NFTs Are a Danger to Emerging Artists

Website of FIU’s NFTs club created by students, the Meta Panda Club. Nicole Ardila/ PantherNOW

Carlos Pino/ Staff Writer

Cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs, have been a growing trend in the past few years. But it is too volatile of a market for FIU students,  as NFTs are focused on short-term profits while exploiting artists.

NFTs are gaining a lot of attention from people who are looking to make investments that produce passive income or higher profits. 

However, there is no founding intrinsic value over NFTs. In short, they are digital assets that are made to represent practically anything. But that’s the keyword, they are valued over what they mean, not over what they produce. 

NFTs are made to be unique; people create a scarcity of NFTs to make them more valuable. So, when someone buys an NFT, they aren’t buying and appreciating the original artwork, they are buying a link to a representation of the artwork. 

But, NFTs have not been making artists rich

Originally, NFTs were a way in which artists could monetize their work without relying on auctions, galleries, or commissions to live sustainably, while simultaneously being able to keep their original pieces. 

Yet, the money used in purchasing the artwork is soft money or money with a value that isn’t defined by federal law since it isn’t regulated. 

There have been many instances where investors would make NFTs of artists’ works without their permission or consent.

It’s no secret that Miami and its government find a lot of interest in the potential of this budding technology as they introduced their new cryptocurrency, MiamiCoin

Although there’s excitement surrounding this concept and its uses, cryptocurrency and NFTs are more of a danger than not.

This growing popularity of NFTs is becoming increasingly visible. 

Even here at FIU, where they have the Meta Panda Club, which aims at “building the world’s largest basketball community” through the collection of NFTs. 

“Through this club, we are forging strong bonds with our other members and Panda NFT holders that love basketball,” says FIU alumni Anthony Alonzo, who’s now an ambassador for the Meta Panda Club.

NFTs are viable things that people are making important decisions over, and that can be worrisome for both buyers and artists.

But the main concern is how they can affect artists, who don’t make much of the massive profits that investors do.

If art is exploited as a commodity to some arbitrary value, it takes away the purpose of the art as being an evocation of human emotion and life reflection. The purpose of the art is then quantified to the value of a concept because of these investors. 

Essentially, when you buy an NFT, you aren’t buying the piece of art, you’re buying a link to the art piece.

“Some other projects that use lower quality art, I feel it’s not so much honoring art and more so them going for a quick way to make money,” said Alonzo. 

Even down to the buyers themselves, many of them aren’t buying into NFTs with the intent to support the artist. They’re merely creating an opportunity of digital scarcity off of the artist’s work, without having an opinion or attachment to the original work. 

That is not what art should be subjected to.

“As an artist, I find NFTs to be very reductive,” said Briana Angulo, an FIU junior majoring in women and gender studies and fine arts. 

“It’s not even about the art,” Angulo said, “to me, it’s just a way for capitalism to present itself.”

The trouble then brews for artists, in their attempt to find an economical way to sustain themselves, they’re being exploited for their work without receiving much money. Any buyer can make millions off of a representation of the artists’ work and have no means to actually support the artist in their endeavors to make a living. 

For example, there have been numerous accounts of artists who have been scammed or hacked by others online and then stole the non-fungible tokens from said artists, such as actor and singer Jay Chou. Often these scams happen through phishing attacks or malicious NFT links.

NFT artist, Melonbabe of Bored Punks Society, has mentioned that many NFT artists can be exploited as their art can be uploaded to a blockchain without any permission needed from the artist. 

Non-fungible tokens were intended to make the life of an artist much easier by utilizing a new way to monetize their hard work. However, due to intentions of capital gain, NFTs have deviated from their original intention to this wave of exploitation of the artist.

These investors relying on NFTs for their subjective wealth often don’t appreciate nor see the dedication of work that goes into the art, they only see how to monetize something in a very volatile market.


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