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As high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) continue to invest in cryptocurrencies and seek to diversify their portfolio, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are slowly gaining asset-class credibility.
Indians are also warming up to this new digital asset that has given creators and collaborators a fresh platform to earn better moolah while generating more value for their work.
NFTs allow people to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items in cryptocurrencies, and keep track of who owns them using the Blockchain. NFTs can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, artworks, tweets, animated GIFs, songs or even video games.
TV host and actor Vishal Malhotra collaborated with artist Ishita Banerjee to release an NFT which was sold last week for 2.5 Ethereum ($5,500) — five times the listed price.
On the NFT marketplace by WazirX, India’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume, a unique NFT, which was a collaborative artwork between pop icon Ritviz and visual artist Santanu Hazarika, was sold for $391.8 within 10 seconds of going live.
WazirX has sold more than 160 pieces of digital art on its platform for NFTs within month of its launch.
The crypto company on June 1 rolled out South Asia’s first NFT Marketplace with 15 creators hailing from diverse categories such as space 3D artists, digital artists, muralist photographers, canvas artists, street artists and visual artists.
The platform came without any listing price and extended 50,000 WRX (WazirX tokens) as bonuses for the community.
“More artists and collectors across the globe are today tapping the power of NFTs. NFTs ensure the exclusivity of ownership and can be seen as a way to digitise artwork and other collectible items,” said Sandesh B Suvarna, VP, WazirX NFT Marketplace.
According to Hazarika, the global NFT market is slowly becoming a crucial promotional tool for all artists to monetise their work and uniquely engage with their community of collectors and fans who value art.
“With NFTs, artists are now open to working with anyone,” he said.
The WazirX NFT Marketplace is powered by the Binance Smart Chain, which brings the gas fee — a sum required to mint the NFT via a blockchain — down from $60-$100 to about $1.
Since the NFTs are interoperable, anyone can later transfer the NFT to a different cryptocurrency such as Ethereum.
An exhibition featuring the artworks of Bengal-born artist, Lalu Prasad Shaw, certified using NFTs is on view at Terrain.art till July 31.
“Terrain.art is delighted to be one of the first blockchain powered platforms in India to register artworks using NFTs, presenting new works and those with prior histories through curated exhibitions,” said its founder Aparajita Jain.
On the global stage, digital artist Michael Winkelmann or Beeple sold one of his NFT arts for nearly $70 million earlier this year.
An NFT artwork by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was sold for more than $5.4 million in April.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey even sold his first tweet as an NFT for over $2.9 million.
According to Capgemini’s World Wealth Report (WWR), with the current stock market surge, HNWIs are seeking to diversify their portfolio with alternative investments.
“Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) are becoming more popular, while non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are slowly gaining asset-class credibility,” the report noted.