Düsseldorf Certified and marketable digital objects – Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) – have brutally opened the door to a new world in the art market. With revenue of $ 11.1 billion in 2021. That alone is almost as much as the entire global online art trade that the “Art Basel & UBS Report” of 2022 set at $ 13.3 billion.
But even though NFTs have become indispensable: there is no consensus on what should be termed art here. And there is no idea yet what role NFTs could play in the art world of the future. “Are we talking about hype or a turning point?” asks the authors of “Art + Tech Report 2022”. These are the strategy consultants Kerstin Gold and Kristina Leipold as well as the co-founders of the gallery Office Impart, Johanna Neuschäffer and Anne ****.
What the initiators of the second Art + Tech report found is that collectors’ expectations and requirements are specific to “art NFTs”, their composition according to age, financial commitment, and aspects that encourage or hinder purchase. So-called “collector’s items”, ie NFT-certified digital versions of high-quality sneakers or the monkeys from the Bored Ape Yacht Club or Cryptopunks, have left them aside.
Ultimately, the overall picture of the study, which is freely available on the Internet, makes very clear what role art NFTs may play in the art world in the future. Galleries, auction houses, museums and start-ups should therefore take a closer look at this report and draw conclusions from it.
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In principle, a new segment is emerging right now, which by no means necessarily lies only in the virtual cryptosphere, which many are still skeptical of. It can also be communicated in the midst of well-known institutions – if they seize the opportunity. Because the majority of the 306 respondents, namely 57 percent, were encouraged to buy art NFT by curated exhibitions. There are even more who would like to be motivated to buy from well-executed exhibitions in the future.
In line with this, 85 per cent of the respondents had already collected art which they acquired in the traditional market at the time of their NFT acquisition. A convincing artistic concept is by far the most important criterion for a good art NFT for 88 per cent. A high resolution of the representation, the reference to an art historical context or the degree of fame of the NFT creator are less important.
What drives art NFT buyers above all are three aspects: the knowledge that artists have a direct benefit from their purchases in percentage, that they as buyers participate in a paradigm shift in the art world, and the aesthetic joy of digital works of art.
At least half think it’s good that they do not have to worry about transport, accommodation, hanging or insurance. In the long run, however, a majority would like to be able to present their NFT in parallel outside their digital depot, the wallet, ie in physical form in their own living environment.
The assumption that art NFTs are primarily about speculation deters nearly 40 percent of collectors who have not yet had any experience with NFTs from making a purchase. The technical complexity is also an obstacle. A quarter are annoyed at the expectation of not being able to “live” with the work of art as with a picture on the wall or a sculpture.
The fear of being hacked or robbed is less pronounced. However, 31 percent of all respondents, not just newcomers, say they would be more likely to buy art NFTs if they felt more secure in the buying process.
The speculative element plays a surprisingly minor role for art NFT collectors. Only a third is the potential profit from a resale important. Gaining knowledge ranks first with 90 per cent. 60 percent like to belong to a “community”. At least 21 percent state that they have already invested in fractionalized NFTs, ie shares in highly paid works of art.
The overall relatively weak to moderately pronounced profit expectation makes the crucial difference for crypto-savvy NFT buyers who prefer collectibles with value propositions, such as CryptoPunks, CryptoKitties, or bored monkeys. It is this predominantly very wealthy group that the Art Basel & UBS report focuses on in particular.
For Art + Tech Report 2022, however, the clientele plays a minor role. It fits with the fairly manageable sums used on average for an art NFT. 62 percent of respondents spend no more than $ 1,000.
The authors of the report have every reason to be optimistic about the future of art NFTs. Three-quarters of respondents plan to acquire at least as many art NFTs by 2022 as they did last year.
More: Book Review: How to Get Rich with NFTs