Crypto Art is a novel, emerging creative form that is entirely digital, and native to the internet. It is closely associated with, and dependent upon, other emerging technologies such as blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Although it has been around since at least 2014, Crypto Art first appeared in the wider public consciousness alongside NFTs, when the auction house Christies sold a work by the digital artist Beeple for $69.3 million on 11th March 2021.
In this discussion paper, PEC researchers Dr. Eva Nieto McAvoy and Dr. Jenny Kidd provides an introduction to Crypto Art, including a definition of the genre, a brief history of NFTs, and how the technology is being used by cultural institutions and artists.
They then discuss some of the key issues that are emerging, from the way in which the Crypto Art market operates, to the philosophical issues about aesthetics, value and morality that Crypto Art has generated.
This discussion paper is intended as a reference document and a guide for anyone interested in this rapidly evolving topic. In particular, it will be of interest to anyone working for cultural institutions such as museums or galleries who want to find out more about how this technology can be applied to their work, as well as artists and researchers who are operating in this field.