Through Brontë H. Lacsamana
BEFORE the pandemic, hardly anyone knew about non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These digital assets, like bitcoin and ether, are traded using blockchain technology. But unlike cryptocurrencies, they are unique (therefore not fungible).
NFT art and game objects use digital certificates to authenticate rare online assets and track their movements. This concept, new to most people, has seen an influx of activity from artists and gamers who have learned to use technology to their advantage.
NFTs gained notoriety thanks to the Beeples of the world, whose digital works of art were auctioned for millions of dollars. Local artists have also taken advantage of this new place to sell their works, but at more modest prices.
“Having a market where digital art could be marketed like physical art is a crazy idea, honestly. It’s great to have a value exchange for your art, ”said Peter Corazo, a Cebu-based artist known online as xlvrbk (pronounced Silverback), who sells his 3D and virtual reality (VR ) in the form of an NFT on the blockchain.
With guaranteed ownership and authenticity, as well as a purely digital nature, NFT art has attracted people like xlvrbk, who then found communities on Twitter and Discord. These digital spaces, cohesive and constantly updated, offered artists options outside the traditional path of the industry, with art collectors reaching out to artists directly online.
On the gaming side, the Philippines has become a hotspot for blockchain-based gaming due to people looking for alternative income during the pandemic. In a game to win called Infinite Axis, players buy NFTs in the form of pets called Axies, which they use to win battles and collect items that can then be traded or sold for Ethereum.
An increase in demand in early 2021 triggered a rise in prices, making it more expensive to join new players. Enter Yield Guild Games (YGG), a decentralized stand-alone organization that invests in blockchain games and NFT assets, and lends Axies to “scholars” who want to learn how to play and eventually win.
The NFT income of these researchers is distributed in three ways: between the researcher (70%), Yield Guild (10%) and the community manager who recruited and trained them (20%).
In mid-August, YGG announced that its scholarship program had 4,600 players, mainly from the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Venezuela, Peru and Brazil. The earnings reached the equivalent of $ 3.26 million in July, the highest monthly earnings to date.
INTERACT LIKE ‘IRL’
NFT communities in the Philippines are integrated with their “traditional” counterparts.
In May, Art Fair Philippines devoted an entire section to NFTs, acknowledging the growth of the country’s crypto community. The online edition of the event gave crypto artists a platform to share their thoughts on the development of NFT art.
During the course of the fair, digital artist xlvrbk organized a Philippine crypto VR art exhibition: “It is easier to organize than the real exhibitions because the logistics are much easier. We had about a dozen artists and a really fun opening night where people showed up to the VR space and interacted with each other, kind of like an IRL gallery (in real life) ” , he said via email.
The two events made up for the inability of artists and art lovers to come together at physical fairs and actual galleries due to the quarantine restrictions. The digital space, with all its innovative possibilities, has allowed people to browse rooms Fifilled with installations, paintings, images and videos.
One downside to this art scene, however, is burnout. At the fair, the conversation between crypto artists focused on the importance of self-marketing and online socialization at spaces like the Narra Art Gallery, an NFT art center co-owned by Colin Goltra. and Mr. Dizon from YGG, in order to sell their art.
“By putting yourself out there, sometimes that kind of pressure can get to you if you’re not used to this stuff,” said Michelle “Shelly” Soneja, artistic director for mobile and blockchain games studio Altitude Games. , which launched into NFT. art in 2020. “There are so many new technologies every day, every hour. “
ALTERNATIVES AND OTHER APPLICATIONS
There are several blockchains for people who want to build assets – or create NFTs – to choose from. The typing fee, known as the gasoline fee, can cost 2,000 P2, according to the crypto artists on the Art Fair panel.
While Bitcoin and Ethereum are well-known blockchain networks, alternatives like Tezos, Polygon, and Polkadot charge less for minting and have a lower carbon footprint.
“Just on a relative scale, (Tezos) uses – by some estimates – two million times less energy than Ethereum to perform the same types of transactions,” said Marissa Trew, chief marketing officer of TZ APAC, a firm. blockchain consultancy based in Singapore. Firm, who explained why “Proof-of-Stake” blockchains like Tezos are more energetic andffimore effective than their Proof-of-Work counterparts in a B-side episode.
Although NFTs have received wide attention for art with million dollar price tags, it is the everyday artists and gamers who keep the community alive by turning to the digital space. to earn a living. YGG went beyond gambling to win by opening its own marketplace, allowing members to trade digital assets.
By fostering financial literacy, many have become entrepreneurs themselves by learning to trade assets or find the right time to invest, YGG co-founder Beryl C. Li said in a B-Side episode in July.
For Ms. Trew of TZ APAC, who has invested in the region’s Tezos ecosystem, blockchain has potential for business-to-business transactions such as licensing, supply chain management, and invoicing.
“NFTs have a utility far beyond being a digital asset. There is a large enterprise use case that is in development, ”Ms. Trew said. “There are many real B2B use cases that NFTs are able to deliver far beyond the creators’ economy in the digital space, in terms of music, art and collectibles. “