Would you pay $3.9M to be the official owner of this image? Not a print, not a painting...this exact image. Right-click → save, and anyone has it on their computer...but only you are the actual owner.
Would you pay $3.3M for this?
Or $270k for this?
Most people's first reaction to NFTs is disbelief. Obviously. But most people don't invest in art regularly. For those involved in the industry of art and collections, NFTs make sense. They might love it, or they might hate it. But they understand it. Even those who hate it do so because they get it. They mean something to them.
Love and hate belong to the same side of the coin, and the other side is indifference.
When Sotheby's auctions Bored Apes (literally, illustrations of bored-looking monkeys), they understand what’s going on. They have been selling perfectly easy-to-copy pieces by Warhol for decades. They know art is a marketplace for unique stories, experiences, and ideas. So who cares if they are made of paint, bronze, ink, or pixels?
It's been a long time since art stopped being about raw talent and technical prowess. Especially when it behaves like a product within a market, its added value is sending a message. Oftentimes that message is as simple as "I own this" Art is an asset that shares many properties with other financial products (it can be traded, exchanged for fiat, it re/devaluates...) but with the incorporated feature of conveying prestige to its owner, thanks to its intellectual significance.
NFTs so far is foreign to traditional investors. They are the flexing ground for crypto holders. A natural destination for capital generated within the frontiers of digital currencies that don't want to leave the space but wants to do something special. NFTs are crypto native, and therefore there are some new characteristics it displays that are not to be taken lightly.
"I own this" is still the prevailing message. And ownership gets a brand new meaning when the piece you own can be showcased publicly to a global audience through social media avatars and other bragging websites. But there is another significant message crypto is constantly sending. It says, "we are not like you" Every time someone resentfully says, "I don't get it," crypto giggles and goes, "I know."
Don't underestimate the power of passive-aggressive humor in crypto. It is a billion-dollar industry. Just take Dogecoin as an example.
This zombie belongs to the original collection of 10,000 cryptopunks minted in 2017 by Larvalabs. It's not even the most expensive! Punk #7523 was sold for $11.8M, but this was on the news more recently.
Cryptopunks will probably go down in history as the first crypto native art piece-slash-collectible to get mainstream attention. Jay Z, Steve Aoki, Logan Paul... have one. They were the first real NFTs to get traction. Punks already belong to the history books, and crypto inhabitants have a special place in their hearts for them as a symbol of identity. Hear this: $3.9M is a bargain.
This is a Fidenza. Fidenza is a collection of algorithmically generated pieces created by artist Tyler Hobbs. There are only 999 Fidenzas, all of unquestionable aesthetic value. It looks like adults' art, but with a crypto twist. Machine-generated, unique, beautiful, tradeable,..." and you don't get it."
This is the first-ever NFT minted on FTX. It was created by its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, and probably took him less than 10 seconds to produce it. Sam is one of the most charismatic leaders in crypto industries, and his company, FTX, is an example of ambition and good execution. FTX is a centralized exchange valued at $18B as per its last investment round. It recently launched a brand new NFT platform, and that TEST jpg was the first piece ever to be created and launched on it.
Sam Bankman-Fried is one of the world's youngest billionaires. He's smart, innovative, and articulate. You can find him interacting with users on Twitter every day and often being interviewed on the TV or niche podcast. He's "one of us,” and he is most likely going to make it.
When people buy NFTs, they are purchasing a statement and a piece of history. A future piece of valuable memorabilia. It is not only a .jpg file in their computer, an annotation in their wallet, or their Twitter avatar. It is an investment in a cultural revolution, a statement of endorsement, a hilarious joke on old-fashioned folk...and who knows? It might pay for their dream house not far from now.