A Rising Virtual Renaissance

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dec 23 2021

“A Rising Virtual Renaissance”

By: Ryan Henesey

Key takeaways

  • NFTs provide artists a new stream of revenue
  • Proof of Sale/Ownership with NFTs And blockchain technology has the power to protect the artistic integrity
  • NFTs provide artists the ability to interact with their base or engage with new community

Almost every week

I see a headline about CryptoPunks, CapoCoin, or professional athletes getting involved with NFTs & Crypto. This specific aspect of the crypto ecosystem is only the beginning of a virtual renaissance that is coming. So let’s talk about it. Whether you’re fully encompassed in the crypto ecosystem or taking your first steps, we’re going to cover some foundational information on NFTs and Crypto as a whole. These tools, combined with an artists’ drive truly is a force to be reckoned with. Art is fueled by creativity and innovation. The funny thing is, you could say the same about crypto. In a nutshell, the most famous cryptocurrency Bitcoin, was created with one fundamental purpose. “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” This is the opening sentence of the Bitcoin “White Paper”.

A white paper is an in-depth description about the inner workings of a cryptocurrency or blockchain. You can, and should, find the white paper of any crypto if you want to know it’s true purpose. While dense in its language, if you take the time and process the information, you can come out on the other side with a new perspective on the associated crypto. Above I mentioned a term that you’ve probably heard around crypto as well, blockchains. What is a blockchain? In a nutshell, a blockchain is essentially a ledger of transactions and data. Once a transaction has happened it is written into this ledger with the appropriate information associated with it. A blockchain is “Decentralized”, and this is important. It means that no one person or authority has control over the blockchain in its entirety. The last term I want to cover before we dive into how this applies to art, is one that is quite popular, NFTs.

NFTs are the new shining star for crypto at the moment. The idea of someone paying six figures for a digital image is unfathomable to some. However, it’s 2021 and we’ve all seen crazier things recently. An NFT is a “non-fungible token”. It assigns ownership to that which it’s being assigned to. That ownership is documented and stored on a blockchain. At this current moment, NFTs exist in the form of digital art, digital collectibles, music, and a movie. NFTs can be listed, bought, and sold on NFT marketplaces. The most popular being Open Sea. All one needs to interact with this market is a phone/computer, a digital wallet, and crypto. There is no one force or entity that has shaped this new ecosystem we are discussing. This was developed, tested, and birthed into the world through many, many individuals and companies. Thanks to having information and technology being distributed through open-source networks like GitHub, it is important to remember that the foundation of crypto is community. Art is very similar in this aspect as well. Art does not grow from one source or one person. It’s been a fundamental part of our existence that has been molded, grown, discarded, revived, and developed through those that participate in it.

The intersection of Crypto and Art ultimately comes down to you, the artist. It is a tool that can be used to further push oneself, or a group of selves. It is only as powerful as the user intends it to be. So how powerful can it be? Let’s find out. If we look at the terms we covered earlier, you can see how they intersect.

  • NFTs are the object
  • Bitcoin (or otherwise) is the form of payment
  • Blockchains are the way to accurately track transactions & data

Having your art displayed virtually will undeniably open you to a wider audience than your local art gallery. If your goal is to catch the most fish, cast the widest net you have. Stepping into a virtual community will open your abilities to interact with a wider audience. NFTs have the spotlight on them for now, so this will be the widest net, but not for long. Any new technology or development in our world will shine bright like a star, until a larger and brighter star comes along and casts a shadow on it. Will that smaller star still exist? Of course it will, however that is the nature of the world we live in.

Cryptocurrencies seem far fetched to some however, in my 7 plus years of developing my knowledge on crypto, I’ve seen even the largest titans bow down and publicly or privately step into the ecosystem. Let’s revisit the sentence from the Bitcoin White Paper. “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” The fundamental of this ecosystem is based on avoiding financial institutions or other third parties to interfere with the peer-to-peer payments. Some call this utopian, I call it just around the corner. By downloading a digital wallet for crypto, you step out of being financially codependent to what I call “financial autonomy”. You and those you interact with can send crypto without the eyes of another watching or interfering.

Lastly, blockchains as I mentioned, provide storage for transactions and data that permanently exist on the blockchain. I will discuss security within this ecosystem at a later time, however, data that is stored on blockchains is permanent. This includes documented ownership of NFTs. Ownership, Intellectual Property, and Royalties are fundamentals for any artist, no matter the medium. The crypto ecosystem has the ability to protect those fundamentals by storing the transactional data and ownership rights associated with an NFT. “But Ryan, I don’t want to make NFTs!” I hear you, and like I said before, it’s a tool that can be used to push your art. All these are tools that can be used at your discretion. It’s truly possible to be an artist and simply accept payments in the form of Bitcoin or any other preferred cryptocurrency.

This is why I created the platform, The Henesey Art House, with this exact purpose in mind. Let artists display their art, virtually, and give them the financial autonomy to do business with their clients. By giving artists the ability to do business with no interference by a third party, the artist regains power behind their art. It is theirs every step of the way. I believe it is imperative for the nart community to develop within this crypto ecosystem. Learn from each other, collaborate, mdebate, and grow into a new virtual renaissance that anyone can participate in.

Connect with the Author

Ryan Henesey

website: heneseyarthouse.com

Don’t forget to order your print copy of Artwalk Magazine issue 02. Available now.