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Why are traditional artists afraid of the NFT?!

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

While working on a 10K NFT collection of arts by traditional artists, we came across a seemingly startling fact: traditional artists are panic-stricken by NFT.

This is what artists say about collections: “When I think about NFT, I see those stupid moving images of cartoon animals with earrings smoking a blunt for 1M. It’s all kitsch.”

Let’s get to the bottom of this scare bit by bit. From our experience collaborating and just talking with traditional artists on the subject of NFT, we can identify three of the most pressing problems that prevent creators from moving into this large and unrecognized digital art world.

The Main Obstacles

The largest percentage of refusals to translate paintings into NFTs is due to a lack of knowledge of the English language. It's no secret that artists create paintings all over the world, even in places where there is no internet or even a computer; art always finds its place. Sometimes, in these remote and secluded locations, it has surprisingly distinctive qualities. Ignorance of the English language among artists is the primary reason for the apprehensive view of new technologies.

Typically, a lack of language proficiency is accompanied by poor internet skills. How can we discuss new technologies if the process of registration and searching for specific websites is challenging for the creators? While the language barrier and poor internet skills can be estimated at 50% and 30%, respectively, the most significant factor contributing to NFT rejection is the lack of understanding of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFTs as a concept.

Add to this the intimidating words such as "scam," "spam," and "bots," and that's it—the artist immediately picks up their brush and shoves their computer under the table, only to currently use Instagram successfully. Nevertheless, there are already news stories of a businessman burning a painting by Frida Kahlo to draw attention to NFTs. Artists hide their paintings in the darkest corners of their studios, fearing that their work might meet the same fate as Frida's painting.

However, let's still make an effort to open our eyes wide and understand the possibilities of NFTs and the reasons behind them.

NFTs Were Created for Art

In an article in The Atlantic about the 2014 New York hackathon, Anil Dash, CEO of Glitch, describes how he and artist Kevin McCoy created 'an early version of a blockchain-enabled medium to claim ownership of the original digital element.'

NFTs were conceived for art to protect copyright on the Internet. Through non-fungible tokens and smart contracts, artists can embed their identity into the creation.

In addition to obtaining a certificate of authenticity and ownership of the artwork, in some cases, other rights are secured with NFTs, such as the ability to print the painting, access information and services related to it, become a member of a closed community, and more.

NFTs are used as a tool for artists to regain financial control over their creations. Some are already successfully utilizing handy smart contract features like royalties. However, it will still take a while before artists begin using it on a large scale.

The historical development of information technology has always initially frightened people. Let's imagine the first prehistoric painter with a brush-stone in his hands. His admirers came to his cave wall painting exhibition and shared their vision:

"Someday you'll be posting your work on Instagram..."

"What is Instagram?" the artist asked.

"It's a platform where people look at each other's pictures, like them, and leave comments."

"Are they evil spirits?" the artist asked, and he stopped organizing rock art exhibitions to avoid hearing more stories about evil spirits.

The comparison, of course, is exaggerated, but consider how relevant it is. Even if Leonardo da Vinci were asked to post pictures on Instagram, he might have thought it was influenced by "the evil one."

Certainly, everything has its time, and the fact that nowadays any artist posts their work on Twitter or Instagram would have seemed impossible even ten years ago. Back then, exhibiting paintings required gallery halls and nothing else.

Digital collections represent a temporary rebellion of society against all that is beautiful and emotional. Naturally, the new digital technology was readily embraced by digital artists who, at that time, lacked any tools to protect their copyrights. NFTs quickly dominated digital collections, which significantly discouraged traditional artists.

Upon reflecting on this fact, which has been confirmed by our team, we understood the exact reasons:

The abundance of digital art on NFT platforms is undeniable; 99.9% of NFTs consist of digital art.

Evaluating the quality of the art presented on NFTs is nearly impossible from the perspective of traditional artists; it's almost agonizing.

However, let's consider the historical development of other information technologies from a statistical perspective. It wasn't business corporations or educational platforms that first utilized the Internet, but rather resources with explicit adult content. Only later did the world recognize the immense possibilities of the Internet. Now, we can't imagine our lives without it. Such examples abound in information technology. Even the nature of human physiology resists change; that's how our brains and bodies are structured. But without complex changes, our world wouldn't have achieved the heights of development we've reached today, where artificial intelligence is rivaling natural intelligence with its knowledge and skills.

Trends in NFT technology are shifting towards physical objects. The world is flooded with good news about NFT development, and it's coming daily—soon, it might even be hourly. Such rapid advancement is anticipated for blockchain and NFT technologies.

Let's start with an industrial example. LG is introducing NFT support into its smart TVs. It won't just be possible to watch and display tokens, but also to purchase them directly through the TV. A QR code and a cryptocurrency payment app will facilitate these purchases.

Now, let's move on to something near and dear—food! 😊 Chef Vikas Khanna, creator of the most expensive cookbook (which, by the way, costs $13,000 and weighs 16 kg), will be publishing his new cookbook on an NFT platform.

Speaking of mood, let's continue discussing that. 😊 Johnnie Walker, a whiskey brand with a two-hundred-year history, is launching an NFT collection of rare scotch from now-closed distilleries. And here's the kicker! Buyers receive a "physical copy" of the token, access to a branded edition, and the privilege of conversing with the master blender. Johnnie Walker isn't the only whiskey brand making its mark in the NFT world.

And these are just the most recent updates. The prevailing trend of technology is moving squarely towards the physical realm. Blockchain presents an incredible opportunity for creators to receive royalties for their work without the complexities associated with traditional control over sales agreements. This is something that artists lacked before this technology. Now, blockchain manages the terms and conditions. Artists, how often do you receive royalties when your paintings are resold in the real world?

However, the most groundbreaking news from the NFT world is South Korea's announcement of issuing passports for its citizens using this technology. This decision follows a successful experiment conducted by South Korean universities, which started issuing NFT-formatted education documents to graduates in 2022, making them virtually impossible to forge.

The art market is increasingly embracing NFTs. The widespread adoption of NFT capabilities is already evident, but what about the art world?

It's impossible not to mention the Uffizi Gallery, which boldly stepped into the world of new technologies in 2021. A Rembrandt painting was impressively sold. Following the Uffizi's lead, the Hermitage took an even bigger step and successfully sold NFTs for five paintings from its incomparable collection. In both cases, only the rights of enjoyment, display, and resale were sold.

It's known that immediately after these successful transactions, several Italian galleries entered into agreements with NFT agencies to transfer their paintings into NFTs, which suggests that there will be more sales.

In early October 2022, the Vincent van Gogh Foundation announced the launch of 84 NFT copies of the master’s paintings in a 3D painting animation project.

During the same period, the Museum of Modern Art in New York decided to acquire NFTs for its collection, justifying this decision by the urgent need, post-pandemic, to have a broader presence in the online world.

With museums and foundations taking risks and achieving success, why are artists still apprehensive?

NFT technology is constantly evolving to meet the emerging needs of creators. Let's begin by understanding and establishing the knowledge that NFT is a technology enabling us to trace the lifespan of any digital file recorded on a blockchain and providing that file with a guarantee of authenticity. One crucial need in the art world is combating counterfeiting. One might assume that this issue could have worsened with the advent of the technology, but the opposite is true!

For instance, MarqVision has launched artificial intelligence development to detect counterfeit and fake NFTs. This move adds significant strength to the fight against theft, plagiarism, and counterfeiting. The foundational value of NFTs rests on trust in authenticity. This shared and easily accessible record makes fraudulent buying and selling of information more difficult. NFT ownership encapsulates the entire history.

Thus, NFTs can serve multiple functions simultaneously: a means of asserting rights to a digital object or work, an object of exchange and speculative trade, and a form of virtual exhibition. Due to its inherent properties, a digital token can indefinitely store data about a work of art and accrue additional value over time.

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