While the NFT market is in decline, crypto art players continue to believe in it, and decline the creative possibilities.
Between the fall in cryptocurrency prices, the drop in the volume of sales of platforms like OpenSea (which have lost more than 90% compared to their highs of a few months ago), and the countless thefts, scams in all like defaults on loans secured by NFTs or selling at a loss, owning NFTs is not good these days. Not surprisingly, in any financial market, what goes up must come down. We are in a declining market after the speculative bubble of 2021. The market has slowed down, but is also less unstable, allowing artists and collectors to readjust their expectations in terms of price, speed of sale and resale.
But the artists, collectors and project starters who believe in technology and community are still there. The former are enthusiastic about trying out new digital tools. The so-called collectors diamond hands (willing to take high risks for volatile investments, editor’s note) still support artists (as opposed to paper hands in crypto-financial jargon). Finally, as Jason Bailey, founder of ClubNFT and Right Click Save recently pointed out, the most interesting NFT projects (CryptoPunks in 2017, SupeRare & KnownOrigin in 2019) were launched when the values of cryptocurrencies were down, time conducive to innovation and creation in the absence of constant pressure from the markets and speculators.
Another interesting phenomenon to note is the maturation of the NFT market through its segmentation. The major annual NFT.NYC conference, the last edition of which took place in June 2022 in New York, is proof of this. For the first time, the different applications of NFTs were clearly defined, and physically separated: a space for gaming, another for art and a third for music. The hundreds of side events were even more revealing: more artistic events than parties bling bling. Note for references an exhibition at the Alliance française, organized with the help of the New French Touch (a company that promotes the French NFT scene, editor’s note), another at the Pace Gallery, in collaboration with Art Blocks, or the gathering of the community of crypto artists dada.art around a surreal party.
We are also starting to see the adoption of the NFT format by the traditional art market. More and more established artists are getting into NFTs. Marina Abramović launched on July 25 on the blockchain Tezos its first NFT, The Hero, a reimagining of one of his autobiographical videos. Frank Stella launched his first series of NFTs, Geometrieswith Artists Rights Society on September 8, and MetaKovan, owner of Beeple’s work sold at Christie’s, commissioned a virtual reality work from Olafur Eliasson titled Your View Matter, associated with a series of NFTs. Likewise, galleries are beginning to represent crypto artists. We can mention the artist Sarah Meyohas, who launched the conceptual project Bitchcoin (2015), and is now represented by the New York gallery Marianne Boesky. Finally, partnerships between crypto actors and those of the art market are multiplying, such as that between Pace and the generative art platform Art Blocks, the collaboration between the blockchain creative Tezos and the Art Basel fair or even the merger of the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Right Click Save for education.
In addition to the expectation of new announcements of strategic partnerships, the fall will undoubtedly be colorful. Several trends are to be watched, starting with “The Ethereum Merge” announced for September 15, which is the passage of the blockchain Ethereum has a new type of operation that is more environmentally friendly called “Proof of Stake”. Beyond the technical challenge, preferences should be confirmed, such as photography or generative art. We must keep an eye on poetry, for which the collective TheVerseVerse presents collaborations between poets, visual artists and artificial intelligence. Or the evolutionary architecture of the metaverse, launched by Krista Kim and her Mars House last year, and which continues with the solid generative buildings of 0xfar or The Meeting Place, a collaborative virtual cultural space imagined by Benny Ohr and the French artist Cyril Lancelin in the Spatial.io metaverse. Actor Anthony Hopkins also launched his series of NFTs, saying: “NFTs are a blank page for artistic creation”. Everything has to be done.