An illustration picture taken in London on December 30, 2021, shows gold plated souvenir cryptocurrency coins arranged by a screen displaying a NFT (Non-Fungible Token) logo. (Photo | AFP)

NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens became a reality in India in 2021, seven years after hiding patiently behind covers of people to finally discover them in a new way. Not just creators and collectors, popular names such as Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Manish Malhotra and Yuvraj Singh entered the metaverse. The global NFT market generated over $23 billion in trading volume in 2021, according to crypto-data analysis platform DappRadar. 

The NFT trend is picking up in India almost as fast as the country’s cryptocurrency industry did. Owing to the pandemic, art galleries around the world started closing up and artists lost all the sources of revenue. This is where NFTs emerged as a source of hope for these artists. For Indian artists, NFTs represented a new horizon of possibilities and the opportunity to showcase their work at a global scale like never before. 

Emerging NFT technology is bringing about a revolution. How? Through NFTs—a kind of crypto token connected to digital assets such as song files, digital art, royalties etc—artists can sell their art directly to art lovers. Fungible items can be exchanged because they are defined by their value rather than their unique properties. With no more limitations on the medium, one of the many things that NFT celebrates is freedom of expression. The creator is not restricted to a traditional form of art, such as a photograph or an acrylic painting on canvas. The very definition of art has changed, making the art world far more inclusive than it has been so far.

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NFTs have helped artists monetise their offerings, and are one more offshoot of the passion economy, which is rising in India. As the NFT ecosystem grows, new use cases will come to the fore, and innovations in crypto and NFT will continue to shape the future of the art industry. 

NFTs give fans a unique chance to own collectables and therefore their price appreciates over a period. The attraction for film celebrities, apart from monetary gains, is a new way to reach out to fans by reinvesting in their digital transformation. In 2021, NFT sales almost equalled global art sales. In just a matter of years, NFTs worth $41 billion was sold and in the same year, the global art market was worth $50 billion. This number shows that NFTs are exploding both in numbers and volumes. 

The author is Vice President and Cofounder, WazirX NFT marketplace