Home Blockchain Can Anyone Become an NFT Collector? My Journey into the World of Digital Art

Can Anyone Become an NFT Collector? My Journey into the World of Digital Art

by Assessor

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For years, I’ve been collecting interesting pictures that I stumble upon online, saving them in a folder on my desktop. They serve as sentimental reminders of the things I’ve seen online, even though I know these images belong to the internet and can be shared by anyone. But recently, I discovered a new class of digital images called NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. These unique digital items can be owned and even sold for a profit. Intrigued, I decided to delve into the world of NFT collecting to see what it was all about.

The Rise of NFTs

NFTs have been around since 2017, but it’s only this year that they have gained widespread attention. Several NFT images and animations have sold for exorbitant amounts of money, capturing the interest of both art enthusiasts and investors. The highest price ever paid for an artwork by a millennial artist was $6.6 million for an animated gif of Donald Trump’s naked corpse created by an artist known as Beeple. These eye-popping sales have brought NFTs into the mainstream.

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A digital art collage by Beeple

The Concept of Ownership in the Digital Age

However, the concept of owning a digital image raises questions. Unlike traditional art, where owning a painting means physically possessing it, owning an NFT is like having a number on a blockchain. Anyone can take a screenshot of an NFT image and have the same experience as the owner, without paying a hefty price. So, what’s the appeal?

The Enigmatic World of NFT Collectors

To uncover the allure of NFT collecting, I joined platforms like Twitter, Discord, and Clubhouse, where NFT collectors and artists gather. I discovered two types of NFT enthusiasts: the “return on investment” collectors and the clueless hypebeasts.

The “return on investment” collectors aim to purchase NFTs that have the potential to go viral. They are interested in images that can spread widely online, increasing the profile of the artist and the value of the artwork. These collectors trade in vibe and clout, hoping to turn the NFT artists they invest in into influencers.

On the other hand, the clueless hypebeasts seem to make collection decisions based on aesthetic appeal and the “dankness” factor. They are drawn to NFTs that depict tech, blockchain, or meme culture and convey libertarian narratives. The value of these NFTs lies in their ironic quality, similar to the ideas behind modern art.

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Exploring the NFT “Marketplaces”

To fully immerse myself in the NFT art world, I explored various “marketplaces” like Opensea, Rarible, NiftyGateway, NFT Showroom, and hicetnunc. The options were endless, showcasing a wide array of bizarre and captivating images, from sirens playing Nintendo Switch to Van Gogh’s self-portrait with a Doge face.

A Dive into the NFT Community

After careful consideration, I finally found an NFT that embodied the essence of “dankness.” It was a gif representation of Elon Musk created by an artist known as Punky_Funky. The image depicted Musk wearing a face mask, his eyes glowing with rainbow colors, a gold bitcoin chain around his neck, standing in front of a rotating moon with the words “I am Mask” in the background. The cost? Just 0.0005 ETH, or 75 cents.

The Abstract Thrill of NFT Ownership

Although I acquired the NFT image in my Ethereum wallet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it didn’t truly belong to me. It was no different from the other screenshots in my collection. However, the abstract thrill of engaging with digital money and transactions was undeniable.

The Environmental Impact

Yet, the rise of NFTs comes at a cost. The energy consumption associated with putting NFTs on the blockchain is a significant concern. Some estimate that the average monthly energy use of an American citizen is equivalent to the energy used to place a single NFT image on the blockchain. As NFTs gain popularity, the environmental impact cannot be ignored.

Making Sense of the NFT Craze

So, how do we make sense of this art craze that burns energy and raises questions about ownership? Some argue that NFTs represent the early stages of a decentralized economy, where ownership and trading occur directly between individuals. However, it’s hard to overlook the timing of the NFT boom, which coincided with the tail end of the pandemic. It could mirror a growing sense of despair and a desperate desire for wealth in uncertain times.

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Ultimately, the NFT world blurs the line between the physical and the digital. As we become more accustomed to our screens, it’s challenging to differentiate between the two and determine what truly holds value. The world of NFT collecting is a fascinating mix of speculation, art appreciation, and irony, shaping the future of digital ownership.


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