For centuries, art fanatics have collected their favorite pieces of art for their own direct consumption or admiration.
In the olden days, art was purchased for collectors’ own eyes i.e. they bought art to hang in their living room, to show off to their friends and visitors, or any other non-monetary value they gain from the art.
Today, all this has changed as art is treated as an asset for investment. The predominant factor driving the sale of an artwork is its investment value and forecasted value when resold in the future.
As such, the $50 billion dollar art industry is facing huge challenges in giving collectors and artists a fair platform to discover and create art respectively.
Growing on the back of exclusion, both financial and cultural, most artists find it difficult to showcase their art to the global population while some collectors are locked out from auctions.
If you possess the cultural capital, you are excluded financially. And if you possess the financial capital, you are locked out culturally.
Buying art from a licensed art gallery or a publicized art auction remains non-standardized and the pricing is opaque as the industry itself remains largely unregulated.
Lack of a standard in the art industry makes art sales and auctions susceptible to manipulation, expensive to purchase, and builds a cultural barrier that only a few in the world possess.
Atop the weaknesses and challenges of the traditional art industry, is the opaqueness in pricing.
Most of the art galleries across the world – especially Europe – are very secretive and opaque about the pricing of the art displayed.
You’ll find that 90% of return collectors and artists, who buy and sell art through a specific art gallery will receive a preferential price quote, unlike a first-time artist or collector, a blog post on Entrepreneur reads.
Auctions are considered the most transparent way for artists and collectors to sell and bid for art pieces respectively.
However, even at auctions, there could be some manipulation that could overshadow the otherwise straightforward and fair auction process.
Notwithstanding, getting your art sold in an auction as a starting artist is almost impossible.
As explained above, most artists are locked out either due to cultural or financial constraints including high fees and quality of art pieces.
These problems transcend past physical art and they affect digital art too. As a consequence, artists and collectors are switching to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to give real solutions to the problems.
Currently, digital art is easily copy-pasted, downloaded, and redistributed hence reducing the value of the original art piece.
NFTs are built to solve two major issues with digital art i.e. the authentication of artwork with a digital certificate and introducing scarcity of the art – boosting the value of the art.
This combination of certification of ownership on the one hand and the creation of scarcity, on the other hand, allows digital art to be collected and traded like non-digital artworks.
A new, fair, and transparent digital art world
As alluded to, NFTs are the savior for the failing art industry. These digital assets aim to change how digital artworks are traded and sold to the public.
First, digital artists and creators are able to directly sell their artwork to collectors without the need for a third-party gallery or art website.
This decentralizes the overall process of creating and selling art, ensuring the cultural and financial barriers no longer affect artists or collectors.
Additionally, NFT contracts can be curated to automatically give artists a cut of any resale transaction after the first sale.
This is a change in the history of art sales as artists are now able to earn from their creativity whenever the art is resold.
One such NFT project is Starly, an NFT marketplace, and launchpad that allows artists and collectors to build economies around their gamified NFT collections.
Unlike the traditional art galleries, Starly allows users to win and earn from their digital artworks through an “ultimate collecting game”.
Launched in September this year, Starly brings true value to collecting NFTs, by organizing them randomly in sealed packs (similar to FIFA card packs) with three different rarity classes.
In each collection, there are a total of 21 cards — 11 commons, 6 rare, and 4 legendaries, each representing a unique feature of the game.
Collectors simply have to open new packs to discover their contents in order to build a unique card collection.
The platform brings new life to the NFT world. Instead of collecting random NFT pieces, Starly gamifies the collection process for users to complete full sets.
Top collectors are rewarded by the creator for achieving certain collecting milestones along the way. This engagement ensures the artists remain in contact with their fans and collectors bringing a new level of relationship to the art world.
Creators can now easily monetize their artwork and social presence by offering fans a gamified experience of their NFT collection.
Additionally, the platform removes any barriers of entry as any artist can place their art on the marketplace and collectors can buy without a third party interfering with the sale.
Creators can use the platform to create and place for sale Collections free of charge (and no transaction fees). Starly gets its commission based only after the NFT is being sold by the creator.
A small processing fee is also attached to all secondary market sales. Starly is a non-custodial service provider, meaning all transactions take place on the blockchain itself and not through Starly.
Finally, collectors benefit from having direct contact and relationship with their artistic idols. Starly ensures collectors have a gamified experience on the platform in finding full NFT collection sets.
So, are NFTs the future of art collection?
Despite the advantages NFT platforms such as Starly offer, there’s still doubt surrounding NFT sales and what the future holds for the collectors.
Many experts, including digital artist Beeple (who sold his NFT piece for $69 million), believe the NFT space is a bubble waiting to pop at any time.
The increasing number of speculators in the NFT space is a concern as most of them only look to sell their NFT at a higher price rather than value the art.
Additionally, there may be a possibility of excess supply of NFTs given how easy it is to create one.
Each individual digital asset is unique or in limited supply, but there is a potentially unlimited amount of NFTs that can be created, with very little effort.
Any digital file including videos, collectibles, music, or photos could be turned into an NFT but not all of them will hold value in the long term.
Nonetheless, given NFTs are a relatively new technology, such issues are expected as people experiment on better digital assets.
In the future, NFTs are poised to take over the art world since they have a real use-value and solve real problems in the art space.
Even if the bubble pops and the current hype goes away, projects such as Starly could wither the storm and will be here to stay for a long time.