Has NFT become a money-making machine for digital artists?

Last week, a young corper, Adisa Olashile, sold photos of a drummer, Ayangbenle aka Baba Onilu, in Ibadan, minted as a digital asset, a non-fungible token (NFT) for $2,098 (N2 042 440).

In a TweeterOlashile said he would stamp the photo as an NFT and split the proceeds from the sale with the drummer.

He sold the photos to OpenSea, an NFT platform and gave a percentage of the money to the drummer.

The amount generated from the sale of the photo has been buzzing on Twitter, revealing that the art market is entering a profitable NFT period.


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In March 2021, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey auctioned the first tweet he made on May 21, 2006, which read “just setting up my twittr” as an NFT on a social media network powered by blockchain.

Crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi bought the tweet for $2.9 million as an NFT, which was relisted for $48 million last week.

A viral video from 2015 showing Ghanaian porters in action is proof that NFTs could be around for a long time.

NFT Web3 Technical Advisor Lucas Bean tweeted that the viral meme-turned-video had just been sold for 327Eth ($1,047,806).

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The creator, Benjamin Aidoo, also took to Twitter to thank the parties who made the offering and selling of the NFT a success.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, as galleries and art conferences suspended in-person meetings, collectors moved online, creating increased demand for digital art.

The industry-wide upheaval has led to the meteoric rise of digital artwork associated with NFTs.

How did memes and digital art become so valuable?

Why is someone bidding millions of dollars for a viral internet meme, tweet, or photo taken from a phone?

A popular image, tweet or meme when turned into a non-fungible token with unique metadata cannot be duplicated. This means that it is not the image, the tweet or the meme that is sold but its digital certificate, which is unique.

NFTs are unique digital objects that include images, music, videos, tweets, journalism, and real estate traded over the Internet between creators and collectors.

When a token is non-fungible, it means that there can only be one such token with unique data. Bitcoins have fungible tokens because there are several bitcoins with no unique characteristics.

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For example, exchanging one bitcoin for another still leaves you with the same bitcoin and the same value, but NFTs are unique and cannot be exchanged.

An NFT contains two key pieces of information: namely the token identifier, which is the unique identity of the NFT generated once the NFT is created and the second is the contact address.

Anyone who buys the NFT does not automatically become the copyright owner of the meme, tweet or photo.

Ghanaian bearers will continue to be the owners and creators of the meme, but its tokens, which translate into digital certificates of authenticity enabling the trading and tracking of digital works that only exist on screens, belong to the buyer.

“Some buyers think they’re buying the underlying artwork and all the rights that come with it. However, in reality, they are simply buying the metadata associated with the work, not the work itself,” according to information on the World Economic Forum website.

A thriving arts business

Sales of non-fungible tokens reached over $17 billion in 2021, according to a new report from NFT data firm nonfungible.com.

The report, developed with BNP Paribas-owned research firm L’Atelier, says NFT trade reached $17.6 billion last year, reflecting a geometric increase of 21,000%, from a total of $82 million in 2020.

There are over 2.5 million people-owned crypto wallets holding or trading NFTs in 2021, up from just 89,000 a year earlier. The number of buyers also fell from 75,000 to 2.3 million.

According to the report, people have also improved their ability to make money from NFTs, with investors generating a total of $5.4 billion in profits from NFT sales last year. More than 470 wallets have managed to earn more than $1 million in profits, Nonfungible.com said.

NFT’s most popular category was collectibles, which accounted for $8.4 billion in sales. NFT games such as Axie Infinity were the second largest category, racking up $5.2 billion in sales.

OpenSea is the Amazon of NFTs. It is an online marketplace that allows people to easily create, sell, and buy NFTs.

According to Dune Analytic, it is one of the largest NFT trading platforms, with over 1.5 million active users.

Marilyn M. Davis