total energy consumption combined under the worst circumstances?
What can I sell as an NFT crypto art, and what’s the best NFT marketplace?
NFT are mostly collectibles in 2021, but the ecosystem will expand as more people adopt this technology.
- Tweets. Jack Dorsey sold his first Tweet for $29 million.
- Animated artwork with music. Grimes sold her WarNymph collection for $6 million. The collection features both music and animation.
- Pixelated images. LarvaLab turned $184.7 million with CryptoPunks
- Music. Kings of Leon generated $2 million from selling an album as an NFT.
- Magazine Covers. Time is sold an iconic cover from 1966 for $115 thousand.
- Video highlights. NBA Top Shots has grossed almost $300 million selling NFT clips of best-recorded shots in history.
- Youtube snippets. Logan Paul has made almost $5 million selling moments from his viral Youtube videos.
- Sports Cards. Luka Doncic’s card sold for $4.6 million.
- Books, blog posts, and other memorabilia are probably coming soon.
Here are the top places to place your art if you don’t already have a personal website or another solution for it.
1. Open Sea is the largest NFT crypto marketplace for visual arts and gaming collectibles
OpenSea is the first and largest NFT marketplace, focusing on visual arts, game items, and collectible graphics. The marketplace was first launched in 2017. It raised $27 million in Series A in 2021.
We’re hosting LondonPunks on Open Sea because the platform is friendly to use and lets you keep total ownership over your NFT crypto art. From creating the actual piece to listing it on Opensea can take as little as 15 minutes. The platform works with the Metamask browser extension. The extension makes it practical. Metamask is an ERC wallet that can also help your browser run Ethereum based decentralized applications (Daps). You can instantly access multiple Ethereum powered platforms around the internet with your Metamask. You can bet for CryptoPunks directly on LarvaLab’s website with your Metamask, even though the artwork is sold on OpenSea.
Metamask is a virtual carry-on wallet that is also a spyglass into the decentralized internet of tomorrow — if that makes any sense.
Back to OpenSea. The platform works hard to eliminate gas fees that are notoriously plaguing the NFT world. We have paid a total of $90 for two subsequent transactions to list our account on the marketplace. The gas price and quantity can fluctuate with great volatility. Every time I’d refresh the page, the listing price would fluctuate, reaching $180 at one moment.
Once LondonPunks were minted and listed, we could start any auction and add new offers without worrying about additional gas prices.
OpenSea has 3 types of auctions:
- Set Price. Sell at fixed or declining prices.
- Highest Bid. Auction goes to the highest bidder.
- Bundle. Group and sell several NFTs in one go.
OpenSea supports: JPG, PNG, GIF, SVG, MP4, WEBM, MP3, WAV, OGG, GLB, and GLTF up to the max size: 100 MB
Other popular NFT marketplaces for visual artists: Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, and Raible.
2. Valuables Let’s You Sell Your Tweets
Valuables is a simple yet highly effective marketplace for all things Twitter.
The page outline is simple, and many pages are published and shared as Google docs. Don’t let the outline fool you. The platform has more crypto bigshots than most other places on the internet. Valuables is the place where Jack Dorsey sold his Tweet for 2.9 million in March. Elon Musk receives offers for hundreds of thousands of dollars for his Tweets.
- Copy tweet’s URL from Twitter.
- Visit Valuables v.cent.co and insert the URL.
- Place an offer in USD; $1 is the minimum bid.
- Notify the creator that you want to buy their Tweet.
If you’re thinking about brokering Tweets, then Valuables is the place to be. Connect your account, and mint a buy, sell or mint a tweet with a single click.
3. Crypto.com is a new name in the music industry
If Napster murdered the music industry, then NFT biblically resurrected album sales.
Snoop Dogg, 3Lau, Deadmau5, Grimes, Jacques Greene, Tory Lanez, and Kings of Leon are all getting on with the NFT action. 3Lau generated $11.3 million with his latest NFT release, and if you’ve never heard of 3Lau before, you’re not alone. He is a 30-year old now millionaire DJ from New York.
Musical NFTs are usually bought and sold on private websites and auctions, but that could change soon. Snoop Dogg, Lionel Richie, and Boy George have recently joined Crypto. Although Crypto is not a marketplace exclusive for music NFTs, the platform shows great interest in giving musicians more options to monetize their NFT crypto art.
Crypto.com is first and foremost a crypto exchange platform, focusing mostly on blockchain’s financial side. You can open a crypto wallet, which is insured by FDIC insured for up to $250,000, making crypto legit in every regard, as a financial player. Crytpo is trying to untangle the tech-heavy side of the NFT world.
Kings of Leon have met with more than one hiccup trying to sell their first NFT album, mostly because users couldn’t figure out how to use crypto to purchase music. Crypto.com has announced a one-click buying method for credit and debit cards and a secondary marketplace for reselling NFTs.
“I love metaphors and mystery, and crypto sounds like klepto, so that makes me a crypto maniac. Art is like a partner? Can you live with it? Digital art is a new emotion, and it can be very musical. I’m mixing all of the things I do together, music, art, fashion, poetry, and anything else it leads to. I have stopped refusing to be influenced.” — Boy George
Crypto is focusing solely on a-listers and mainstream musicians for now. The standardized way of getting listed on Crypto.com doesn’t exist if you’re not a celebrity performer.
On Continuity – The Profitable Mindset For the Digital Age
Continuity is the mother of all creations.
Riding the wave of inspiration is the best soul-lifting moment for every creator. When your strokes come easy and words fly off the page, you know you’re reaching that flow state. The only important thing soon becomes getting the next word, stroke, or an idea out. Nothing else matters.
Sadly, inspiration doesn’t come every day and sometimes runs dry for weeks on end. Professional creators are not bothered. Do Olympic runners ever forget to run? They don’t. On some days, they run slower and feel chunkier, but that’s not stopping them from putting on running shoes and hitting the tracks.
Creating a narrative is similar. Continuity creates fertile ground and brings ideas together so that when raw inspiration hits, you already have everything ready to create a banging story.
Block non-negotiable time in a day to work on a story. Day one may be challenging, but day three gets easier. Day four may propel an arrogant episode. “I’ve got this, damn, it ain’t that hard after all.” Then, day five humbles you again. The process is never linear.
All Roads Lead to the Future
We hope this guide has answered some of your questions regarding NFTs.
Blockchain is here, whether people like it or not. Institutional money is entering the stage and buying off assets left and right.
We were huge Bitcoin skeptics, holding these technologies to ultimate scrutiny. I can’t deny the cryptographic revolution that’s playing out behind our screens. Think about the future. Could blockchain help you unlock your car and board a plane in the next two years? I’m taking a wild guess and saying that Boeing and Tesla are already working on its practical implications.
Blockchain is similar to the internet in the 80s. The macro of this new technology is already influencing lives beyond the micro-applications of individual coins and companies.
The world of NFT crypto art is thriving. The barrier to entry has never been lower than today. Individuals can become artists even if they don’t know how to hold a brush or sing on a beat. You are creative in your way and have a story to tell.
Blockchain and crypto are here to stay. The coins, companies, and fads may come and go, and many could lose money gambled in speculative markets. NFTs make no sense in the micro of things. But when we think about the next 20, 30, or 50 years, we can see the NFT technology as integral parts of humanity.
Maybe this is your chance. Maybe it’s not. Explore your options and decide for yourself.
Disclaimer: This is not financial advice in any way, shape, or form. Investing in NFT crypto art is extremely risky. Always conduct thorough research before buying financial assets.