If you’ve been on the internet at all over the last few weeks, you've probably heard lots of people talking about NFTs, but you might not know what the hell they are, if they apply to lettering artists, or if you should care.
NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” which, if you’re like me, doesn’t help to clear things up at all. In the simplest term, a non-fungible token is part of the blockchain (think, cryptos - ie: bitcoin) that represents something unique and rare. We can think of it in similar terms to original and traditional artwork. The value we put on it, is based on the fact that it's one of a kind, how much it might be sought out by others, and popularity of the artist or designer.
NFTs allow buyers to support artists by purchasing ownership of any digital goods including lettering and typography pieces. The rising awareness of NFTs comes from large sales that celebrities and artists have been making. The musician Grimes, recently sold around $6 million worth of digital artwork, including a one-of-a-kind video called “Death of the Old". William Shatner reportedly sold a pack of digital trading cards which included a 68- year-old x-ray of his teeth. Yes, you read that right.
Can my lettering work become an NFT?
The answer is yes! As long as your lettering work is created by you, there aren’t many restrictions on what can become an NFT.
How do I start getting involved with NFTs?
While you don’t need to be an expert in cryptocurrency there are a few steps before you can get to selling your typography pieces on the market. Firstly, set up an Ethereum Wallet, and purchase $50-$100 worth. Then, you'll connect your wallet to an NFT Marketplace. If you don’t have experience with any of these steps, Kapwing Resources has some in-depth information to help guide you through the process (disclaimer: it took me a few tries to figure this out!)
What platform should I use to buy and sell NFTs?
BTW: While each NFT is technically a unique and individual piece, an artist can sell multiple copies of the same piece of content to different people. Grimes actually sold hundreds of copies of their two videos titled “Earth” and “Mars” accompanied by the original music. Think of them as super limited edition prints of your typography work.
Okay so, why are people buying NFTs?
Purchasing an NFT gives collectors the chance to support artists, grants them some basic usage and of course, bragging rights. Also, when you purchase an NFT, there is absolute certainty that your piece is authentic because it's backed by the blockchain; aka a digital certificate of authenticity.
Why would someone buy an NFT instead a physical piece of art?
Honestly, the idea of choosing a piece of digital art that lives in the ether or on a USB in the back of my junk drawer sounds kind of weird. And it is weird, but digital artists and collectors alike are starting to see NFTs as secure and long-term investments.
The Artist, Beeple (aka Mike Winkelmann) recently sold his NFT "The first 5000 days" for.....(drumroll please).....69 MILLION. Just so we're clear, that $69mil is going towards a digital only asset.
"Anybody can still view the work, but I think of it like the Mona Lisa. Anybody can view a JPG of the Mona Lisa, but you’re not going to take that JPG and say you own the Mona Lisa" says Beeple.
All in all
NFT's are rare pieces of digital content (usually art) that you can buy, trade and sell similarly to bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin and others. It's just a different version of these cryptocurrencies, but with self-placed value. To get from point A to point B to sell your work, you'll first download a wallet and purchase some coin. Then connect it to the market place and SELL SELL SELL.
It doesn't take a lot of research to find that the NFT market is not only new and unsaturated compared to others, but specifically the lettering and typography industry is overwhelmingly underutilized in the blockchain market. It's an excellent and likely lucrative time to get on board if you haven't already. Take the time to learn and understand the terms, the apps, and *make* *that* *money*!
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on cryptocurrency, blockchains or NFTs and you should do independent research before investing in anything.