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Art Is Money: 10 Tips & Truths

Fellowship Of The Machine (detail) is rare digital art by Joe Chiappetta
Fellowship Of The Machine (detail) is rare digital art by Joe Chiappetta, available in select ArtVndngMchn Series 3 NFT packs. The full piece is a statement on how fine art, machines, and money have converged into one bizarre and fantastical fellowship of exciting uncertainties.

Art Is Money: 10 Tips & Truths

Economics, Art, and Blockchain Fell into a Blender and out Popped NFTs.

By Joe Chiappetta, February 2022 (updated August 2023)

NFTs Take Large Share of Total Art Market Sales
The rare digital art NFT industry has become a large economic engine in the past few years. If current sales and adoption trends continue, it may eventually surpass other sectors of the art market. According to an Art Basel & UBS report, which includes data from only a few blockchains, 2021 NFT sales reached $11.1 billion USD, with the entire art market in all sectors totaling at $65.1 billion USD. This means 17% of all art sales came from rare digital art! That percentage is even higher since sales figures from one of the highest-volume blockchains for rare digital art, WAX, were not included in the report. In fact, according to DappRadar, 2021 NFT sales were nearly $25 billion.

Fast forward to August 22, 2023 and the numbers show NFT sales are still formidable--even in a bear market. According to data from CryptoSlam, tracking the top 20 blockchains by NFT volume, NFTs generated over $1.5 billion USD in sales--just in the past 30 days.

What Is Rare Digital Art Again?
With experimental origins tracing back to 2014, rare digital art is widely known today by the more common term, NFT, which stands for "nonfungible token." Comprised of digitally scarce fine art pieces, rare digital artworks are each attached to a unique cryptographic token--also known as a cryptocurrency. A record of who owns this unique (AKA non-fungible) token and its attached art is readily available on a specific internet-powered blockchain. One of the big deals here is that once a person accepts that the art and the token are tied together, trading of art NFTs on a global scale becomes instant--and for a number of blockchains--almost as easy as sending an email.

Bit by the Crypto Bug is rare digital art by Joe Chiappetta
Bit by the Crypto Bug is rare digital art by Joe Chiappetta, available as an animated color edition on SuperRare.
NFT Tips & Truths
The market innovation behind NFTs expose a number of economic and artistic realities in auditable ways. Art has always had the potential to be a friendlier form of money. In fact, physical money traditionally has art on its face as a given; think of all the portrait art on metal coins and paper currency. The imagery is meant to be welcoming and trust-bringing. Isn't that also what art often does?

Using the blockchain and smart contract technology that makes rare digital art function as money and art simultaneously, gift-giving, patronage, art stewardship, and trading all take on a more accountable role. The economics of who bought (or gifted) what art from whom, when, and for how much are meticulously broadcast on blockchains for all to see. Like traditional physical currency with a huge ecosystem behind it, NFT art--with its growing global ecosystem--can now also be just as welcoming, trust-bringing, or even more so. 

In fact, a growing number of NFT collections (including my ArtVndngMchn series on WAX) can even be staked to receive crypto rewards back. With this staking innovation, where an NFT owner can choose to lock up their art for a certain period to gain an ongoing amount of cryptocurrency back, that art acquires economic utility while raising the fun of art to a whole new level. Since art themes are often already fun-loving in-an-of-themselves, "money" in the form of NFT art, becomes fun too.
Art Is Money by Joe Chiappetta
Art Is Money by Joe Chiappetta is rare digital art available on AtomicHub.

Once we step outside of tradition and wade into the NFT waters, it's easier to see the existence of cryptoart NFTs confirming how art is a form of money. Putting this radical concept in its most basic form, art is money; therefore money is art. 

NFTs and the Uncertainty Principle
Money can also be defined as "wealth," and that's where things get extra-interesting from a Biblical perspective. Since wealth is "so uncertain," as stated in 1 Timothy 6:17, it can now also be understood that art is so uncertain (since art is money and money is wealth). Now the whole art industry makes more sense, as does the entire economy and monetary system. 
Uncertainty Token is rare digital art by Joe Chiappetta
Uncertainty Token is rare digital art by Joe Chiappetta, available on AtomicHub.

Seen through the longer lens of time measured in centuries, empires, currencies, companies, projects, superstars, and unicorns rise and fall. Some die and resurrect: many do not. Such uncertainties eventually humble all categories, lowering them down to what they really are at the base level: high-stakes games, yet games nonetheless. Despite the posturing of so-called experts in the fields of art and finance, these sectors will always be loaded with massive uncertainties... and that is a game made by God's design.

Top 10 NFT Truths
Once that divine shock wears off and these uncertainty principles are embraced, there is still much to appreciate. We can even enjoy some of the game-changing truths that NFTs make more obvious.
  1. Money is art and vice versa.
  2. Currency can be created by anyone.
  3. Art can be created by anyone.
  4. Money can be created by anyone.
  5. Everyone (and anyone) can be an artist.
  6. Everyone (and anyone) can tokenize anything.
  7. Despite humanities best efforts, uncertainty is an inseparable principle of art and money.
  8. Art has always been a game.
  9. Money has always been a game.
  10. Distributing digital art and money, internet access becomes even more of a human right.
May you power-up to play the art/money game well... and enjoy the uncertain results as best as you can.