5 Min. Read
NFTs (non-fungible tokens or “Nifties”) are potentially changing the whole digital art game. Wait, what? Let’s back up. NFTs are digital assets that span both tangible and intangible items, from collectible sports cards to virtual real estate and even digital sneakers. Once an obscure cryptographic art format, NFTs have exploded onto the global art scene and a whole new wave of digital art is being rapidly released and collected.
Digital art is often seen as cheap, easy to copy and generally a commodity. NFTs change that paradigm. Digital versions of art spanning all mediums are being stored and accounted for on different blockchains and wrapped in a layer of encryption to ensure both scarcity and the veracity of the original work. This has unsurprisingly taken hold among Gen Z digital natives, who are pushing the limits of crypto art alongside the Millennials who created the field. Here are a few of the most expensive NFTs to date:
- One of the OG CryptoPunks (#2890 from 2017), a pixelated alien face that is part of the original set of 10,000 generated images of pixel art punks created by Larva Labs, sold for 605Ξ ($750,000) in January.
- Justin Roiland, the co-creator of Rick and Morty, released “The Best I Could Do” collection on the NFT auction house Nifty Gateway, the artwork sold for over $1 million in the cryptocurrency ether.
- Mike Winkelman, AKA Beeple, made NFT history when he sold $582,000 of crypto art in five minutes, only a portion of his $2,238,235 earnings from selling a curated collection of crypto art over three days.
This NFT innovation swell isn’t just happening in the traditional art world, but also growing roots in the gaming space as developers and creators find new ways to make digital assets unique, scarce and collectible.
- Animoca Brands’ new game, The Sandbox, has the look of Minecraft and the feel of Second Life. An NFT they sell ($LAND) represents plots on which players can build within the game. Brand like Smurfs and Care Bears have already integrated into the game in fun ways.
- Axie Infinity is a decentralized, turn-based strategy game built on the Ethereum blockchain that takes influences from Pokémon and Tamagotchi where players breed, battle and trade NFT fantasy creatures called Axies. The governance token (AXS) is now traded on the global crypto exchange Binance.
What it means for brands:
We’ve seen Gen Zs revolutionize fintech over the last few weeks. The digital art and gaming worlds will be fertile ground for further market disruption by Gen Z art and culture consumers. The aligned generational values of transparency, experimentation, authenticity and progress run deep within the decentralized networks of NFT. Partnering with innovative artists, developers, makers and creators in the global NFT art community to bring new media and experiences to the world will be a key way for brands to stay relevant in this emerging space and beyond.