NFTs when digital art goes crazy

In the last few months, NFTs have been making millions of francs. Some sell for astronomical sums. But what are they? NFT is the abbreviation for Non-fungible token, token not fungible in French. It is a unique code attached to an object on the internet, such as a picture, music or even a video game item. An NFT is like a contract of intellectual property combined with a contract of authenticity. For example, it provides an opportunity to confirm that a digital work is in fact an artist’s original creation. Convenient, in a world where everything can be copied as desired.

The first NFTs were born more than ten years ago, at the same time as cryptocurrencies. But their real growth is only one or two years old. For Alexandre Roussel, this time lag is explained by the fact that “NFTs circulate on blockchains created for cryptocurrencies”. The cryptocurrency world expert and operations director at NYM Technologies in Neuchâtel adds that “people had to equip themselves with specialized software. Before NFTs could pick up speed, many people had to install and use cryptocurrencies.”

Non-fungible tokens use blockchains, which are “both a network of computers and a financial network where exchanges and transactions can be performed. It is also a large register of accounts where one can know who has what.”, Explains Alexandre Roussel: It’s a technology that makes it possible to secure and verify a set of information, all in a transparent and tamper-proof manner.

Of all the sectors that are likely to benefit from the increase in NFTs, the arts sector is well positioned. Artistic circles “use all sorts of intellectual property rights that can be represented in the form of NFTs,” says Alexandre Roussel. The artists’ interest is to create a direct financial relationship between them and their admirers ”. Buyers and collectors also find it an advantage, but it’s more superficial: “it’s being able to be the only one who can say I really own NFT, and no one else,” adds Alexandre Roussel.

Some non-fungible tokens are sold for gold. In March last year, the American artist Beeple sold an NFT of one of his works for almost 64 million francs. Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sold his very first tweet to him for nearly $ 2.7 million. All this money can attract greed and therefore excesses. Faced with this, everything we do with NFTs, according to Alexandre Roussel, falls within the existing legal framework. But with their technical characteristics, it feels like you can do more things, and that’s the Wild West. ”

The law art scene opposite the NFTs

In the canton of Jura, the Department of Culture is aware of the phenomenon, but non-fungible tokens are not on the agenda. However, some players in the industry have tried it. This is especially the case with Adrien Jutard. The artist and vice president of Visarte Jura created NFTs. However, these do not solve everything. “What we absolutely need are funds to disseminate our creations, namely museums and galleries. The distribution problem will not change with the digital media. If you do not take care of your NFTs, nothing happens. But if galleries take it up and do the dissemination work for artists, it could be a new way to authenticate works and then market them on digital platforms. Adrien Jutard warns: To create an NFT, you need to hang on to understand how the various mechanisms around blockchains and cryptocurrencies work. Ultimately, the Vice President of Visarte Jura sees the NFTs with a curious eye, even though the interest in the artists is not necessarily there. / nmy

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