In 2021, Vignesh Sundaresan purchased Everyday: The First 5000 Days by Mike Winkelmann for $69.3M at Christie's, and this confirmed a boom year for NFTs. Mike Winkelmann who is known as Beeple in the digital space says he created each art of the collection per day for 13 years. After Vignesh's purchase, the NFT market did not remain the same.
Historically, the appeal of digital art had been hampered by concerns from collectors on the peculiarity and rarity of digital works as a result of them being duplicated and easily distributed hence making them difficult to price and a possible poor resale value. However, NFTs, which work on blockchain technology just like Bitcoin, have proffered a solution to that problem. The blockchain technology on which NFTs work provides digital ledgers which act as irrevocable proof of ownership, and this ensures that the owner of such art is recognized no matter how much the art is redistributed.
NFTs aren't only limited to paintings; arts such as music albums — as in the case of WarNymphs by Grimes — can be sold as digital art. Big companies aren't left out of the digital art book as it is reported that Nike has registered a patent for tokenized shoes called "CryptoKicks". NFTs are making this possible by ensuring that creators and collectors can control the extent to which their art is distributed, manage the areas in which their art is displayed, and earn the fairest profit from the digital as possible.
The growth of NFTs collection has been rising exponentially since the turn of 2021. Nifty Gateway, which is still a long way from its goal of 1 billion collectors, showed a huge growth of $30,000 spent on transactions in March 2020 to $8,950,000 in September 2021, with the highest transaction per month pegged at $119,210,000 recorded in March 2021. This is only putting in perspective transactions carried out on Nifty Gateway, and not taking into account other digital art marketplaces such as Opensea.
NFTs also enable artists to establish direct access to their audience. There is no need for an intermediary, thus allowing quicker artistic relationships to be formed. This kind of connection helps artists determine what is considered more favourable and pleasing to their audience. NFTs alternatively ensure that artists keep on earning from digital art when it is resold. The artists are entitled to a percentage of any future sale, and this works best when the digital art rockets in value. An example of this was the recent windfall Beeple earned from the resale of his "Crossroad" animation which he originally sold for $67,000, but earned $660,000 when the initial buyer resold it for a record-breaking $6.6 million.
NFTs offer originality, reduction in interactions with traditional gatekeepers, and minimal display fee as compared to physical galleries' display fees. While a few have voiced concerns about the digital art bubble which might burst at the disappearance of COVID-19, population voices have continued to back NFTs as a pivotal instrument in the growth of the digital art market.