Non-Fungible Tokens what???

Column - Culture

Non-Fungible Tokens what???
Between art, NFT and culture



Aimee Marcos
Amy Marcos / Born in New York in 1979. The youngest daughter of the Marcos family who grew up in a household with many shoes. Based in the Philippines, he is active in multiple fields as a musician and journalist.



Until now, art has always expanded the limits of "normal" and functioned as a mirror that reflects the times. Ultimately, thinking about "what is art?" is also about thinking about how the world was formed, what state it is in now, what could happen in the future, and how it should be. Sometimes ambiguous and bizarre ideas are considered avant-garde, and art continues to be an indispensable part of their culture.

Furthermore, as we all know, art encompasses all mediums and is no longer confined to brush and paint, paper and canvas in the distant past. Perhaps that is why the abstract works of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollack are not appreciated by many people. No one knows what the real value of a gigantic swarm of spots on an unwieldy canvas is.

In such a trend, art has met and intertwined with digital, expanding the possibilities of digital itself. In fact, they may be merging. Digital has been and will continue to proliferate, at least as long as we are connected to any network or work with software or apps. And art may be able to fit comfortably within digital bits and data, become more closely intertwined, and be able to pave the way to its overflowing potential while increasing its value within it.

After a global pandemic that has lasted for over a year, we have recently started hearing about a new wave in both art and tech contexts: NFT. Is it something like bitcoin, an amoeba-like virtual currency that I don't understand at all? Or a currency dedicated to anything related to art anyway? In any case, is it a new movement that wraps art in a strange veil and fills the art world with conceited and twisted bastards?

No, it doesn't seem to be either. First of all, let's take a slow look at the definition of NFT, which I, who is writing this manuscript, has not yet grasped the whole picture.

First of all, NFT is one of the 50,000 acronyms in the world, which stands for “A non-Fungible Token”. So? If you look it up on Wikipedia,
“NFT = non-fungible token is a unit of data on a digital ledger called blockchain. No. NFTs can represent digital files such as art, audio, video, etc., and can represent other forms of creative work.While the digital file itself is infinitely reproducible, The NFT it represents is tracked on its underlying blockchain, providing the purchaser with proof of their right to own it.”

In other words, an NFT is a kind of license that certifies that it is an original work of art. The issuance process is similar to what an appraiser does for handwriting analysis, historical research, etc., but it is done with a code, that is, a token defined in the blockchain, and its value can be clearly proven on the market. It's how it works. The value that is proved there becomes the non-fungible token of the work, and it is bought and sold.

For example, there is an artist called Mr. X who has started to attract attention in the art scene and is likely to dominate the scene in the near future. He decided to create a 3D rendered wine glass piece. Inside this wine glass, pink liquid fluctuates, and the background is composed of pale yellow. At this point, Mr. X is the only person in the world who owns this work and decides to put a price on it. I registered with NFT on the blockchain, named this artwork “pink wine in yellow light” (laughs), and exhibited it. This priceless registration code itself creates value. Art collectors from all over the world start bidding on the work, and the price of Mr. X's work "Pink Wine in Yellow Light" is decided. On the monitor of laptops and iPhones, the collectors evaluate the works with their joys and sorrows.

Ignore the identification information of each asset and treat it as "digital data with an asset value of 1 million yen", unlike crypto assets that can be exchanged for other crypto assets or cash, it is the only one that cannot be exchanged for other equivalent works. Treated as the existence of NFT, it has the potential to surpass and redefine the existing dealership of the art world. You could say it's like COVID-19, which has redefined our lives and everything. Development in this new art world will probably lead to the revitalization of the art scene.
I believe that the underlying philosophy of NFT is to once again democratize the art world, which has been swayed by incomprehensible authority. Anyone with a modest amount of money and a computer can buy what they think is cool and incorporate it into their lives. Moreover, NFT can be applied not only to art works, but also to artistic things such as music, videos, and experiences. In June, a rock band called The Kings of Leon announced their latest album at NFT, and a certain sexy Japanese actress is reportedly offering a shared experience with her fans at a ridiculous price.

Not all NFTs are currently used for such collectible purposes. It is sometimes used to exchange certain items in video games, but because of this irreplaceable nature, it can become a versatile item, and has the function of adding value by identifying specific items. I have too.

Furthermore, one of the attractions of NFT is that artists themselves can add various added values ​​to their works, such as commissions at the time of secondary distribution, to the data itself. It will be possible to create a system in which the primary creator will receive a continuous margin, and there will be no need for an intermediate organization such as JASRAC to manage copyrights.
In addition, the aforementioned masterpiece “Pink Wine in the Yellow Light” has the master data exhibited at NFT. The author, Mr.X, still owns the copyright of the same work, so it is possible to exhibit variations of the same work as keychains. Variations may lead to a drop in the value of the original, but diluted works are based on a different decentralized token standard, and are unlikely to be affected by the original value.

Like the real world today, the cryptocurrency world is like a newborn foal still trembling and unsettled. I don't know how it will turn out yet, but there is no doubt that the NFT market, where art born from such a world can act freely, will lead to the development of fields for people who are interested in art. Isn't it?
In the future, I would like to see what kind of culture will be born from there, while presenting works at NFT first.

Published: almanacs Vol.01 (2022SS)



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