NFTs: How Licensing Technology Furthers Art’s Revolution

Humans have always loved making and displaying art. Deep within a cave in modern-day Spain lies a Neanderthal hand stencil that scientists have radiocarbon dated to 64,000 years – it’s the oldest known example of art anywhere in the world. 

Over the past 60,000 years, human creative expression has expanded into a plethora of mediums, styles, techniques and capabilities. One of the newer mediums is digital art: creative content that exists as a computer file and can be shared readily on the internet. In the past year, digital art has made headlines from the jaw-dropping sums raised at auctions; sums that could only have been raised using non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

A Beeple piece sold at Christies earlier this month for nearly $70 million by using an NFT; Twitter founder Jack Dorsey raised $2.9 million for charity by auctioning off his first ever tweet with an NFT. CryptoPunks, 24×24 pixel digital images and one of the first examples of an NFT, now regularly sell for anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000 – one even went for more than $1 million recently. Established artists are now moving in on the game. American DJ 3LAU raised over $11 million selling revenue rights to his new album, and incidentally, played at Kraken’s virtual holiday party in Decentraland – a NFT-based virtual reality platform. Market activity may have lulled slightly since the freneticism of late February, but it was still worth more than $33 million in the last week of March. Damien Hirst, one of the world’s most famous artists, has revealed plans for his own NFT project, which was still shrouded in mystery at the time of writing.

We talk about what NFTs are in detail here in our Kraken Learn Center, but at a very high level, they’re a type of virtual token that lives on a blockchain and includes a computer file for digital trading cards, in-game items, audio clips or artworks. Like bitcoin, they can be traded online or stored in a cold wallet. Unlike bitcoin, each NFT…

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