As the metaverse continues to expand, we’ve seen the world of NFTs explode this past year. NFTs are now being sold at record-breaking prices, as they’ve become an increasingly popular way to buy and sell digital artwork. Digital artist Beeple sold perhaps the most famous NFT (Everydays: The First 5000 Days) at Christie’s for a whopping $69.3 million. And Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey recently sold his first tweet as an NFT for over $2.9 million. So, what does this mean for the future of digital assets? We spoke with artist Ayla El-Moussa (whose own NFTs are selling for $40,000), to give us a breakdown on the latest frontier of the digital landscape.
What is an NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible token, which basically means it is a unique item and cannot be replaced with something else.
How do NFTs work?
NFTs are uploaded/coded onto a blockchain- most notably are the NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. NFTs can really be anything. Currently they have been used for art. But in the future, I think everything will initially be run on the blockchain and we have just begun to discover the power of NTFs
What inspired you to start creating NFTs?
I have always known my work would hang in the digital world. It had been something I was trying to do since 2018. My work really lived in the squares of Instagram so when I discovered the world of NFTs I knew this would be my arena.
Are there any benefits to purchasing an NFT?
Essentially you are purchasing a special code that cannot be recreated. So, if you are purchasing a work of art, you literally are able to own that specific work. The provenance of the work can be tracked right back to the moment it was minted (uploaded) onto the blockchain. You are also able to determine if it is authentic to the artist that created it.
How do you determine the value of your NFTs?
Depending on what NFT you are buying there will be what is called a “floor” price, which means the cheapest NFT you can buy from that artist or project. So, the higher the floor price the more the more your piece is worth. If it is a PFP project, there are different attributes assigned to certain pieces that make them rare. With artists, you can look at their archive of work and see their trajectory, previous sales to determine the value of their work.
Where can someone buy and sell an NFT?
There are several platforms that you can purchase from. One of the most common ones for big profile photo projects (PFPs) can be found on OpenSea but you have to make sure the account is verified and not a fake account. There are other “curated” platforms like SuperRare, Foundation, and NifyGateway. Those currently are the main platforms to purchase from.
What do you do with an NFT after you buy it?
So once you buy an NFT it will be held in your crypto wallet, which will show on the blockchain that you are the holder of the NFT. You can then display it in the “metaverse” if you like and there are companies now that are creating screens where you are able to directly hook up your crypto wallet and display your art in the physical world as well.
How are NFTs protected? Being digital art, can anyone download an NFT?
NFTs are protected via the blockchain- and yes anyone can “right click save” a work of art but that doesn’t mean they own it. You can take a picture of the Mona Lisa, but you don’t own it. It's pretty easy to track if someone is stealing NFTs or “fake” owning them by finding that particular NFT and seeing what wallet has it. The crypto community also plays a big role in weeding out the fakes.
What’s your favorite NFT that you’ve created?
That’s hard. I really love all of the pieces I’ve created. But my most recent series, Sacred Geometry, is one of my favorites just because of the amount of historic and symbolic research I did to make the concept come to life and the hidden meanings behind the works.
What inspires you when you create?
So much inspires me. Nature and the ocean would probably be my number one. And because I photograph myself, I have to constantly find interesting inspiration within art history and music.
For more on Ayla’s work, check out her NFT profile on SuperRare, as well as our beautiful photography that she has collaborated on for Agent Nateur.