The 21st century has seen an increasingly rapid move towards a more digital world. 2021 was no different and marked the moment when blockchain became mainstream. Cryptocurrencies are now being considered as possible national currencies and are becoming more widely understood and traded. NFTs – non-fungible tokens – are the latest step in the digital revolution. The high prices that the most popular NFTs have sold for has caught the media’s attention and pushed NFTs into the spotlight. With so many NFTs on the market, which ones were this year’s best?
When compiling their list of the best NFTs at time2play.com, they considered three key rating elements: culture significance, market influence, and innovation. Cultural significance looks at who created the NFT. Since some of the biggest names in the art, entertainment, and sports worlds have gotten in on the hype, they’ve brought a lot of attention to NFTs. Market influence considers what past NFTs have sold for and how certain works have driven the market to mimic them. Lastly, innovation considers which new NFTs have moved this new art form forward, particularly those that have found a way to span both the digital and physical world.
The Future of Art?
Before we look at which NFTs have made the biggest splash this year, we’re going to examine why any of it matters. The NFT world is a little confusing for most people, especially since ownership of a digital image seems counterintuitive.
One of the things that many of the earliest proponents of NFTs hoped for was that it would democratize art, moving control of the art world from the establishment to the people. This may still happen, but it is fascinating how reluctant we as a society are to give up the norms and standards that we’re familiar with. While NFTs were meant to shake up the art world, the first NFT museum will be opening in Seattle later this month. The museum is the most established form of interaction with art, suggesting we may not be ready to completely rethink our relationship with the visual arts.
One of the ways that NFTs have begun to change the art world is by removing some of the barriers that have previously excluded many artists from developing countries from being recognized. The world of the NFT is so new that it is a more level playing field for artists from all over the world and from all different backgrounds. Even artists who have managed to gain attention from the international art world, like Kenya’s Joseph Munyao Mutuku, are embracing the power of the NFT. He acknowledges that the current hype surrounding NFTs makes them one of the best ways to commercialize one’s art.
The Best NFTs of the Year
The CryptoPunks aren’t just one NFT, they’re an entire collection, but their significance goes way beyond the art itself. CryptoPunks are actually where the entire NFT world started. Created by Larva Labs Studio, there are now 10,000 CryptoPunks. These simple pixel-art characters were originally an experiment in what ownership means. They are now among the most expensive and sought after NFTs in the world. The NFT world might be moving beyond simple pixel art but these characters will always hold an important place as the earliest NFTs that created the entire market.
Not all NFTs are images, some are music. Eminem is one of the biggest artists that has gotten involved in creating and selling NFTs. The rapper released an entire NFT collection, most of which were trading cards and action figures (digital, of course). ’Stan’s Revenge’, however, is a musical NFT. It’s an original beat and sold for $100,000 at auction. What makes this so exciting is that it could be the start of an entire market for audio NFTs.
If the idea of an audio NFT is exciting, the reality of a physical NFT is just as cool. Overpriced is both the name of the creator and the name of the hoodie. This NFT features an actual hoodie that also includes a scannable V-code. The V-code allows the owner of the NFT to authenticate their NFT while also wearing it. It also has a cool security feature built-in. If the hoodie is ever lost or stolen, Overpriced will deactivate the V-code and reissue a new hoodie and code to the rightful owner. This kind of protection is impossible to have in the traditional art world.