The artist Kevin Abosch has sold a picture of a potato for $1.5m, made a neon sculpture inspired by cryptocurrency, and even sold his own blood on the blockchain.
So in many ways, entering the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was the next logical step for the 51-year-old Irish artist, whose work explores themes of digital currency and value.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are electronic identifiers that verify the existence and the ownership of a digital collectible. The technology has been around since at least 2017, and come as an offshoot of the boom in cryptocurrencies, which also run on the blockchain.
But the NFT craze hit frenzied new highs in March when Christie’s, the prestigious art auction house, auctioned off a digital collage by an artist who goes by the name of Beeple for nearly $70m, immediately making him the third-most-expensive living artist in history.
The seemingly meteoric rise of NFTs has many wondering why any collector would want to buy one, but for artists like Abosch, NFTs are helping to solve problems that have long been central to digital art: how do you claim ownership of something that can be easily and endlessly duplicated? And what does ownership of art mean in the first place?
n 2020, Abosch started working on a series of images that tackled themes of cryptography and alphanumeric codes. After several of his in-person shows were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Abosch decided now was the perfect opportunity to sell his work as NFTs. He plotted to auction them on OpenSea, the largest marketplace for the tokens, which sees 1.5 million weekly visitors and facilitated $95m in sales in February 2021 alone.
Months later, he made a profit of $2m from the series, all art that cannot be physically transported to a gallery or hung on a wall. It made him the most successful NFT artist on the OpenSea platform. When he spoke to the Guardian on the eve of the sale in March, he said the idea that a piece of art must be a physical purchase that can be displayed somewhere is quickly becoming outdated.
“Some people struggle with this idea because they want to know, what is it you actually own?” he said. “But people of a younger generation don’t struggle with it. It’s a very old-world idea, wanting to hold something in your hand as if the intangible or the immaterial doesn’t have value.”
An NFT auction works much like an online auction on platforms like eBay. Each work is displayed online as a jpeg file that contains metadata – which literally means “data about data” – about the work’s title, number, and who owns it.
Abosch’s 1111 series launched at 11.11 am EST on OpenSea, where he put up 111 works for a set amount of time. After the start of the auction, interested potential buyers go to the page for Abosch’s sale to bid on each work of art individually – in this case using the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
While the NFTs were sold on Opensea, the actual string of characters that attaches the owner to their new NFT is stored on Arweave, a software that fashions itself as a kind of permanent internet by storing files in perpetuity across a distributed network of computers so that they cannot be deleted or destroyed in the future.
Now speaking about NFT in Cardano technology, I have come across platforms doing really well in the sector. I have two big names on my mind. The first is Immunify.Life working in Healthcare sector and other is PhotoChromic doing good in Digital Identity protection.
Immunify.Life: Immunify.Life is a transformative ecosystem secured by blockchain with the mission to transform the landscape of health management and data utilization.
The project leverages the power of Big Health Data and Artificial Intelligence to ensure seamless movement of de-identified patient healthcare data. They have established a strong presence in Africa with a team that has over 60 years of combined experience in the relevant industries.
It is a world-first holistic and self-sustaining ecosystem to solve global health management crises and data collection challenges. Immunify.Life has designed a unique AI-supported incentivized digital disease health registry using immutable NFTs, and secured by blockchain.
PhotoChromic: PhotoChromic is the first intuitive, biometrically managed Self-Sovereign Identity system built on the blockchain. The protocol aggregates biometric liveness, government-backed identity, and unique personal attributes into on-chain NFTs that can be used for Web3 applications and on-chain verification.
The protocol’s intuitive self-sovereign identity system ensures a high level of security and allows for the self-management of users’ online identities. It also enables the verification of true biometric identity linked to one’s physical and digital assets.
Please feel free to share your views about these platforms.