While the NFT market is in decline, cryptocurrency players continue to believe in it and decline the creative possibilities.
Between the drop in cryptocurrency prices, the drop in sales volumes of platforms like OpenSea (which have lost more than 90% from their highs a few months ago), and the countless thefts, scams all over as defaults on NFT-backed loans or selling at a loss, owning NFT is no good these days. Not surprisingly, in any financial market, what goes up must come down. We are in a declining market after the 2021 speculative bubble. The market has slowed, but it is also less unstable, allowing artists and collectors to adjust their expectations in terms of price, speed of sale and resale.
But the artists, collectors and project starters who believe in technology and the community are still there. The former are excited to try 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, SuperRare & KnownOrigin in 2019) were launched when the values of cryptocurrencies were low, a time favorable to innovation and creation in the absence of constant pressure from markets and speculators.
Another interesting phenomenon to note is the maturation of the NFT market through its segmentation. The great annual NFT.NYC conference, whose last edition took place in June 2022 in New York, is proof of this. For the first time, the different applications of NFTs have been clearly defined and physically separated: one space for play, 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 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 joining NFTs. Marina Abramović was launched on July 25 on the blockchain Tezos its first NFT, The hero, a reinterpretation of one of his autobiographical videos. Frank Stella launched his first NFT series, Geometrieswith Artists Rights Society on September 8, and MetaKovan, owner of the Beeple work sold by Christie’s, commissioned a virtual reality work from Olafur Eliasson titled Your point of view matters, associated with a series of NFTs. Likewise, galleries are starting to represent crypto artists. We can mention the artist Sarah Meyohas, who launched the conceptual project Female dog (2015), and is now represented by the New York gallery Marianne Boesky. Finally, partnerships between crypto players and those of the art market multiply, such as that between Pace and the generative art platform Art Blocks, the collaboration between blockchain creative Tezos and the Art Basel fair or even the merger of Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Right Click Save for education.
In addition to the anticipation of new strategic partnership announcements, autumn will undoubtedly be colorful. There are several trends to keep an eye on, starting with “The Ethereum Merge” announced for September 15, which is the passage of the blockchain Ethereum has a new type of more environmentally friendly operation called “Proof of Stake”. Beyond the technical challenge, preferences, such as photography or generative art, must be confirmed. You have to keep an eye on poetry, for which the TheVerseVerse collective presents collaborations between poets, visual artists and artificial intelligence. Or the evolutionary architecture of the metaverse, launched by Krista Kim and her House of Mars 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 French artist Cyril Lancelin in the metaverse of Spatial.io. Actor Anthony Hopkins also launched his NFT series, saying: “NFTs are a blank page for artistic creation”. Everything has to be done.