There is no doubt about it. Blockchain is here to stay. And what about so-called crypto art? That too. But first, let me share my personal experience, which is part of a journey of research, artistic and professional evolution. Just at the beginning of March, I completed the theoretical part of a Master’s program in Crypto Art NFT, promoted by IDI (Italian Design Institute), which lasted for two months and will continue for another two months, culminating in a final project work. This project is a fundamental step to put into practice the theory covered in the streaming lessons and to “touch” all aspects of blockchain technology related to NFT art. Among the teachers at the Italian Design Institute, I have the pleasure of remembering Massimo Ruotolo – COO of TOKENABLE Ltd, communicator and radio speaker – and Manuel Timperi – artist and co-Founder of the aforementioned project – both professionals who work in the sector, as well as Alisia Viola, curator of several artists including Andrea Crespi, also a teacher in the master’s program and one of the first crypto artists in Italy.
I will now try to explain in simple terms what I have understood about blockchain and what the advantages of this technology are when applied to the world of Crypto Art NFT.
“The acid test” will be to explain it to my parents (average computer users), in a way that can also be clear to a friend, partner, colleague, etc.
Some essential premises on Crypto Art, NFTs, and Blockchain-
What is Crypto Art?
By “art,” I mean art in a broad sense: design, painting, sculpture, music, cinema, photography, fashion, etc. Crypto Art, on the other hand, refers to digital and non-digital art made uniquely immutable through the blockchain. But we’ll come back to that shortly.
What is Blockchain?
When we talk about blockchain technology, we might imagine a chain of people (or online nodes) all connected to each other, verifying and validating the same information/transaction on a space shared by all, where there is no central “predominant and deliberating” figure.
Imagine a public square, in which each participant can give their consent to the proposal “X” under review, first verifying it and then validating it. It is the “distributed consensus” of all that confers authenticity to a certain operation/information: the community.
This is undoubtedly a beautiful example of democratization and freedom.
Going more into the technical side, I would add that Blockchain could be thought of as a “digital notary” that “records” a series of operations (automatically) and validates them worldwide, thanks to the help of three protagonists: cryptography (hidden writing), hash (an alphanumeric code that when translated can be an image, a photo, a music track, etc.), and digital signature.
What is an NFT, and how is it connected to Blockchain?
An NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is the digital representation of a material or immaterial good, whose uniqueness is ensured through cryptography, which prevents “copying”. The NFT is the digital DNA of a work. It is the “digital seal” of original artifacts that can be physical or digital. And, pay attention, what is at the base of NFTs? There is the blockchain technology that certifies their crypto-uniqueness and authenticity.
Here’s how Crypto Art NFT is connected with blockchain technology.
An NFT is a Smart Contract in every respect, meaning it is an intelligent contract regulated by computer functionalities and automatisms necessary and predisposed to guarantee contractual compliance, as well as manage the purpose of an asset, in this case represented by a work of art or a collectible.
Crypto Art, NFTs, Blockchain and their applications.
Now let’s connect the dots and give shape to the concepts expressed above with a concrete example: I create a digital artwork (which can also be music, video, a game, clothing, a real estate property, a painting, a photograph), and sell it online to Mario through a dedicated marketplace (Tokiplace, Supererrare, Opensea, etc.). The payment is made with cryptocurrency (ether, bitcoin, etc.).
The entire transaction is then recorded and validated using blockchain technology, to which a “Smart Contract” will also be applied that not only certifies authorship, the authenticity of the work, the parties involved in the transaction, the economic value, the time, the place and everything that will effectively and definitively transform the work into an NFT. An indispensable prerogative of such a contract will be to ensure the continuity of contractual conditions over time. For example, it will require the recognition of a fee to the artist for every future sale or resale by other collectors.
Another example: after a year, Mario decides to sell his NFT to Svetlana and, thanks to a new validation of blockchain technology, the artwork becomes fully owned by the new buyer. Someday, Svetlana will also be able to resell the artwork, and so on. Throughout these transactions, the Creator continues to automatically receive a Fee (percentage) in their digital wallet.
What are the advantages of blockchain for Crypto Art NFTs?
So, what can be inferred from the above example? Thanks to blockchain technology, it is possible to create and distribute NFTs freely, from person to person (peer-to-peer), without additional intermediaries (galleries, curators, lawyers, banks, etc.), accelerating the process and, above all, significantly reducing costs.
Another peculiarity of this technology applied to Crypto Art NFTs is that “the truth of others” (as Pirandello would say) is in the open: everything is tracked. From the transfer of ownership, to exchanges and transfers between multiple parties, without the danger of NFT copying. Where? On Etherscan – see it to believe it!
Well, if everything is clear, I would conclude with some final reflections.
One of these is the commitment to pay a Fee to the artist for each future sale or resale by other collectors.
Why is there so little talk about blockchain technology? Yet it’s not a new concept. What are we afraid of?
In Italy, it’s talked about, but only in specific contexts and environments. Years pass between hearing rumors and reading clear news in newspapers. Precious years for evolution.
This leads to ignorance and distrust. Skepticism is understandable in a country where mafia and tax evasion are unfortunately commonplace, but ignorance is not equally justifiable. It makes us skeptical and causes us to miss valuable opportunities for technological innovation and growth prospects.
Therefore, if the sacred need for transparency is to be met with rigorous control tools (there are state agencies and law enforcement agencies for this purpose), distrust must be met with a great action of information and education.
Who could be responsible for this? The regions, for example, that manage professional training. Where? In every territory, throughout the country.
Unfortunately, we are so accustomed to a vision of centralized action and control that the transition to new technologies will not be easy. But if not now, when? Keeping up can make the difference between benefiting from such a change or falling behind in the toxic fog of ignorance.