According to a Chainalysis report, $ 40.9 billion was spent in 2021 on buying NFTs (not fungible tokens) or non-fungible (non-replaceable) tokens, these unique and inviolable digital identifiers, which make it possible to authenticate any digital file (image, video, audio, tweet).
Since the sale at Christie’s in March 2021 of an NFT by graphic designer Beeple for $ 69.3 million, the records have multiplied in the Anglo-Saxon auction houses. Also on specialized platforms: on December 6, Nifty Gateway distributed a set of 250,000 NFTs by artist Pak for a total of $ 91.8 million, which would make him the most expensive living artist in the world if ‘we believe that this collection constitutes a single work … The enthusiasm is such that the French auction houses have launched the race in March 2021 (Ader, Rossini, Aguttes with the first SMS in the world awarded € 132,680 in the form of NFT, December 21). But French law forbids them to sell “intangible goods”, they only sold NFTs linked to “physical twins”: photographs, videos …
$ 3 billion in crypto art
The market for these art NFTs or crypto art amounted to per. December 31, 2021 at $ 2,542,028,317, for 77,307 sales to 122,311 buyers, according to Gauthier Zuppinger, co-founder of non-fungal.com market research platform. “These figures are a first estimate blockchain Ethereum. It will be necessary to add the sale of other people’s crypto art blockchains and the auction houses Sotheby’s ($ 100 million), Christie’s ($ 150 million) and Phillips ($ 6.19 million) “, says the specialist.
An unstable market
Specifically, how does it work? A collector / investor wishing to acquire an art NFT must install one crypto wallet (cryptocurrency portfolio) on their computer or on their smartphone, convert euros to Ethereum cryptocurrency. Then connect this crypto wallet to a specialized platform, such as OpenSea, before purchasing a crypto art that he can resell to other persons registered on the platform.
The crypto arts market is still very volatile: they are sold on average after 63 days at an average profit of $ 7,097 when resold in 2021 (figures as of December 9 from NonFungible.com). Fanny Lakoubay, crypto artist and NFT consultant at LAL Art Advisory, explains: “The generative series (profile picture projects, collections of digital characters automatically generated by algorithms such as CryptoPunks or Bored Ape Yacht Club) sell out extremely quickly as they are the subject of short-term speculation by a small number of players who have mostly earned a fortune in cryptocurrencies and concentrate the majority of The largest purchases. This makes the market very volatile and there are more bids than bids. The market is expected to decline and the value of the majority of these projects will be close to zero. On the other hand, the crypto art market, whose works are created by digital artists (such as XCopy, Kevin Abosch or Pascal Boyart), should stabilize in the long run. Lucky collectors who invested a year ago saw the value of their crypto art collection increase by 300% at a fixed rate in ether. For collectors who want to invest today, they have an interest in buying young digital artists, for example, these artists in the residence of VerticalCrypto Art, but it is still a very young market. »
According to a study conducted by the Nansen Analytics Platform for Financial Times, this unregulated space is said to be fraught with fraud, deception and market manipulation, not least because the real identities of buyers and sellers are difficult, if not impossible, to discover.
On the side of the galleries
A few French art galleries have embarked on the adventure of 2021 with average results: Almine Rech on the Nifty Gateway platform, Kamel Mennour on the SuperRare platform. The Art Basel Miami Beach fair tried in December to organize a “curated” exhibition of digital NFT works, but it is clear that crypto art escapes the players in the traditional art market, Except for an auction house like Sotheby’s, which launched its own NFT sales platform , Metaverse.sothebys.com, in October. During the first quarter, two new marketplaces will try to attract traditional collectors: Artprice with Artprice-nft.com (after competitor Artnet with Nft.artnet.com) and CADAF.
“Cyberpunk” exhibition, Goldshteyn-Saatort gallery, 7, rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris, until 25 February.
“NFT: The Prohibited Auction # 1” sale, at FauveParis, 49, rue Saint-Sabin, 75011 Paris, 01 55 28 80 90, www.fauveparis.com, airs live on DrouotOnline, February 24 at 19.00