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What Is an NFT?


An NFT combines four elements: 

(1) A piece of digital media. This can be a photograph, digital art, a video, a 2d animation, a 3d animation, a song, or even a compilation of several of these forms.

(2) “Wrapping” the digital media in a piece of code with additional information that is then placed on the blockchain - a decentralized, digital ledger of every single NFT produced, along with any transactions or transfers of that NFT.


(3) Payment for the NFT (when transacting) with cryptocurrency, most often Ethereum. 


(4) A smart contract attached to an individual NFT item or an entire NFT collection. These smart contracts set the terms for usage, price and royalties, including participation of multiple collaborators in the commission structure. It also allows, and has been heavily used, to attach artist commissions for sales beyond the primary sale and from the secondary market. This means that most artists releasing NFTs will earn a significant percentage on the primary sale, as well as a lower percentage on every subsequent resale (i.e. if the first buyer sells it to another individual, or if an auction site acquires and sells it). 


These four characteristics differentiate NFTs from other cryptocurrencies (i.e. Bitcoin), since each NFT is unique and different from every other NFT (even if multiples are produced for the piece of digital media, each one has a unique code attached to it).

Why Is NFT Gaining Momentum in the Art World?


Artists are leveraging the NFT arena to offer and sell brand new digital works or digitized versions of their offline works in NFT marketplaces. These marketplaces both facilitate the primary sale directly from the artist and/or producer, as well as the resale of the NFTs in the secondary marketplace. (Read: eBay for digital items with a sophisticated payment and documentation structure.)


Additionally, by placing art on the blockchain via NFT, artists are automatically producing a digital COA that will document the provenance of the work, the important notes about the work and all the transactions and/or transfers of the work. 


Several artists have received a lot of success in the NFT market, generating a lot of buzz as well as entrance into the space by the traditional, institutional art players, such as Christie’s. 


While the headline of the following article is about Christie’s and Mark Cuban’s support of NFTs, it also provides some great background information:

Why is Modern Adding NFT as an Option to Augmented Art & Prints?


There is a big demand, both among artists and collectors, for a physical, viewable, experiential manifestation of NFT art. They don’t want their NFTs to be hidden and locked away in digital wallets.


We partnered with Art House on a common vision - that the purpose of art is to emotionally move, inspire and spark ideas. And since augmented reality is literally the merging of the digital and physical, we decided to offer our platform to creatives, as a way for them to within minutes add unlimited amounts of digital layers to originals, prints and merchandise. From motion art layers to timelapses to 360 studio tours and more. 

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