Every day, thousands of artists work on artwork to sell as digital tokens (NFTs) on online markets. Outsiders may question why anyone would pay anything at all, yet the market is booming, and the most popular items can sell for millions.
Artists like mumu thestan from Malaysia, on the other hand, think it’s a diverse terrain. In a telephone conversation, she explains, “You can’t approach the entire NFT group as one.”
Mumu, a 33-year-old illustrator who does not want to be identified by her true name, toils over her designs, which range from constellations of flashing pixels to gorgeous fantasy-style drawings of women and dragons, and sells them for a few hundred dollars each.
For the Lunar New Year, she created a beautiful animated tiger.
Mumu has worked hard to carve out a niche for herself, refusing to sell on the big exchanges due to their usage of the energy-intensive ethereum blockchain.
“The general public believes NFTs are about making a monkey picture or selling a jpeg for millions,” she said. “That’s not all there is to it.”
Artist David Leonard buys works by Mumu because he believes she performs excellent work and deserves community support.
“I want to be the kind of collector that I wish I had as an artist… He stated, “I wouldn’t want my collector base to be concerned with their bottom line.”
Code from a computer
There are no physical works of art involved in these transactions. Buyers pay using cryptocurrencies and receive NFTs, which are a one-of-a-kind piece of computer code linked to the artwork that is kept on a blockchain, a type of unchangeable digital ledger.
Fans are almost cult-like in their dedication, and technological sophistication is seen as a necessary aspect of the value. According to Chainalysis, the market for NFTs boomed in 2021, with sales worth more than $40 billion, fueled by high-profile auctions.
Any fears that last year’s pricing would not be able to be sustained in 2022 have already been dispelled: popstar Justin Bieber paid more than $1.3 million last week for an NFT from the “Bored Apes Yacht Club” collection.
The collection, which includes 10,000 cartoon images of apes with algorithm-generated variations in the background and other characteristics, had a banner month in January, selling dozens of NFTs per day for an average price of around $250,000.
Critics claim that massive transactions are driven only by profit, with major financial actors masking their intentions with technobabble and celebrity endorsements. One of the prominent tales surrounding NFTs, however, is that of speculators who make huge profits by flipping their assets. Social media hype and celebrity endorsements generate booms and bubbles.
CryptoPunks, a blocky collection of punks from the 1970s, was the must-have collection last year. Some sold for millions of dollars, with Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and YouTuber Logan Paul among the buyers. Now it’s Bored Apes – Bieber shared a selfie of himself as an ape with his 200 million Instagram followers, effectively promoting a line that has previously been lauded by tennis great Serena Williams.
‘Losing Money’ for Artists
Most NFT creators can only wish for such attention. According to software developer Stephen Diehl, a strong critic of cryptocurrencies, “the ordinary artist is actually losing money on their NFTs.” According to him, tiny businesses that produce single editions of original artwork typically pay out any profit in fees and charges – and those are the lucky ones that sell anything at all.
Mumu owes a debt of appreciation to her own celebrity endorsement: Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda is a lover of Mumu’s music. But the rest has been arduous – creating a large enough following through her art and activism to be able to devote her whole time to NFTs.
On Twitter, she has 13,000 followers compared to 600,000 for Bored Apes. This type of community-building has clear parallels with the traditional art market, where emerging artists often spend as much time cultivating a following as they do creating art.
Last year, Christie’s helped to solidify this link by selling an NFT by American artist Beeple for $69 million, making him the world’s third-most valuable living artist. The buyer might have gotten a Van Gogh or a Monet, both of which sold for similar amounts last year. Check out nft market news for additional information.