Can NFT crypto art become a new source of revenue for 3D artists and motion designers? Let’s explore the rising trend of NTFs.

The coronavirus pandemic turned everything upside down. A lot of traditional industries got erased in a matter of weeks. Sorry for the restaurateurs and gym owners! But look at the digital. People started working from home and businesses rushed to build and improve their online presence. This boom in digital activity triggered a bunch of amazing events.

More people opened up to online stock trading. This brought about the Gamestop fiasco: a large number of small investors pushed the stock price high, which caused major losses for short seller hedge funds.

Bitcoin’s price went through the roof reaching $70K levels, with experts foreseeing even more growth.

But selling a piece of digital art for $69 million crowned it all! Crypto art proved it was a lucrative enterprise. Let’s talk about it more in detail. Is crypto art a rising trend or is it a fad?

What are NFTs and Crypto Art?

First, let’s talk about Blockchain, a technology that powers bitcoin and all other crypto currencies. Blockchain is the technology that made NFTs and crypto art a reality.

What is Blockchain in simple words? Blockchain is a public electronic ledger that exists in a peer-to-peer online system. The electronic ledger is shared openly within the network of users. This distribution creates an unchangeable record of transactions. Each transaction is time-stamped and linked to the previous one.

Crypto currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum use the blockchain technology. Ledgers prove the ownership of the “coins”.

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are like cryptocurrencies in that they serve as proofs of ownership, too. Unlike cryptocurrencies, which are identical and worth the same, NFTs are unique. NFTs are attached to a piece of digital art, a digital asset like audio or video. They can be also used with other asset types, like digital coupons.

Think of the famous Mona Lisa painting. The only original is on display in the Louvre museum in Paris, France. All the other Mona Lisa images are copies and reproductions. NFTs are the digital Mona Lisas. There is one digital original and everything else is a copy.

Who Owns NFTs?

PROHBTD Digital Art

NFTs are a hot sell in 2021. But buying an NFT is a complex transaction. You can buy and sell NFTs on several specialized marketplaces (we will mention these later). When an NFT is sold, the transaction goes through blockchain for verification. Once the transaction is finalized, the buyer starts owning the digital piece of art. That doesn’t actually mean that the buyer owns the piece and the copyright for that asset. The buyer just owns the access to the NFT of the asset.

A NFT’s ownership can be bought and sold multiple times. This ownership is verified on the blockchain every time there is a transaction. But the original creator of the NFT is permanent.

This permanent character of the NFT gives the original creator a solid source of revenue. Original artists receive payments every time their artwork is sold. The more hands the piece changes, the more royalty payments the artist will get.

The now-famous Beeple, whose piece sold for $69 million in March 2021, has several hundred pieces that are constantly traded on the crypto art platforms. Each transaction gets Beeple a commission.

Crypto Art Marketplaces

So much publicity about NFTs has created a lot of interest about crypto art. But getting artwork on the premium crypto art platforms is not as easy.

PROHBTD Ahead in the Clouds

The premium and popular websites require an application process. It is very strict. For example, PRØHBTD, a rising crypto artist, mentions that SuperRare only allows 50-70 new artists per month (with thousands of applications sent each month). The other popular crypto art trading sites are: Nifty Gateway, MakersPlace, Known Origin.

New crypto art sites are popping up fast. Foundation is a new invite-only site, for example. An aspiring artist can also try Rarible or OpenSea that are free-for-all crypto art sites.

But don’t jump to submit your art immediately. Spend some time educating yourself about the technology. Learn how Ethereum works and read about digital wallets.  Twitter and Reddit are also good platforms to see the trends and read on popular questions and answers.

Beware of Costs

The crypto art platforms are for-profit companies. So expect fees to be charged. Let’s see what it costs to sell and buy crypto art and mint NFTs. There are charges for these three activities.

Gas Fees

As a user (buyer or seller) you are supposed to pay for the “fuel”. The most NFT platforms charge gas fees, which are payments for the computing power needed to process and validate transactions on the blockchain. The gas fee fluctuates depending on the time of day.

NFT platforms may also charge a gas fee for minting a token. There is usually a fee for buying and selling.

To buy or sell on an NFT marketplace users need digital wallets. Conversion fees between different forms of Ethereum are the other charges.

These hidden costs can pile up quickly and offset the initial gains.

Can motion designers monetize their art with NFTs?

PROHBTD Digital Artist
PRØHBTD, Digital Artist: Screenshot of their “Ahead in the clouds” digital piece.

NFTs are a newly born market, which does not have any regulation yet. Getting onboard is a definite yes for motion designers and artists comfortable with 3D. Not everyone will break through, though, but it’s an interesting experience and a great way to master one’s skills in something new and unusual.

Cover image and the other images courtesy of PRØHBTD. For PROHBTD, crypto art isn’t a form or style, it means liberation, democratizing access and tagging blocks on the chain. Check their digital art portfolio at https://superrare.co/prohbtd.