HM Wilkins Imperial says NFT art platforms are demonstrating that the tokens have far from reached their peak earlier this year. Sales skyrocketed in August, jumping up three-fold from the “spring peak”. However, the success of NFTs may not be reflecting in many artists’ bank accounts.
American digital artist Beeple made a $69 million sale on an NFT collection in March this year. Shortly after, a market plunge in May led to a popular opinion that Beeple marked the financial peak of NFTs. Now, NFTs are practically a household name, with a $7 billion market and participation by major institutions and celebrities. A legal battle between director Quentin Tarantino and Miramax over “Pulp Fiction” NFTs is brewing.
“While cryptocurrency is inherently volatile, and NFTs have had an erratic year, the tokens are expanding rapidly at the moment,” says an economist at HM Wilkins Imperial. “The merge between cryptocurrency and art is prompting a conversation around artists’ royalties. The influx in NFT-generated wealth is largely benefiting a select few, mainly white men. What appears to be a more accessible financial network is maintaining the frameworks of many other markets.”
One of the more coveted NFT forms is generative art, or online galleries code-tweaked to form hundreds of pieces that resemble but deviate from one another. Generative art and other art NFTs are most popularly traded through the online platform Art Blocks.
“In September alone, Art Blocks made $243 million in sales,” says the HM Wilkins Imperial economist. “While some artists are gaining a surprise fortune, white men are prevailing while women and people of color are, in general, struggling to have their work spotlighted. A decentralized network signifies ideas of seller equality, but buyers are more prone to investing when white men are selling.”