I Tried to Understand NFT Art. It Wasn’t What I Expected

When I began my quest to understand NFTs, I did not think I would end up buying one. Yet there I was, scanning a QR code with my phone in the middle of an art exhibit, spending $69 of my own real money to be the proud owner of a jpeg. The image, named Independence, is of a sculpture of the Statue of Liberty surrounded by a pair of metallic snakes, designed by an artist who goes by the name Fvckrender. (He may be a big deal in the NFT art world, but I still had to bleep out his name in my video.) 

For three days I ran around a New York City NFT convention, toured physical NFT art galleries and spoke to the artists and entrepreneurs building this new realm of digital property — and of course, tried to understand what people even do with their NFTs. I learned that NFTs are much more than overpriced cartoons of bored apes you buy using cryptocurrency — although there are plenty of people trying to get rich off various pixelated animal heads. 

Look, ma, no crypto. In learning about NFT art, I find myself buying a piece by scanning a QR code and entering my credit card number — as easy as buying shoes online. But what do you do with digital art?

Candice Greene/CNET

This new way of buying and selling digital property is — no question about it — absolutely wacky. A lot of it is also problematic. Yet to my surprise, while immersing myself, I found a side of it all that is almost hopeful and inspiring in its potential for the art world, and I learned what it will take for NFTs to be part of our everyday lives. 

You can follow my quest to understand NFT art in the video embedded above.

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