The so-called “crypto art” is not a new art form. It is not a new artistic movement, nor is it a new art-related cryptocurrency.
It is in fact the use of blockchain-based tools to support artists and works of art. In other words, it is art using new tools made possible by cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.
The curious thing is that practically any artist can use these new tools to gain benefits, though to be fair, often those who produce crypto-art are artists who specialize in digital art forms.
It all starts with the fact that data recorded on a public and secure blockchain, such as that of Ethereum, are in fact immutable, public, verifiable and not falsifiable.
For example, any work of art can be represented by a unique code, called a hash, which can be recorded indelibly and unalterably on the blockchain. If the blockchain is public, anyone can freely verify that only one of that code exists, and can also verify that it is the owner.
The public blockchain does not record the name of the owners, but the code of their public address, and only they can prove mathematically, and without a shadow of a doubt, that they are the true owners.
But not only that.
Crypto art and NFTs
Blockchains like Ethereum also make it possible, for example, to create individual non-fungible tokens, called NFTs, which not only allow anyone to verify their existence, uniqueness and ownership, but which can even be exchanged, i.e. sent freely by their owner to other public addresses belonging to other owners.
And there is more.
Digital works of art can be issued and registered on special decentralized repositories, in the form of digital files, and linked to e.g. one of these NFTs, to make their ownership public to everyone, and to be freely exchanged.
Strictly speaking, crypto art consists precisely in the creation of these digital works of art that are inextricably linked to an NFT, but since NFTs can also be linked to physical works of art, we often speak of crypto art even when a non-digital work of art is treated in this way.
There is actually a third definition of crypto art, but it is now only used marginally. In other words, crypto art was once defined as any work of art that related to cryptocurrencies, and blockchain, but now only those that are represented on a public blockchain with a unique hash or NFT are considered to be ‘crypto’ artwork.
Finally, it is worth noting that these NFTs in particular can often be traded freely in real marketplaces where buyers can be sure that they are the only owners, and that they own the original work, while artists can earn money by selling it directly to collectors.
In short, it is a new way of making – but above all exchanging – art, applicable to many different art forms, in particular digital art, i.e. all art that can be saved in a file.