Art

The Art Market Needs An Attitude Shift Before Fine Art NFTs Can Truly Take Off

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Investor speculation towards NFTs is making it hard for the fine art industry to take it the NFT market seriously. Artists and buyers still need to make a “significant attitude shift” before they accept NFT technology on a broad basis, cryptocurrency exchange CoinSpot has admitted, even as some collectible ‘art’ projects spike in value.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the blockchain technology allowing individuals to prove ownership of digital assets, are yet to firmly establish themselves in the domestic fine art market.

This is despite the breakout successes of local artists like LushSux, who claim to have made tens of thousands of dollars selling digital images of their work, and NFT advocates, who say the technology will allow artists to reach new buyers while earning royalties with each successive sale.

Yet many of the most successful sales involve projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club or Pudgy Penguins — both of which amount to collectible avatars with randomly-assigned attributes.

Ray Brown, CoinSpot market analyst, said traditional artists and collectors must reassess the value of digital art before NFTs make a significant dent in the fine art market.

“For the NFT market to permeate the traditional art scene, we need to see a significant attitude shift,” Brown said.

Collectors are still focused on the “skill, materials and energy that are required to produce a physical piece of art,” he added.

In-person NFT art exhibits are popping up worldwide, with curators hoping to bridge this divide — and prove the value of digital art beyond outliers like Beeple.

“We may see NFTs or blockchain used to authenticate art pieces, but until the broader community sees real value in digital art, this transition may not occur in the immediate future,” he said.

As fine art tries to find its digital footing, NFT projects like CryptoPunks and its countless imitators have become hot speculative assets. A bundle of Bored Ape NFTs sold at auction for AU$33.6 million last September.

Considering the market’s volatility, and a flood of new projects hoping to capitalise on the collectible NFT hype, Brown says serious investors should proceed with caution.

“Institutional investors should also question why they want to invest in the NFT market,” he said.

“Do they generally have an interest in art? Or does it just align with their portfolio mission? Or do they just like digital pictures of cute animals?

“There is no right or wrong, it’s just what aligns with you as an individual.”