WTF is an NFT?! Amassing New Vocabulary in an Emerging World of Collectible Digital Art and Cryptocurrency on the Blockchain

By: Moe Angelo

Well, if you made it through that first sentence without producing a brain aneurysm, you just might have a shot at making it through this entire article. Maybe not. Regardless, I’ll do my best to paint this picture of the future in as relatable of terms as possible. I am by no means an expert, in fact I am absolutely a self-proclaimed crypton00b, but I have learned a lot in the past week of diving head-first into the cryptoart landscape. This is an attempt to explain what I have learned so far.

The art and music industries have been turned upside down. Global pandemic has all but completely decimated the live music and touring industry, and the ever-growing digital music and entertainment industries are rapidly advancing everything but their royalty pay-outs, it seems.

With the quick evolution of the music-streaming industry, artists were left with touring and merchandise sales as their only viable sources of producing the income needed to pay for the hits they were taking in giving away their music to streaming services for a fraction of a penny per play. The industry-standard streaming royalty rate was even coined “Pitties” by Vulfpeck‘s Jack Stratton in an interview about the state of the music industry’s streaming model.

Enter the cryptocurrency and blockchain revolution. In a super-condensed nutshell, the blockchain is nothing but a series of encrypted records stored digitally. It’s like a certificate of authenticity, a digital record of ownership, and a receipt, for every time an asset is transferred. Blockchain records can represent a physical object in the real world, or a completely digital asset.

str34m Revolution Cards #1 – Antifa Soup for my Family – limited edition NFT on Rarible

A theme common to most blockchain networks is decentralization, which is the opposite of most major banking systems, and the advanced cryptography has allowed for the development of digital currencies that are immune to manipulation by governments. These cryptocurrencies, the most notable of which is Bitcoin, have quickly become a new investment tool outside of the standard stock market.

Artists of all kinds are beginning to “mint” their digital artwork (even songs and albums) on the Ethereum blockchain network, the second most popular cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. Minting a digital asset as a Non-fungible Token (NFT) through any number of available marketplaces usually costs anywhere from $2 to $6 in Ethereum per piece (based on the amount available, price, etc). One whole unit of Ethereum is valued at $383.13 as of the time of writing, so minting a digital asset ranges anywhere from .0026-.0155 Ethereum (ETH).

Expect the NFT and cryptomarket to start exploding soon, as this technology catches on amongst more and more artists. One of the most prominent names in 3D digital art, Beeple, is launching his first-ever NFT collection in just over three hours from the time of this publication.

It’s quite shocking to see the vast range of prices that different NFTs will fetch, some raking in less than a dollar, while others can pull in thousands of dollars. To be completely honest, I really have no clue what I am doing, or what any best practices for minting and selling NFTs might be. I truly am digging in for some field testing, and will be able to report further in the future. I am including some links below to some great resources to get started in minting NFTs.

For more information on NFT cryptoart, check out this great resource.

Visit Moestradamus’ NFT galleries:
Moestradamus on Rarible
Moestradamus on Open Sea
Moestradamus on Cargo

Hue Shifting Abstract Mountain Orb in Moestradamus’ Rarible Gallery

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