Interest in NFTs or non-fungal tokens increased this year, reaching $ 2.5 billion in sales so far. That compares with just $ 13.7 million in the first half of 2020.
During this time, many artists, such as Justin Aversano, have shaped or verified their work. NFTs are unique digital assets, such as jpegs and video clips, represented by code recorded on blockchain, a decentralized digital ledger.
Each NFT can be bought and sold, as can physical assets, but the blockchain enables tracking of ownership and validity. It has also led to an additional source of revenue for many creators.
Aversano, known for his portrait photography, was able to sell all 100 portraits in his “Twin Flames”
“I was the first NFT portrait photographer ever on the blockchain,” the 28-year-old says. “I was like, ‘I put my art on the blockchain because this is a tool,’ as it allows artists to tokenize, own and take advantage of their pieces. “Why would no artist be involved in this?” Asks Aversano.
Aversano learned about NFTs earlier this year after talking to a notable collector in space. He sent a message to the collector after noticing that he was buying a CryptoPunk NFT for six figures. Aversano was hoping to get him to buy all the physical portraits in the “Twin Flames” collection.
“I reached out like, ‘Hey man, if you bought CryptoPunk for that, you’d like to buy 100 [physical] photos for $ 100,000? You just spent more on a JPEG, ‘”says Aversano.
Instead, collector Aversano recommended keeping his physical “Twin Flames” collection instead of selling it. Aversano may be able to sell the entire collection to an institution later, he said, but in the meantime, he could sell digital versions of his photography as NFTs.
“He opened my eyes” to the NFT world, says Aversano.
One thing that stood out for Aversano was the fact that he could continue to earn royalties on his portraits after they were sold as NFTs. Due to smart contracts or collections of code that execute a set of instructions on blockchain, creators can earn additional compensation from secondary sales of their NFTs. Like most artists in space, Aversano requires a royalty of at least 10% on secondary sales of his NFTs.
The total sales volume for “Twin Flames” including the value of resale is over $ 565,000 per. Friday according to the NFT platform OpenSea. Although far greater than what Aversano has taken, he is able to continue to earn on the continued sales volume through royalties, which he says is crucial for artists.
“Royalties off for any sale is passive income for artists,” says Aversano. For him, it has given a sense of economic stability.
Aversano also prioritizes giving back. Along with his work as an artist, he is a co-founder of Save Art Space, a nonprofit that brings community art to public spaces and has donated portions of its NFT sales to charities.
He sold his latest “Twin Flames” portrait as an NFT for $ 35,280 during a Sotheby’s auction on June 10. Instead of keeping the profits, he donated all the proceeds to the NFT community through the Sevens Foundation, he says.
Aversano has also collected a few NFTs himself. In May, he spent over $ 43,730 – which was a large majority of his NFT income until then – to buy a CryptoPunk. The community of CryptoPunk collectors has supported his work, Aversano says, and he would again buy his own CryptoPunk to support them as well.
“I was like ‘OK, I want to buy this and really represent the CryptoPunk community because they have been the ones who supported me, trusted me and believed in me, so I want to show them that I believe in, support and trust also in this community, “he says.” I am willing to spend half of my money to be a part of it. ”
Not surprisingly, Aversano has a very bullish view of the future of the NFT: “Artists can take back power and put their art on a platform that will actually help them be abundant financially.”
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