New art forms are inevitable. So are reactions like, “That’s not art!” usually accompanied by incredulous pearl-clutching. But for those in the know, art is what we make it. And today’s definition of digital art very much includes NFTs. Particularly if you’re inside the Metaverse.
And inside the Metaverse, everything is digital. Will the growing Metaverse be real? Undoubtedly. If you can ‘go’ to a website or social platform, you’ll ‘go’ to the Metaverse too. So, the perception that only items in the physical world are real will continue changing, primarily for the initiated early adopters of VR, AR, and MR technology. It’s a philosophical conversation we expect to continue for many years.
So, we haven’t seen the end of objections about digital art not being real (or art) and NFT ownership not being necessary. But those statements are being made because the trend is happening. Many people want NFTs. We would even argue that NFTs are necessary to help us deepen our relationships in immersive communities and enable us to evolve out of the cluttered world we’re trying to leave behind.
Are NFTs actually real and/or art?
You don’t have to spend much time exploring the Metaverse to start understanding why NFTs (art and more) appeal to their collectors – along with a sophisticated perception of what both ‘real’ and ‘art’ mean in the Metaverse.
In the coming years of Metaverse expansion, discussions of what constitutes reality may be one of those agree-to-disagree topics for some time. If you’re a gamer who has ever coveted a piece of loot, you don’t need to be convinced that a digital item exists. Can you hold it? Not with your physical hand, but again, if you’ve entered the Metaverse, you’ve done so with an avatar, who absolutely can hold your digital item. So, the more relevant question is, will you spend time convincing someone who disagrees with you that a digital item is real?
And part two of the discussion is, do NFTs qualify as art as well as being real items? Again, the answer rests with the individual, affected by perception and belief. Those influences will change, in time, and someone who was a skeptic last week may already have expanded their viewpoint.
Nyan Cat as a case study
Exploring what makes NFTs a viable art form can be done by looking at some of the most prominent sales. Take for example the story of Nyan Cat, referenced in the title of this post. It was originally created as an animated gif and posted to YouTube (video below) in 2011. It’s a relatively simple pixelated image of a cat with a toaster pastry body, flying through water or space on a flowing rainbow. All accompanied by a now infamous refrain of meow-singing.
In February of 2021, Nyan Cat was remastered and sold as an NFT for the equivalent of $587,000 USD. To confirm that a pixelated gif is now worth over half a million dollars shocks many of us. More shocking to many, is that this valuation is for a strictly digital file. There is no Nyan Cat hanging in a gallery surrounded by bulletproof glass. No, it’s protected by something arguably more secure. A blockchain token.
What makes NFTs valuable?
In the end, the more pertinent point regarding NFTs may be that, regardless of whether or not you perceive them to be real or art, many of them are undeniably valuable. But why? The answer starts with scarcity. Being minted as an NFT makes an item not just secure, but the ownership verifiable to an unquestionable degree.
Ask yourself, is there an art collector somewhere in the world who would vie for the privilege of being declared the owner of the Mona Lisa? In this scenario, despite having a single private owner, no one would ever lay their physical hands on the Mona Lisa. The owner would view the iconic masterpiece like other art lovers, from a distance while it remained under lock and key. If you think the answer would still be a resounding, “Yes!” then you can understand why a collector would want to be the name attached to a sought-after NFT.
And once a collector has one NFT, the likelihood is they’ll want more. After all, one piece is hardly a collection. It’s worth including a reminder here that, like other art investments, NFTs carry some risk. If you’re building a personal collection, you probably don’t mind too much if the values of your treasures fluctuate. So, if you’re looking strictly to flip NFTs for a profit, you might have some ups and downs.
How are NFTs expanding beyond art?
The applications for attaching blockchain tokens to digital items are still being explored. Alongside art NFTs, collectibles like 3D sports cards (sometimes enhanced with score clips) or other memorabilia have developed a following of their own. We’re also seeing NFTs in the form of songs, written stories, concert tickets, backstage passes, even meeting pass codes.
As the Metaverse expands, expect to see more digital items in a Web3 framework created with the intent of using blockchain technology. In the future, we do expect to see the average person interact with an NFT of some sort if they enter the Metaverse.
And everyone will access the Metaverse. Some will spend more time there than others. But if the Metaverse is the future of the Internet, consider how many global users that space will see. We still don’t know exactly what the tipping point will be that shifts perception of being online or being on the Internet as being in the Metaverse. It’s even still possible that both spaces will coexist, overlapping like a Venn diagram. It’s these ‘what if’ possible outcomes that make Web3 development and the expansion of NFTs such an exciting field right now.
NFTs for your future self
You may be reading this post because you’re curious about NFTs. And yet, you still can’t see yourself owning and/or ‘using’ an NFT. You might not be today’s early adopter, but we encourage anyone and everyone to keep following NFTs and the Metaverse. Or maybe you’re already hooked and you’re wondering how to talk to someone in your life who either can’t understand the appeal of the Metaverse.
Consider the example of the smartphone. Most forerunners of the breakout iPhone were largely disregarded by the public. And then in 2007, we all saw the smartphone product that would literally change the world. Not all of us knew in 2007 how ubiquitous smartphone ownership would become. Like the television and the home computer before it, some people leapt onboard excitedly, others hung back with either skepticism or fear.
If you’re in the position of having to explain and/or defend your interest in NFTs today, have patience when you think about how people who are meant to catch up will do so on their own. It’s only a matter of time.
How do you acquire an NFT?
Regardless of what kind of NFT you’re interested in, the place to start is an online marketplace. These are the sites where NFTs are bought and sold, primarily with cryptocurrency. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to set up a crypto wallet. And you can interact with other collectors and creators on a platform like OIX to get familiar with the NFT world before you take the plunge and purchase.
If you’re a creator wanting to sell only rather than buy, you’ll still need that crypto wallet. You’ll need a little currency to mint an NFT as there is a gas fee to cover. Also, we think that as you build relationships with other creators, you may want to purchase from a fellow creator to support their work. Yes, some currencies are pricy at the moment, but if you choose an NFT marketplace that supports multiple currencies, you’ll have a few more accessible options.
A new kind of NFT marketplace
If you’re new to NFTs, great, we’re delighted to have you. It’s an ideal time to get involved. And at OIX, this is the reason we’re building a whole new kind of NFT marketplace. Start with a profile and learn from other users. Take your time and observe or dive right in and start minting all kinds of NFTs.
We are all in the right place at the right time at OIX. We are creating a decentralized platform for anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of the Creator Economy and its role within the Metaverse.
OIX is community-oriented, inclusive, welcoming, and growing every single day.