Satoshi Nakamoto created an alternative to avoid bank fees. Blockchain technology, which is now widespread, allows direct contact from buyers to sellers without involving any third parties. In the art market, this means a direct purchase from an artist’s studio, avoiding the mediation of an auction, gallery, or art dealer. Nakamoto’s goal in the alternative crypto market was to “bypass” bank intermediation, not the art dealer, but the essence here remains the same. Unlike money (which is administered by the world’s banks), the main difference is that art is already a decentralized value system consisting of art appraisers, institutions, art critics, dilettantes, art critics, bloggers, and coincidences.

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What NFT stands for?

NFT (Non-fungible tokens) is a unique currency or simply a unit of data, usually in the form of crypto art. 

The alternative market of value without the matter

Blockchain’s great desire is trading in value, not matter. All the users of the system partially generate the value. If you hypothetically buy artwork at the art student auction for 100,000 euros and pay the price through your bank, the transaction would most likely be rejected since the payment could seem inadequate, or you would be charged a fee. Meanwhile, buying the same work of art on the Blockchain system is easy. According to its users, if you are willing to pay that much money for a piece of art, it has exactly this much value. For the neoliberals, this is a model of ideal social equality and, for the socialists – a perfect form of technological fascism. Blockchain suggests that social networks can replace current currencies in the long run and remind us of the value of the network.

Chevanon Photography from Pexels

Why blockchain needs art?

You can replace ten euros with another ten, but nothing will change an artwork’s unique irreplaceability. That is why the blockchain needed it. As Berlin galleries in the 90s, required collaboration with alternative nightclubs and Berlin nightclubs expected the same from the art galleries twenty years later – the alternatives suddenly ran out of alternativity. And art, as an alternative but already valuable currency, can fulfill a promise that cryptocurrencies are unable to. It is a common thought that crypto art is a 21st-century online primitivism in the form of PDFs, GIFs, and TIFFs. While most irreplaceable tokens are digital, the technology can also be used to track physical assets (in order to prove their uniqueness). Buying value without the matter.

Why art needs blockchain?

Blockchain’s desire to create an alternative market has some serious challenges. So far, the most expensive NFT is an artwork by Beeple, sold at Christie’s auction for 69 million dollars. This shows that it is not that easy to bypass the system. NFT can be used as proof of ownership, but how often do you lose an artwork you purchased? And if collecting art means collecting value without the actual work, what is the purpose of artistic practices? New fascinating times ahead for long-distance relationships with paintings, sculptures, and installations!

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