Move Aside NFTs, It’s Time To Talk About Cryptoart


Cryptoart refers to digital art that is developed on the basis of NFT technology. However, to equate NFT with art is a misconception in the market.

NFTs are taking the digital art world by storm. Many artists are cashing in on the craze, with some making tens of millions of dollars for their art. These include pixel art, memes, photos, and more.

Pixel art, such as CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties, was the first mainstream NFT artworks, artworks transaction platform STart Crypto’s Chairman Benjamin Rameau tells Jumpstart. Pixel art is a style of art that resembles the graphics of vintage video games and continues to be used in video games.

Several digital artists have raked in millions by selling NFT artwork, more commonly known as  cryptoart, especially in the last few months.

Digital artist Beeple, for instance, sold his cryptoart for a whopping US$69 million at an auction at Christie’s in March. The artwork, called Everydays: The First 5000 Days, created history as the most expensive digital art in the world.

While cryptoart sales continue to make headlines, many are confusing them with digital art.

“Digital art has historical value and was linked to NFT art,” Rameau says. “But there is actually no relationship between digital art and NFTs in the first place.”

To better understand the difference between digital art and cryptoart, we need to first understand what an NFT is, and how it works.

The relationship between digital art and NFT

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are tokens or data units stored on a blockchain. They are not interchangeable (non-fungible), meaning, these are crypto assets with unique digital identities. As they are recorded on a blockchain, they cannot be tampered with either.

An NFT’s uniqueness, Rameau notes, is that it allows for a range of digital creations, such as artworks, articles, audio clips, and songs, to be tokenized. Recently, Singaporean Chinese musician Hanjin Tan released his first NFT single. Meanwhile, in March, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first-ever tweet for US$2.9 million as an NFT.

While digital art has existed for long, there was no way to prove its uniqueness, says Rameau. Due to its digital nature, digital art can be very easily replicated. NFT, on the other hand, makes it possible to determine a digital art’s uniqueness, and confer ownership and authenticity to it.

Each NFT has a unique digital ID. When applied to art, it gives the artwork its unique digital identity, that cannot be exchanged with one another. Moreover, NFTs work as digital certificates of authenticity linked to digital art. As this “certificate” is stored on the blockchain, it can be traced to the original owner.

The history of transactions is stored and updated across a network of computers, creating a decentralized database. This encourages transparency of transaction history, and detection of forgeries. Additionally, as each transaction has to be verified by miners, it ensures that no one can tamper with the blockchain, ensuring authenticity and safety.

In this way, the underlying technology of NFTs helps solve the problem of “undervalue” in the art market, Rameau adds, and helps add rarity and value to digital art. In this way, “The emergence of NFT can foster the development of digital art,” says Rameau.

What STart Crypto is offering to cryptoart

Rameau notes that cryptoart is still at a nascent stage. Currently, digital artists, who hope to make a fortune like Beeple, are copying or making pixelated re-imaginings of existing classics. These artists are far from understanding the nuances of the digital world, Rameau adds.

As a result, some artists who hopped on the NFT bandwagon are taking a step back. One such example is the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. In the process of selling NFTs of his signature smiley face flowers, he withdrew the listing to “better prepare” and “further explore” different NFT formats.

Like Murakami, most digital artists are currently not on the right track when it comes to creating crypto artworks, says Rameau. The problem, Rameau adds, is there is no set standard for crypto artworks. STart Crypto attempts to solve this by giving a leg up to crypto artists using their expertise in digital art.

An artworks transaction platform, STart Crypto claims to be the world’s first physical cryptoart gallery. With a large network of artists, as well as years of experience in the blockchain industry, it aims to bolster digital art in the “crypto age,” says Rameau.

STart Crypto Chairman Benjamin Rameau

The startup aims to discover and cultivate talent in the digital art space, and offer technological support for aspiring crypto artists to realize their concepts into final products. For this, they offer a slew of services, such as marketing, public relations, auctions, and transactions.

Through “value-added anchoring tools,” STart Crypto seeks to create a communication platform to fully unleash the potential of cryptoart, and allow every artist, buyer, or collector to benefit from cryptoart. It will soon unveil its cryptoart gallery in Hong Kong’s cultural-retail landmark, K11 Musea.

Going forward, they hope to hold regular events, and online and offline promotions, to help artists to connect with major auction houses, taking their digital art to a larger audience. Ultimately, STart Crypto’s aim is to set a benchmark for the cryptoart industry.

These are tall goals, and STart Crypto has a lot of work ahead of it to realize these. However, the team has a plan in place, including using the latest decentralized storage infrastructure. The result, Rameau says, will be a safe, fair, convenient, energetic, and unique world for cryptoart.

This article was written in partnership with STart Crypto

Header image by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

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