An NFT stands for a non-fungible token which is used for creative media such as artwork, audio and photographs as a digital ledger (blockchain). The importance of the NFT is that it authenticates the property that it is assigned to, identifying the correct owner. Think of the NFT as a watermark that cannot be interchanged.
What makes NFT appealing is that not only can it verify the genuineness of the purchase, but it allows artists to earn royalties off of their media when used in the future. Since NFT are non-interchangeable, it means that it is harder others to use the media with permission.
An example where NFT would serve the above purpose was in 2014 when model and actress Emily Ratajkowski had images of herself used without her permission, with the photographer profiting of her image. Due to the vagueness of certain copyright laws given that the photograph was owned by the photographer, rather than the photograph being owned by the subject (Ratajkowski), there wasn’t much that could be done.
However, in a recent venture entitled ‘Buying Myself Back: A Model for Redistribution’ featuring the controversial photograph, Ratajkowski is hoping to gain control how her image is redistributed.
The burned Banksy
If you ever have the chance to own an infamous Banksy original, it’s very unlikely that you would voluntarily burn it. But is exactly what one owner did. While the artwork could no longer be owned, the rights to the livestream video were protected under a NFT which was sold off for a cool £274,000.
If only NFTs had been around when the Banksy ‘Girl With Balloon’ was shredded in 2018.
NFTs are relatively new on the artwork scene but have already been implemented amongst a network of artists. From Grimes who is the Fiancée of Space X owner Elon Musk, Janet Jackson and Damien Hirst, NFTs are seen as a way of safeguarding the integral property of the work. Yet on the other hand, critics have claimed that the use of NFTs is a way of making large sums of money in a fad scheme.
Only time will tell if NFTs will become a necessary addition to a creator’s finished piece.