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What do NFTs mean for artists?


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A year ago this week, a JPEG file containing a collage of digital illustrations by the artist known as Beeple sold for $69.3 million at an art auction — setting a new record for the sale of exclusively digital art, and among the highest auction prices fetched for a living artists’ work. Anyone can view the image, “Everydays — The First 5000 Days,” for free online, but the buyer was paying for the work’s non-fungible token, or NFT — its certificate of authenticity on the blockchain.

In the year since the sale, hype around NFTs has become staggering, and some $44 billion has been spent on around 6 million NFTs. But what has this all meant for the art world?

“There’s all this talk about ‘NFT art’ or ‘NFT video’ or ‘NFT tunes.’ But in fact, when you scratch the surface a little bit, it turns out there is no such thing as NFT art,” said art critic Blake Gopnik, who wrote about the issue for the New York Times.

“The kind of images that get NFTs attached to it are mostly, from the point of view of a serious art critic,…

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