The market for non-fungible tokens (nfts) is exploding. This applies in particular to the sale of unique, non-reproducible virtual works of art where the purchaser of the associated NFT is assured of ownership.
This became evident this morning during a conference on fintech and the metaverse during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.
Charles Stewart, chief executive of Sotheby’s auction house, founded in 1744, hopes NFTs will profoundly change the art world. Never before in its long history has Sotheby’s witnessed such an increase in interest in art. Even youngsters collect NFT artworks like it’s the most natural thing in the world. They display their virtual assets on their mobile phone screens. Art is one of the most pronounced use cases of blockchain. According to Stewart, it is no longer just about buying NFTs, but also about what we are going to do with them. Buyers want more than just showing off virtual artwork on their mobile devices to their friends.
“Who will be the Leonardo da Vinci of the nft world?”
The CEO, who previously worked at cable company Altice, expects big advances in display technology. One trend is to integrate NFT into the audio. The metaverse offers possibilities. New display technology makes it possible to display virtual works of art in your private room in the metaverse. The special thing is that this art is portable. You can display artwork in different places at the same time. Collectors will also join in groups. What will happen in these communities is interesting, says Stewart.
During the keynote address, Stewart was asked who will be the Leonardo da Vinci of the NFT world. The CEO had to remain unanswered. It is too early. We are only at the beginning of a development. But a concept artist like Pak is currently attracting a lot of attention.’
Until recently, the luxurious Sotheby’s catered to the elite, and auctions were attended by between three and five hundred interested parties. Tonight, one million visitors will follow an auction live. And the biggest auctions attract up to five million live visitors. According to Stewart, the pandemic has given impetus to behavioral changes. Art is no exception. The consumption and discovery of art has changed a lot in a short time.’
The commitment is also different. Art and technology are closely intertwined. “We’re also seeing a trend from video to instant photos, for example.” Famed artist Christo will soon fill the Arc de Triomphe with Snap filters. Major brands also find their way into the NFT world. Louis Vuitton recently auctioned off two hundred pairs of shoes for $25 million. New categories are emerging.
According to Stewart, global interest in NFTs is growing rapidly. Sotheby’s has NFT clients in more than 40 countries. Everyone wants exclusive access to certain art. Blockchain offers new ways to collect art. And you don’t have to be a billionaire to collect this kind of art.
In addition to Stewart, Hungama CEO Neeraj Roy also shed light on the developments. India’s largest mobile entertainment company, along with blockchain company Polygon, have big plans for their blockchain apps. NFTs provide viewers of Bollywood movies with unique opportunities to participate in meet and greets with Bollywood stars. The NFT market is already worth $73 billion, more than double the size of the total movie market. India is embracing blockchain en masse, according to Roy. He will soon see at least half a billion Indians entering the metaverse. Hefty Entertainment, which is part of Hungama, will thus become a major player in this field.
The president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, announced during the MWC that his dilapidated club will create its own cryptocurrency. Apart from the first step being the launch of an NFT, Laporta did not reveal any further details. Overall, he sees blockchain as an important tool for creating services to further engage the Spanish club’s 300 million fans around the world. This can make the fan experience even stronger.