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NFT, How do the Thai collectors think about it?

Artblog by Taw Naen

Nothing could beat the trend of NFT Art in the year 2021 or even the history of mankind. Such kind of art had mounted its popularity in the short run. After being known among a limited number of crypto nuts, NFT, unexpectedly, became the talk of the town in less than a year. The feedback from the people was quite mixed; some could make sense of it while others had no ideas. The more time passed, the more its popularity skyrocketed. It seemed that countless people were jumping on the bandwagon; otherwise, they would miss the megatrend. Within a quarter from July to September 2021, the NFT market cap had extended to over 300,000 million THB, seven times valued than before allowing the NFT traders could make a quick buck shortly thereafter. 

NFT abbreviates from ‘Non-Fungible Token’ whose records of ownership have been stored in the Blockchain system, the tremendous digital network beyond one’s imagination. NFT can be counted as one of a kind that cannot be replicated. As well as this, it can be authenticated and transferred to others like a land certification that cannot be presented with similar ownership in the same area. 

“Burning of Metadata” – Line Censor

Previously, it was difficult to hold file ownership in the internet system as those files could be duplicated without sweating. This led to the authenticated problem. Imagine, numerous similar files were flooding the online platform like the ghosts haunting humans on Halloween day causing a big headache to identify the original artists and eligible owners. Luckily, cutting-edge technology called NFT helps us to specify the original creators and the prior owners including the trading price. After NFT technology has widely been encrypted into artworks, this attracts affluent traders to own innovative art in assorted forms: texts, pictures, motion pictures, and sounds, especially artwork that is heavily gained myriad interests from art traders and collectors around the world. 

Some might question the value of NFT art. Yet, it is beyond our imagination. Typically, the value of some artworks could be accelerated by well over a million. Digital art trading practice sounds like a norm similar to the physical one. One striking artwork with the highest price ever is ‘Every day: the First 5000 Days’ created by Mike Winkelman who was well known by the name of ‘Beeple’. His digital file was bid by Christie’s, the world-class auction house at the beginning of 2021 with a price of 69.3 million dollars equivalent to two billion THB. This makes the battle in digital art trading on fire. 

Several months later, in the meeting with my collector friends, the topics about NFT have been highlighted and debated.  ‘What is NFT?’ has been highly frequently asked. Not every collector knew about it. There’re no exceptions with the highly experienced or legendary collectors who were still negligent of NFT despite the NFT’s looming trend. This was because the traditional collectors have been acquainted with physical artworks: paintings, sculptures, statues, etc. 

Although NFT art has been coded into a USB flash drive on sale with the artist certification, its popularity has been far less than the physical one that can be caressed. Thus, it is pretty hard to encourage traditional collectors to cross over their zone to the digital world. Apparently, seeing traditional collectors in the digital realm probably happens gradually in the far future. 

Recently, NFT collectors are poles apart from the former one. Hopefully, if those two groups open their minds and join together, the art circle can be greater than it is now. 

Making NFT art more accessible for physical collectors can be possible in many ways. For example, the artist can print his painting out with his signature identified if his artwork is digitally still-life. Perhaps, the owners can frame the physical painting or feature the digital one on-screen as decoration at their residences. Alternatively, art galleries can promote digitalized work along with physical ones leading to sales-boosting depending on the market strategy. Otherwise, encouraging the sales of electronic screens among collectors can be another choice to promote NFT art as they can enjoy it at their leisure. Stretching NFT art on a larger screen could promote a sense of tangibility and ownership unlike zooming this art on the mobile. This might be because zooming in and out from a smaller screen, such as a mobile, could deprive the sense of ecstasy. Remember, the eyesight of experienced collectors is very long, longer than you think; they don’t have to zoom something miniature in a short distance and they might question owning the digital art which can be duplicable. 

Some collectors might scorn the NFT art that can be reproduced; why do they have to lose their shirts on the intangible work? Since those collectors are familiar with the exclusiveness of one-of-a-kind in the physical world, permission to view it must be prior completed. Moreover, the photos of the paintings in the media are not comparable to the actual ones. In contrast, NFT art on the internet can be accessed and reproduced by anyone. Both authentic and reproduced may look alike leaving a sense of regret to the digital art owners. 

"Cause I know how to make you smile" - Suntur
“Cause I know how to make you smile” – Suntur

However, the wind of change could sweep everywhere, even in the art circle. The sense of privacy is preferable to the collectors in the old time, so they will keep their artwork in the safest place. Nowadays, on the other hand, most collectors prefer showcasing their collectibles in their museums to keeping them in a hideous place. Some manage their virtual art museums online inviting ordinary people or amateur collectors to browse. Some museums promote their artworks on any kind of online platform: Facebook, Instagram, or chatting groups while some are generous enough to lend their artworks to other museums according to the exchange program. This could energize the art circle more than before as previously the collectors prefer keeping their precious collectibles themselves. After the attitude toward art collection has been altered, NFT art can be easily introduced. 

It’s undeniable that the NFT highest bidding price, offered by Christy’s, has hooked the attention around the world together with tempting pricing causing a number of people to rush into the NFT world without thinking. Regardless of artistic senses and skills, the real artists and the wannabe artists plunge themselves into digital art. For those wannabes, they have produced a pile of art with their try-to-be skills in the hope that it might bring them some lucks. Today, copious artworks, both favorable and unfavorable, are inundating the NFT system. Those substandard works, far less in quality but high in quantity, discourage professional collectors from eyeing on. 

‘Why is NFT on the radar of speculators, not collectors?’ 

With its booming price, the speculators expect a windfall return in a short time from NFT. This could be a sensible reason although this concept can’t be applied in an artistic sense. Those collectors take the artwork selection seriously. They view it as an art of living not for investing. Most highly experienced choose pleasing artwork . Those works must be inspirational creating empathy and rumbling the feeling in some ways.  Once they obtain the new art; they appreciate and immerse themselves in a cherishable way. This is the real benefit obtained from art while the market value is not the point. If one wants to reap the tremendous capital gain, he should enter the cryptocurrency or stock markets owing to its liquidity. 

‘What can we do with NFT?’ 

Collecting it as a hobby, showing it to our friends, or keep it as a digital asset, etc. 

Some characters are created by NFT art and can be used as an avatar in our profile picture on the virtual platform, metaverse, which has, recently, been initiated by global companies. NFT also draws innumerable people through its marketing strategies depending on the creators, such as lucky draws, a ticket to an exclusive activity, etc. Nonetheless, NFT art cannot be reproduced for commercial interest. It is prohibited to have NFT art reproducing on mugs, T-shirts, and so on. Basically, both NFT and tangible arts share something in common in terms of ownership. The owners of physical arts have the sole power to hold their ownership even though the artists hold the patent of their works. Nonetheless, the benefit of creating NFT art far outweighs the physical one. The creators can claim their sales share from every trading time. 

"The Darkness" by Gongkan
“The Darkness” by Gongkan

‘How to trade NFT art?’ 

According to my experience, despite having very average technological skills, it’s not easy for me to own NFT art. Firstly, I need to register a digital wallet to keep my cryptocurrency which will be used for trading. Various blockchain platforms made me feel sick as I didn’t know where to start. These confusing processes almost failed me to complete my dream. I couldn’t imagine how mature collectors could complete such a complicated form. Such a time-wasting! Would it be possible to simplify those processes within one click? Otherwise, it would be great to have somebody to take care of my wallet and NFT collection like an account exclusive for stock trading. Should I have any questions, I can ask her anytime, but it would be far better if she was younger than 25 with a clear crystal voice. 

Those aforementioned highly frequented questions reflected the attitudes of traditional collectors towards NFT art. But how about the future of NFT in the Thai art circle? Personally, the high-skilled artists will digitalize their work to serve the needs of the prospected customers on this platform after becoming knowledgeable enough. They would gradually exhibit their skills in the world of NFT. Like what Charles Darwin mentioned in the theory of ‘Survival of the Fittest’, the unimaginative works will be devastated leaving the fittest to survive. Only the creative artists who are determined to contribute the art will be the last standing. 

After real artists enter the virtual world, their fan clubs will, certainly, support them. Their quality can be compromised. According to the rules of thumb, the price bidding for these artworks would not be falling as they have been guaranteed by the artists.  

Counting down to the day for NFT to breakout, the day that collectors open their minds to it. If we compare, NFT is just another form of collectible art encrypted in the digital sphere like our ancients smearing the cave wall with their bare hands. Until one day, the paintbrush has been initiated along with the canvas. Another example could be the development of the clay pottery to be the bronze container. Everything has its way to evolve. No matter how the artist creates their art, it can be collectible. There’s no clear cut answer in art collecting; just pleasing ourselves is enough. Take it easy. Nevertheless, to sum up, understanding NFT concept is a must when you assemble with others; otherwise, you would be jaw-dropping and named as a caveman. 

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