Creating a haven for the new digital revolution
When cryptocurrencies came about, some traditional voices discarded the phenomenon as merely speculative. That aside, the true innovation was not in the ability to create new currencies that were completely digital. It was in the blockchain and the technology behind it. The most common metaphor that is used to understand this concept is one of a big ledger, a digital accounting book that registers every transaction. Once a crypto transaction has been made, it is recorded for ever. The principle, therefore, is one of ownership and transparency. This can be extrapolated form the monetary to the artistic. Enter the Non-Fungible Token (NFT). An NFT has the same programming principles as a cryptocurrency. The difference here is that each of them unique, and therefore not exchangeable like for like. One bitcoin will always be worth another bitcoin. But NFTs, by their very nature, cannot compare their values to one another. In very utilitarian terms, this allowed for a way to create scarcity in the digital assets market.
Now, why does it make sense that art and art ownership make this migration to NFTs? Well, let’s think of what the Internet has done over the years. The first wave of the Internet, the inception of the World Wide Web, was one of content consumption in a passive way. The second wave —web 2.0— is characterized by interactivity, the ability to be part of the conversation, on par with institutions that had traditionally dominated communications. This came about through social media. Now, much has been said about web 3.0 being all about cloud computing and mobile applications. But if we use the specific term of Web3, then we are talking about the introduction of blockchain, decentralization, and being able to own a piece of the Internet. If you think of art as assets that gain value in time —and NFTs as digital assets— now you have an answer to the question at the beginning of the paragraph. Artists are able to sell more of their art through purely digital means, and buyers have a way to verify that ownership.
How does blockchain and Web3 impact the art gallery sector?
Somnium Prucha Gallery (SOPRG), decided to make use of their ingenuity and venture into Blockchain ecosystem. Through this new endeavor, they are able to offer artists direct-to-consumer relations, and the ability to get commissions on future sales. It also allows for art investors and collectors to get a foot in this new ecosystem and acquire digital assets.
The art gallery can sell the artwork through their website, as well as Open Sea (the leading Non-Fungible Token marketplace). They also own a piece of digital real-estate through the Somnium Space metaverse. This way, you can get the experience of an actual visit of an art gallery, except this is happening in the digital realm. All one would have to do is go to the SOPRG Somnium parcel, enter the building, and enjoy the visit.
SOPRG are not into the pixel-art cliché that has dominated the industry. This family-owned business helps to sell art that is done the old fashion way, where the most important instrument is creativity and being able to express it. Once a painting is finished, the art is digitalized with thanks to a state-of-the-art scanning technology that ensures that all the colors are captured in high fidelity, with all of the shadows and nuances.
In this new stage of Internet, civilization, and even mankind, it’s very good to see that artistic expression can be at fore of it all. It’s now up to artists and those involved to take a leap of faith and jump into the Web3 fray.