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  • Writer's pictureBataung "Cyber Sonic" Qhotsokoane


// Are NFTs the new plug for artists? //

Tracing the history of technology is a very fascinating exercise I enjoy doing. Understanding how inventions & discoveries we enjoy daily, came about, is an exercise that humbles me and ensures I never take things for granted.

‘Success stems from opportunities; others took for granted’ – J Cole (Sideline Story)

In 2008, an invention took place that caused a glitch in the matrix. A group of wise men working under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, released a whitepaper establishing the blueprint for blockchain technology.

In 2009, these developers implemented the first blockchain, as a public ledger for transactions made using Bitcoin. Blockchain technology uses cryptography through encryption, to securely record information. This information is grouped into blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and transaction data. Collection of these ‘blocks’ is referred to as a blockchain ledger. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum & Litecoin are built on these public blockchain ledgers, managed & maintained by peer-to-peer networks. Consistent development and maturation of blockchain technology has recently further pushed its adoption in other industries, one such sector is digital art!

Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

On the backbone of blockchain technology, NFT’s provide a mechanism to issue a digital certificate of ownership to buyers, to prove authentication of digital art works. In practice, digital assets (art, videos, images, illustrations) are assigned a digital badge, which is recorded & timestamped on a blockchain ledger. Recorded on this digital badge is information like artist’s name, ownership over the art, time & date on sale of art work etc. The effect of blockchain art adoption, is that art becomes fraud proof. The digital certificate is unique and cannot be substituted or exchanged onto another art work. Its intrinsically attached to that specific digital art work.

This proof of work, creates scarcity. Thus enabling digital art to be sold on the market place. Transactions on sale of digital assets are enabled by smart contracts, embedded in blockchain cryptography standards. This technology has created a new economy for artists. An economy that’s decentralised, allowing artists to monetise from their art! This artistic monetisation is already manifesting in realms of online gaming e.g. Crypto Kitties & World War Craft. Earlier this year, digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple sold he’s NFT art work (image below) for $69 million.

I want to challenge both traditional & digital artists in Africa, to start investigating NFT art. The NFT space in Africa is uncharted with only a handful incorporating the technology in their art. NFT’s have ignited an artistic renaissance, take Nigerian sketcher turned NFT artist Oyindamola Oyekemi Oyewumi who’s portrait sold for $6,300. Once you strip away the tech jargon, you’ll realise there’s nothing difficult about NFT’s.

‘Believing in your ideas, is you believing in yourself ‘– Bataung Qhotsokoane


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