The Defiant’s Guide to Digital Art & NFTs

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Do you recognize art when it’s right in front of you?

As the yield farming craze cools off, non-fungible tokens are undoubtedly taking the blockchain world by storm, making us question our ideas about art and —as is often the case in crypto— greed. 

Quick reminder: Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are cryptocurrencies meant to represent things, like art, real estate, in-game assets, limited edition goods like handbags or cassette tapes. Unlike tokens like BTC, and ETH, which are meant to be interchangeable and used like currency, NFTs are meant to be unique. Using the Ethereum token standard ERC721, CryptoKitties were the first of its kind.

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Here is The Defiant Guide to Digital Art and NFTs, produced by Robin Schmidt in partnership with Harmony Protocol.

The riddle for you while viewing is: can you recognize and seize art when it’s staring right at you across the screen?

NFT total daily sales are climbing, crossing $150k every day in the past month, the longest stretch since the height of the 2017 crypto bubble, according to nonfungible.com. Not only are people buying more NFTs, but the market is putting a higher price tag on them; average sales size has crossed $100 on most days since late July, nonfungible data shows.

The rising market has been fueled by a flurry of protocol launches and experiments. Notable mentions: MEME which rewards holders with NFTs by emerging digital artists, some of which have sold for over $30k; NFT marketplaces Rarible and MetaFactory introducing governance tokens; anonymous Twitter character Blue Kirby’s NFT sales reaching almost $1M; and most recently, Christie’s auction of an NFT purchased for more than $130k. 

Investors have taken note, with BlockTower announcing plans to invest $10 million into the NFT sector over the next six months, while Anthony Pompliano made the bull case for the art-based tokens and set out to invest in the space. 

But still, many are skeptical, questioning the value of digital art: How is it different from just taking a screenshot, some have asked, while others wonder about the practical use of owning a piece that lives in a computer and you can’t easily hang on a wall. Will these creations hold the hundreds of thousands of dollars in value that people are paying for them, or is it just a product of crypto hype?

The Defiant’s latest NFT-related stories for you to get caught up:

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