Experts weigh in on NFT craze during Art Basel Miami Beach

Art Basel Miami Beach introduced the NFT as a unique unit of data that provides proof of ownership. While it’s stored on a digital ledger, it is associated with different types of digital files through blockchain technology.

MIAMI – Non-fungible tokens allow creators to make money every time their works sell even when they are not involved in the transaction. The companies involved with the NFTs make fees. Cryptocurrency investors see it as an opportunity. The artworld is intrigued by the secondary market.

NFT’s made headlines in March when Mike Winkelmann, better known as digital artist Beeple, made history. The 40-year-old designer and animator sold a digital collage at Christie’s for more than $69 million. It was the third-highest price ever achieved by a living artist at Christie’s.

For those who didn’t understand its significance at Art Basel Miami Beach, NFTs were this year’s banana duct-taped to a wall. The NFT is a unique unit of data that provides proof of ownership. While it’s stored on a digital ledger, it is associated with different types of digital files.

“To understand what is non-fungible you need to understand what is fungible. For instance, money: I loan you $10; you give me $10 back a year from now. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same $10 bill. What is non-fungible is an asset that you cannot exchange for another asset, so the non-fungible token is related to an image or to videos from artists,” said Gregoire Vogelsang, the founder of the Cube Art Fair.

In the art market, supporters of NFTs say the technology can solve the problems with authenticity and ownership and increase price transparency thanks to a decentralized blockchain, a tamperproof network of computers that tracks transactions with precision.

Vogelsang’s fair took over 50 billboards across Miami as a public art project that went beyond the vicinity of the Miami Beach Convention Center, where Art Basel has been held since 2002. The popularity of the fair has also attracted fashion houses and music producers.

Cherise Gary, a musical artist known as UNIIQU3, views NFTs as an opportunity to share her digital art pieces and songs. She said the coronavirus pandemic has had a radical impact on both creators and consumers of art and the NFT increases access. There are those who are concerned about the speculative market.

“This is more direct ... I feel like it’s a really great way to eliminate third parties and focus on the community we are creating,” Gary said on Sunday during This Week In South Florida. “Crypto has its dips, so I am definitely riding with US dollar right now, but crypto is definitely a part of the future and I am really excited to see in the future what the blockchain looks like for artists like me.”

Both Vogelsang and Gary both believe in the staying power of NFTs.

Watch the full episode of TWISF

Today's This Week In South Florida includes interviews about the coronavirus pandemic, a new threat to manatees in Biscayne Bay and NFTs at Art Basel Miami Beach.

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About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.