When Banksy sold the non-fungible token for his digital work of art “Everydays: The first 5000 days” for $69.3 million in 2021, the world opened its eyes to a fascinating new space that had been slowly emerging in the art industry. There was an intersection, as the rise of cryptocurrencies across the globe and the emergence of blockchain prompted an overhauling of structures in every industry. The world of art was no different, and gave rise to what would take over every conversation about art 2021 onwards - NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens.
What is NFT, or Non-Fungible Token?
NFTs became the next big buzz-word that changed the way people collected, curated and valued works of art, especially in the digital space. In essence, an NFT is a unit of data that is noted on the blockchain, and ensures that that particular unit of data is unique and cannot be interchanged for anything else in the market. It is a marker of authenticity, and of uniqueness. The kind of ownership associated with purchasing physical works of art had now been translated digitally, as each work of art with a non-fungible token provided the buyer of said NFT art absolute ownership of a digital asset, or in this case, a work of art created digitally and one that does not tangibly exist.
While copies of the work can still be shared freely, as can be photos and recreations of popular traditional works of art under the ambit of copyright, purchasing an NFT provides a stamp of ownership that had not been possible earlier for digital assets, or intangible digital works of art.
NFTs in India
The world has been enamoured by NFTs, and India is no different. India has seen a massive rise in the number of artists, ones that primarily worked in the digital sphere, now opting to create their own NFT art for sale in order to sell digital art in a way never done before. It has also caught the attention of Indian investors that are looking to venture into new and experimental investments, especially after the cryptocurrency boom and rise of NFTs in the west. Case in point - Delhi-based artist Amrit Pal Singh’s NFT art of Frida Kahlo’s face as a 3D toy rendition fetched a whopping 3.9 ETH, or about ₹6.6 lakhs.
ETH or Ethereum is the crypto currency that is often associated with the sale and purchase of NFTs, with most online marketplaces for NFTs dealing solely in Ethereum. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear of popular NFT artworks by established artists going for upwards of 200-300 ETH in the open market.
Digital artist Siraj Hassan is another that has benefited from the popularity of NFTs. His “Caged” series is one of the most talked about NFT artworks of any Indian artist, and captures perfectly the essence of what makes NFT art so appealing to the modern art collector. Beyond just the hype that drives its prices, NFT art is also a step forward into the future. We are a generation whose virtual lives are as rich and diverse and interesting as their real ones. And Hassan captures the futuristic aspect of “owning” digital art through his use of sci-fi and neon motifs, along with themes of isolation and mental health that colour his works. Owning an NFT is as tangible to the modern collector as is owning a physical piece of art to be showcased on a wall somewhere.
Then there is the matter of legality in India. Cryptocurrency world over exists in the grey area between regulated currencies and open financial markets. India has adopted a conservative approach to crypto, stating that there is need for regulation but that it is not illegal per se. So far, there has not been any official announcements about the regulation of crypto in Indian markets. And that bodes well for artists and investors that got in early in the crypto game and are able to capitalize on the lack of concrete regulation. This also makes India ground zero for the next wave of the NFT art craze, with Indian celebrities getting in on the action and generating buzz for NFT art and the Crypto Art movement in general.
How to Create NFTs?
Creating an NFT requires in-depth knowledge of blockchain and all related technology associated with setting up a unique data unit for an artwork. Artsome offers workshops for understanding and creating NFTs in collaboration with NFT expert Vijay Khubchandani. If you’re looking to gain insights into Crypto Art and create your NFT artwork, these workshops will help you get your footing and understand the world of NFTs better. Find more information on the NFT Advanced Workshop page on our website.
Future of NFTs in India
NFTs in India are an interesting and upcoming space, with a lot of potential for growth and returns. It is also a democratic space, existing separate from the monopoly of traditional art forms and stakeholders, allowing newer artists to venture into the world of art. NFTs and Crypto Art are the next revolution in the art industry, and it will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on in the coming years.