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The Future of Art Collecting

From GIFs, video clips, to digital real estate gathering millions in sales, the skyrocketing popularity of NFT owes its success to the upsurge in digitalisation and the allure of the open internet. Yet, how does the rise of the metaverse influence the domain of art? More importantly, how does the creation of the digital art market affect how we perceive art today?

What are NFTs? NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are records showing the ownership of unique digital content. Indeed, as the Collins dictionary’s most searched word of 2021 according to artsy.net, NFTs owe their popularity to a multiplicity of causes. Firstly, the COVID pandemic has not only seen an increase in engagement with online shopping and the virtual world of gaming, but it has furthermore transformed the metaverse into a second reality — one in which possibilities become limitless.

In addition, the normalisation of cryptocurrency in recent years thanks to its effortless transaction and volatility has further afforded NFT sales its giant success. The British Museum, for example, has joined the NFT trend in 2021 by partnering with French platform LaCollection and putting the artworks of Katsushika Hokusai up for sale. By digitising the Edo period artist’s famous works, the launch emphasises their timeless value.

Focus London 2021, Private View Saatchi Gallery

However, how do NFTs benefit the future of art collecting? Perhaps the most prominent perk is the accessibility of a digital platform. NFTs render the selling of artwork more diverse, approachable, and more secure. It exposes collectors to works that would otherwise remain largely undiscovered in their local art market. While creators retain the copyright to their art, art collectors gain ownership of the NFT artwork, thus obtaining its usage right. More importantly, the process of purchase corresponds to a form of social networking. Not only does this allow for more personal communication between artist and buyer, but furthermore allows for conversations to take place between collectors of the same artist. A digitised platform also enables the accessibility of the artist’s digital profile, thus facilitating the research of the art collector in terms of the artwork’s contextual background.

Focus London 2021, Private View Saatchi Gallery