American writer Elbert Hubbard said, “Art is not a thing, it is a means.” For Bitcoin (BTC) artists, the method is inspired by Bitcoin, its symbol, philosophy, and images. In some cases, it’s inspired by memes. Bitcoin has become a “way of life” for some Bitcoin artists, which inspires their way of doing business, accepting payments and interacting with customers.
Cointelegraph asked Bitcoin artists what inspires them about the invention of 13-year-old Satoshi Nakamoto and whether minting a non-fungible token (NFT) will complement their “way” of artwork. After all, an NFT is a unique digital receipt to prove ownership of a purchase that lives on the blockchain. Surely artists will want to prove ownership of the art they worked on away?
Lina poses with one of her pieces of art. Source: justlenasart
Lena, a Bitcoin artist who recently moved from Germany to crypto-friendly Dubai, started creating, drawing and printing Bitcoin artwork after diving down a Bitcoin rabbit hole in 2018. She says that while starting her crypto career as a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin changed its approach and took over responsibility in the end. She now runs a “maximum model” Bitcoin wallet:
“I changed my mind and started working on myself, asking myself what am I doing with my life because of Bitcoin. Bitcoin has become a way of life, so I should put all my savings into Bitcoin.”
When talking to people in the crypto community, she explains that she’s a Bitcoin artist, which crypto enthusiasts ask, “Oh, do NFTs?” She told Cointelegraph that she replied, “No! Material art!”
“OpenSea is full of art that doesn’t look like art — I mean, art is always up to the person, but it was a lot to me.”
However, countless artists make a living generating AI artwork and selling or minting it as NFTs on platforms like OpenSea. The biggest stories of 2021 included a group of cartoon chimpanzees – the Bored Ape Yacht Club – and CryptoPunks, as well as digitally rendered photos or artwork.
In the bear market of 2022, the hype around NFTs has evaporated. However, big-name brands like Starbucks continue to jump on the shopping cart, while luxury jewelry maker Tiffany’s caused volume to increase by 1,700% after NFT’s move in August.
When asked if FractalEncrypt (an anonymous Bitcoin artist) will release an NFT of their art in the future, they told Cointelegraph: “Absolutely not.” FractalEncrypt sculpts the large, lavish, and time-consuming complete Bitcoin node structures that it has hidden in locations around the world:
“I created the NFTs in 2017/18 and the more I looked into them, the more disappointed I became. They felt deceived by nature, and continuing down this path would make me a crook in my eyes.”
FractalEncrypt explained that the link between art and the token was “ephemeral at best and outright distortion/fraud at worst.” They compare the issuance of NFTs similar to the issuance of tokens by central companies, which can be problematic and even litigable.
But that doesn’t mean that FractalEncrypt wrote off NFT technology initially. Like Lena, the two artists were curious about the technology based on Ethereum when it first came out:
“An artist who issues an NFT token and sells it to others in the hope that it will appreciate puts the artist in the position of potentially issuing securities.”
In fact, Wikipedia states that NFT is “a financial security consisting of digital data stored in the blockchain.” The US Securities and Exchange Commission is focusing on some crypto projects during the bear market. Meanwhile, the issue between the SEC and Ripple (XRP) rages on regarding the latter’s XRP token.
One of the FractalEncrypt sculptures. Source: Twitter
BitcoinArt, who chose to remain anonymous, is among the few Bitcoin artists Cointelegraph spoke with who also dipped their toes into the world of NFT. He told Cointelegraph that he was able to sell two NFTs of his Bitcoin related artwork but didn’t enjoy the medium or concept:
“I made some great Bitcoin pics and wasn’t sure how to mint them and someone told me to put them on OpenSea, unfortunately they use ETH… But the good news is that I’ve been selling nfts via Twitter for SATs instead and have cut the middle man out. I hate ETH. .”
A recurring theme at this point, BitcoinArt prefers to conduct one-to-one interactions with potential clients; He enjoys the gossip that comes through discussing art pieces.
One of the pieces of BitcoinArt, an astronaut in the Bitcoin world. Source: Twitter
Lena also prefers a personal approach; She establishes a relationship with her clients and spends hours painting and drawing and painstakingly perfecting clients’ insights. In Lina’s words, the time she spends on her art is a reflection of Proof of Work, the consensus mechanism underlying the Bitcoin protocol. She told Cointelegraph that the process of creating a single piece of art is unique and limited – like Bitcoin – so there is no need for an NFT.