Don’t feel left out if you don’t know what NFT are. The hottest topic in today’s tech talk relates to a not-so-new method of authenticity and value in the market. But first, let’s see in detail what NFTs are prior to explaining their role for photographers.
NFTs stand for “Non-Fungible Token”, which in the economical aspect of the word, it refers to a value that cannot be traded for something else of similar value. In the lexicon of currencies, this is the reason why NFTs are quickly gaining value against fiat currencies (i.e.: the US dollar), they simply cannot devalue due to political reasons. NFTs are verified by blockchain technology, giving you a complete transaction list including its owner (past and present), as well as its creator. Whereas there’s so much to talk about the importance of NFT for financial reasons, let’s stick to what matters to us photographers.
The biggest advantage blockchain technology offers us is the transparency of transactions. In terms of the photography industry, there’s no way to forge an ownership attribute with NFTs as they clearly state their creator, plus the complete list of ownership changes.
Instead of relying on physical signatures, documents, or EXIF data (which we all know can be altered), NFTs will create a new method of validation for any photographers’ work. Simply transform your work into NFT after its lengthy validation process and no one else can claim ownership of your work.
Truth is, once the validation process is done, you can prevent misusage or leaks of your work by adding the strict rule of a percentage in royalties for each time the “token” is downloaded. This is by far a better prevention method than going to scammy “lawyer” firms that offer copyright protection services. No one else takes a portion of your royalties, and you can check each time who acquired the work you did.
Ultimately, you can set the amount of “prints” are available for sale, giving them a higher value if they are considered a limited edition. Please keep in mind I used quote marks when referring to prints as this technology is applicable only to the digital world right now, not for physical mediums.
There are several places available as markets for NFTs. The most popular by demand are Bitsky, KnownOrigin, and OpenSea. However, keep an eye on other non-conventional places, as many world-renowned auction houses are opting for NFTs due to the increasing amount of collections keen on digital art. There’s a huge market out there, and the next step comes from Facebook and Instagram offering support for NFT transactions on their platforms.
Basic knowledge of Web3 technology and cryptocurrencies is a must if you aim to get the most of this chance. You could be led to scams by skilled hackers in case you lack knowledge of the discipline.
Another valuable trait is to be aware of the real value of your assets since it’s tempting to offer them for a low price just to make an income out of them. My advice is to stick to watching and learning for at least 2-3 months prior to converting your work into NFT. Then, you can venture, but always at respectable marketplaces (and not the undernet).