Where have NFTs gone?

Digital art. Will NFTs disappear as quickly as they burst onto the art market in 2021? This takes the path of considering the silence of their various promoters for several months. Remember that NFTs are certificates of authenticity registered on the blockchain, aiming by pure intellectual construction to decree that any digital file (which can be copied infinitely) is “unique”. There are three categories of files: “collectibles” which are vignettes (of monkeys, sailors, etc.), digital works of art and all the others. In this third category, we find, for example, real works of art that their museum owners have marketed as digital reproductions.

NFT #5465 and #68 from the “Bored Ape Yacht Club” series.

© OpenSea

The British Museum, which had sold NFTs of Hokusai engravings, no longer communicates at all on the subject. Christie’s, which launched its “art” and “collectibles” NFT auctions with great fanfare in September 2022, carried out six auctions, the last in July 2023, but is not announcing future sales. The Center Pompidou is the last major museum – to our knowledge – to have acquired NFTs, it was last April.

Very significantly, while at the time of the euphoria on NFTs, the web was overflowing with rave analyzes on the prospects of gains, it became very difficult to find reports on the evolution of the NFT market. The last quarterly report from the NonFungible site dates from the third quarter of 2022 and it already announced the decline, which has accelerated since. In one year, the number of daily transactions on NFT buying and selling platforms has been divided by eight. The value of the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Etherum has stabilized over the past year, but it has fallen sharply since 2021. If there are still gogoes out there to buy a CryptoPunks for $100,000, there are fewer and fewer of them; the market is beginning to understand that it is based on wind.

“Punk It!”  », lot of 104 CryptoPunks that collector 0x650d wanted to sell at Sotheby's New York on February 23, 2022. © Sotheby's

“Punk It!” », lot of 104 CryptoPunks that collector 0x650d wanted to sell at Sotheby’s New York on February 23, 2022.

© Sotheby’s

As for works of digital art where the worst rubs shoulders with the best, let’s risk an explanation. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) software which produces astonishing images, sometimes of high artistic quality, has perhaps cooled buyers who are no longer prepared to pay for digital works created by human artists, for some not creative enough to distinguish them from AI-generated works.

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