NFTs open up new opportunities for many

Rarible+is+an+online+marketplace+where+users+can+buy%2C+sell%2C+and+trade+NFTs.+

Nathan Lokenvitz

Rarible is an online marketplace where users can buy, sell, and trade NFTs.

Nathan Lokenvitz, Multimedia Manager

Being an artist comes with a lot of creative perks, but one of the major hardships of being an independent artist is determining a steady stream of income. 

One of the newer ways that has allowed freelance artists to make large sums of money in relatively short periods of time is the incorporation of NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) into the fields. NFTs are essentially pieces of online art that act as digital assets that generate value because of their uniqueness or rarity. They allow users to purchase ownership of the digital piece, usually an image, animation, video or art. 

What separates NFTs from other forms of digital art is that each and every transaction is recorded on the blockchain. Blockchains act as digital ledgers that can be used to record transactions or ownership of a product. This allows for every piece of digital art to have a completely transparent transaction history, showing at all times who currently has ownership of the piece. 

Blockchain technology has been around since 2008 and is most well known for its use with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Blockchain technology is decentralized, meaning that data is not stored in one central server location, but rather spread across a huge network of computers.

Every computer within the network is constantly verifying if the records are accurate, making sure that any block involved a transaction cannot be changed retroactively, without changing all of the subsequent blocks along the chain. 

Cycling back to how artists can benefit from the recent rise of NFTs, the concept is allowing a multitude of artists to sell their work for a hefty price tag. There are a few main sites that one  can create and sell NFTs on such as Rarible and Open Sea. To purchase NFTs off of these marketplaces, people must connect their crypto wallet to the website they wish to purchase the NFT from. 

NFTs are bought and sold primarily using the cryptocurrency Ethereum. This is because most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. While it does cost a relatively small price to turn a piece of digital art into a registered NFT and publish the work on these marketplaces, the return haul can be well worth the upfront investments.

So far the most expensive piece was created by an artist called Beeple, and it sold for a record setting $69 million in an auction. While most artists are not making millions of dollars off of these, the concept of NFTs has allowed for many smaller artists to get their name out there in the marketplaces and make relatively good money depending on what the pieces sell for. 

Senior Srikanth Ganesh has had some experience with cryptocurrency, and recently heard about NFTs. “I think this has opened the doors for a lot of young independent artists that want to get their work out into the open and make a name for themselves, while being able to support themselves from the money they can make,” Ganesh stated. 

It has opened up a new industry for creatives to explore and expand upon, offering a way for artists to ensure that their art is never replicated or stolen while still being able to make money off their work. 

“I think it’s very interesting to see crypto technology be infused with something as versatile as art. I believe that there are pretty much endless possibilities as to how crypto technology, specifically blockchain technology, can be implemented into other industries,” Ganesh said. 

In addition to creating new opportunities for artists, NFTs have also attracted the attention of some big name companies that want to experiment with them. Pizza hut recently dropped a digital slice of pizza on Rarible and sold it for around $8,000. 

Pringles also jumped in on the NFT hype and is auctioning off 50 limited edition pieces of animated artwork to advertise their new flavor CrytpoCrisp. These are just two of the many companies that are experimenting with incorporating NFTs into their marketing campaigns. 

Whether big companies will actually incorporate crypto related technology into their marketing schemes in the future, or if they are just hopping aboard the bandwagon and playing around with the concept for a short term thing to get publicity, there is no doubt that the hype is on NFTs right now. 

Senior Akash Pradeep has been following NFTs for a short while now, and has been fascinated by the overwhelming attention the concept has recently been receiving. “I’m not sure whether the concept will stick around for awhile, or whether or not people are just having a lot of fun with it right now and trying things out. Either way it will be interesting for both creators and collectors to see how all of this plays out in the coming years,” Senior Akash Pradeep said.

NFTs have created new opportunities for so many people in such a short amount of time, and they have opened the door for a wide variety of industries to incorporate crypto technology into their businesses. Only time will tell how large of an effect NFTs really have on the creative community, as well as the rest of the world.