Digital art is hot!

Ask the collector ... July 28, 20:06

The market for "digital art" is boiling.

The transaction price of the work has soared, and some works have been sold at a high price of 7.5 billion yen.

The key is the technology called "NFT".

It's like a "certificate" that shows that the work isn't a genuine, genuine copy.

What are the changes brought about by new technologies?

(Daisuke Nogami, Reporter, Ministry of Economic Affairs)

One of the leading collectors in Japan talks

This time, I was able to interview a man who is known as one of the leading collectors in Japan.

Mr. Lev was interviewed on the condition that he did not reveal his face.

A man in his thirties who lives in Tokyo, he used to work as an office worker, but now he is making a living as an investor in crypto assets and stocks.

I started purchasing NFT digital art in 2019, and now I have more than 300 works.

At the time of the interview, he guided me to a virtual space containing my own collection.

Mr. Lev said that he had never collected real paintings and sculptures, but when he found and liked the digital art works of overseas artists sold on the web, he became absorbed in the world of NFT. I will tell you.

Mr. Lev

"Two years ago, the places where NFTs could be purchased were limited, and at that time, they weren't even looked at at all. Digital data is overflowing in the world, but it is said that it can prove the one and only real thing. However, I thought it was epoch-making, so I started collecting it within my hobby. "

New technology "NFT" that enhances the value of works

Digitally produced works could be copied and easily duplicated.

An NFT is like a certificate attached to a work, which cannot be copied.

Blockchain technology, which is also used in crypto assets, has been utilized, and NFT has made it possible to trade a specific work as a unique "original", and it has become recognized for its value.

There are risks to heating market investment

On the website, there is an "exchange" for buying and selling NFT digital art, which can be purchased not through cash but through crypto assets such as Ethereum, which utilizes blockchain technology.

Around 2019, when Lev started collecting, he was able to buy the work for a few tens of dollars, but it seems that the price went up as soon as he entered this event.

For example, the work of an artist living in England called "XCOPY", for which Lev owns many works.

In the past, it was possible to purchase for less than 100 dollars, but recently there are works that were sold at a price equivalent to 100 million yen or more with 1 million dollars = Japanese yen.

In particular, artists who have been active from the beginning have become more valuable in their works, and it is said that the amount of money that many people cannot easily buy is no longer available.

Mr. Lev

"I never imagined a situation where the same artist's work as the one I bought was traded at a price of hundreds to thousands of times. In recent transactions, the smell of money I get the impression that more and more people are squeezing and buying for speculative purposes. For example, we often see new releases being resold in just a few seconds, but as a collector. Once you get it, it's not easy to understand the background of the listing and determine the proper value of the work. "

The current situation where transactions are overheated for resale is likely to be risky.

Some artists are focusing on it in earnest

On the other hand, the advent of NFTs has brought about major changes for artists who work on digital works.

Mari Asada, an art director who produces video works such as CG.

We have received requests from music events and brand shops to create works for space production and earn income, but the number of requests for events has dropped sharply due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection.

At one point, it was said that there were times when there were no job requests at all.

Under such circumstances, I learned about the existence of NFT and started selling the works I made in earnest in February this year.

It is mainly exhibited on overseas sites, and the works are traded for 250,000 yen.

Mr. Asada

"The biggest thing is that we have created a system that allows us to eat as an artist in the digital field. Not only do we make what we are asked to do, but now we go back to the roots of what we want to make as a creator. I'm

Resale is also an artist's income!

There is a big reason why Mr. Asada says he wants to stick to what he wants to make.

For ordinary works of art, the artist who creates them earns only when they first sell them, and then resells them, no matter how expensive they are, they do not earn money.

But NFTs are different.

NFTs can put in a program that "pays a part of the purchase price to the artist".

This will allow the artist to earn money each time they are resold, even after the work has left their hands.

Mr. Asada not only sells his works, but also holds exhibitions in collaboration with other artists and is also focusing on promoting NFT.

At the exhibition held in Shibuya in July this year, not only will NFT works be exhibited in a real space so that they can be actually enjoyed with the eyes, but they will also be available for purchase on the spot on smartphones. We are also working on expanding.

Mr. Asada

"I expect more new entrants. I think NFT will bring a" digital renaissance "to the world of art."

Beyond the boom

NFTs have received a lot of attention in the field of art, but the fact that digital data has the same value as tangible data has potential for various businesses other than art.

We have already begun to consider services such as adding NFT to tickets for sports and events to add new value.

In addition, there are a series of moves to expand the NFT business, such as the announcement that a major domestic IT company will start an exchange.

Whether NFTs will end with a temporary surge like a bubble, or whether they will become widespread with the digitalization of society, the future of the current boom will be watched.

Reporter of the Ministry of Economic Affairs

Daisuke Nogami

Joined the

Kanazawa Bureau in

2010, and is currently in charge of the financial industry of the

Ministry of Economic Affairs.