NFTs and the Case Against Right-Click And Save

Imagine walking into the Louvre, right-clicking the Mona Lisa, and saving it. While obtaining an exact 1:1 replica of da Vinci’s most well-known work. This is the dilemma many face when it comes to NFTs, should you buy the art, or do you simply right-click and save?

Reinventing the Past

We’ve all seen the memes on Twitter where someone performs a “heist” by right-clicking and saving an NFT. While most of those images/conversations are memes meant to “troll” actual NFT owners, no NFT owner reacts with anger in such events. NFT owners love art, creativity, and humor. The more their NFT is popularized via memes, the more that NFT is recognized, therefore the more it’s worth.

After all, the most successful NFTs are literally memes with certain bathos to them. A modern take on traditional art. A banana taped to the wall sold for $120,000 EACH (there are three of the exact same art pieces, two of which sold).

“Comedian”, a 2019 artwork by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan that sold for $120,000.

As with everything from the past, modern technology is here to stay. It is reinventing traditions that have grown exclusive and out of reach for the average Joe, all whilst bringing them to the masses. Take, for example, how the banking system is essentially being torn apart as we speak by DeFi.

When was the last time you visited an art exhibit or auction? Would you even be let in without a suit, tie, and at least a few million in your bank account? What if you were an artist? Could you get your art in these exhibits or auction them off fairly without jumping through hoops, knowing people, and spending decades building up a name?

Digital vs Traditional Artists

Most of the world has gone digital. Why haven’t other things such as art? With the mass adoption of tech, artists are switching away from traditional forms of art such as oil paintings and sculpting to modern technology such as digital art and 3D design. While the two are somewhat similar, they’re both very complicated and unique in their own way.

Traditional art allows artists to express themselves physically, while digital artists may express themselves digitally in a less-anxiety inducing environment due to technology making fixing mistakes easy. Think CTRL+Z when they mess up.

Traditionally, one wrong brush stroke may ruin a painting and require restarting or touchups to revert the mistake. Digital artists are allowed to express their visions and create more freely. They may discard a perfect finalized version of that versus a traditional painting because the artist did not like the final result, they didn’t spend thousands on hand made brushes made from an overly pampered horse tail raised in burma.

You can’t take a traditional artist and ask them to become a digital artist. They’d have to understand that tools, software, and techniques – while on the other hand (in most cases), you could take a digital artist and have them create something physical as well. Which is why I personally have never understood the gatekeeping around digital art. It’s, in my opinion – harder to produce, requires more skill (past the understanding of art) in regards to technology, and often captures the true message of what the artist is trying to convey.

New Opportunities for Income

NFT platforms like OpenSea allow artists to express themselves and have created a new means of income for those who wish to make a living. Traditionally, artists often do not make any money and have difficulty getting their art out there, and digital art is often seen as worthless.

Think how Van Gogh’s art wasn’t recognized until after his death, living most of his life as an ordinary man scraping by. Thanks to platforms like OpenSea, modern-era artists can auction off their art, which is now worth something – to those interested—skipping the middle man auction houses which required you to have connections, extreme wealth, and a reputation to partake.

Those from a creative background that wanted to pursue a fulfilling life in art but couldn’t due to the decades of gate-keeping around the industry by the general public and those in that industry can now pursue that career. Folks who’ve studied art and dedicated their life to it can now earn a liveable income through this new wave of revolutionizing technology.

Much like any form of new tech, it’s often mocked extensively before mass adoption. Examples of these are everywhere in history. An example of this is the mass adoption of the telegraph, which was mocked and villainized in the late 1800s. Remember when your grandpa said things like, “back in my day, we would go outside and play?” Mocking and villainizing modern technology. The technology that revolutionized how we express ourselves, build and maintain social connections, and entertainment. Not to mention that same technology revolutionizing modern medicine.

NFTs Are Not Only About Art

NFTs aren’t just for art – this is a common misconception, but NFTs can be used for proof-of-ownership over assets and IP, such as music artist “minting” a melody on a chain to have immutable proof of ownership. How this might play out in court in the future is hard to say, we might see a shift towards the usage of blockchain in the modern-day chaotic and insanity-inducing system – Patents & Copyright infringements.

Imagine a world where inventors and those who lead technology “patent” their technology on the blockchain well before applying for a patent to secure their hard work. If you don’t want to imagine something so complex, imagine how passports, and other forms of identification (ID, Birth Certificate, and so on) can be hosted on a centralized-government managed blockchain, where something like a traffic stop means querying your ID data to verify authenticity. We’re very early to this technology, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what it’s capable of, and its vast level of use-cases.

An argument I’ve heard is:

“If the society hits the fan, and the electric grid goes down, your NFT is worthless because it’s inaccessible.”

I’d like to believe if the electric grid went down, there would be greater things of concern rather than art. If the electric grid went down and society “failed,” the Mona Lisa itself would be as good as toilet paper. So would your Fiat Money, Designer Clothes, Collectibles, and much more.

If society hit the fan, would you – personally be able to access art in any museum around the world? You’re probably not even going to worry about that in the event of an apocalypse, and if you are – I’m sorry to say you’d probably be among the first people that get turned into a sous vide steak.

Another popular argument to break NFT’s is:

99% of the people that buy NFT’s hope they can turn around and resell them at a higher value to some other shmuck.

Well, congrats, you just described investing. 100%, not 99%, 100% of all folks who invest in crypto are buying a set number of tokens at a certain price, hoping to resell them later at a higher price to some other person. The same concept applies to stocks or any investing. Flipping cars, houses, or any traditional investment is the same concept.

NFTs vs Right-Click & Save

Right-clicking and saving an image is equivalent to saving an MP3 file. Yes, you can enjoy it – and while this is just my personal opinion, it’s just as good as paying for the music. But you’re not really “enjoying” the music by doing that, as you haven’t supported the artist much like how NFT projects have a recurring revenue stream to support artists.

While not all projects are backed by artists, the majority of successful ones are. You’re not just buying just a piece of art and potentially history; you’re buying an experience. Most NFTs, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), have exclusive cult-like communities that can only be accessed by owning a BAYC. Each with their own set of perks and access to things an everyday person would otherwise not have easy access to—often referenced in pop culture media by the likes of Post Malone and The Weeknd.

Yes, you can technically right-click and save. It’s the same image after all – but it doesn’t grant you the feeling of owning that NFT. It’s not yours. It’s the same as turning on your printer and printing a stamp worth a few million on some sticky paper. Just because you have, it doesn’t mean it’s worth a few million as it’s not the original. The same idea applies to baseball cards or any collectible. You could theoretically 3D print your favorite limited-edition funko pop or purchase a perfect replica of a Rolex Submariner for a fraction of the price. Or purchase replica designer clothing that’s 1:1. It doesn’t mean you own the real deal, the real thing.

No More Gate-Keeping

In conclusion, NFTs have opened many doors to artists and art-enjoyers by cutting out a gate-keeping and traditionally mysterious approach to art. They are allowing artists to earn a liveable wage while allowing art-enjoyers to own a piece of art traditionally discarded by the masses due to being digital in nature.

The beauty of blockchain allows for transparency and proof of ownership. It is even more foolproof than original art, where you would need an expert to verify a real art piece. With blockchain, anyone can verify that you hold the original NFT art piece.

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Image credit via: Bored Ape Yacht Club

*All investment/financial opinions expressed by are from the personal research and experience of our site moderators and are intended as educational material only. Individuals are required to fully research any product prior to making any kind of investment.

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