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Crypto art (also stylized as CryptoArt or Cryptoart) is a category of art related to blockchain technology.
Emerging as a niche genre of artistic work following the development of blockchain networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum in the mid to late 2010s, crypto art quickly grew in popularity in large part because of the unprecedented ability afforded by the underlying technology for purely digital artworks to be bought, sold, or collected by anyone in a decentralized manner.
While there isn't one agreed upon definition for the term, two common interpretations currently exist among crypto artists and their collectors. The first, regarding crypto-themed artworks, or those with subject matters focusing on the culture, politics, economics, or philosophy surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. The second, and more popularized definition, includes digital artwork that is published directly onto a blockchain in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT), which makes the ownership, transfer, and sale of an artwork possible in a cryptographically secure and verifiable manner.
However, confusion can often arise when attempting to formally define crypto art since gray areas and nuance make it somewhat difficult to do so. For example, blockchain technology has also been used to publicly register and authenticate preexisting physical artworks to differentiate them from forgeries and verify their ownership via physical trackers or labels. Whether or not such artworks could be classified as crypto art is unclear.[original research?]
Ascribe launches in June, using Bitcoin’s blockchain to help artists claim ownership of their work
Verisart launches in July to "use the Blockchain to verify the authenticity of artworks" by building a worldwide authenticated ledger of works.
In June, CryptoPunks launches. As early implementations of NFT contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, CryptoPunks represent a limited set of 10,000 algorithmically generated, low-resolution, portrait-style, digital figures.
In November, Cryptokitties launches. The online game of collecting, breeding and selling virtual cats in the form of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain had recorded more than $1 million in transaction volume within a week.
On 14 February 2018 artist Kevin Abosch's virtual artwork "Forever Rose", consisting of a single ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, sold to a group of ten art collectors for a record-breaking USD$1 million.
"Yellow Lambo" by artist Kevin Abosch: The artwork is composed of 42 inline alphanumerics in yellow neon representing the blockchain contract address for a unique, non-fungible token, an NFT called YLAMBO, which Abosch also created. Abosch named the artwork after the hashtag #lambo, which cryptocurrency enthusiasts often use in online forums. On 26 April 2018, at the "If so, What?" art fair in San Francisco, California, Abosch's sculpture entitled "Yellow Lambo" was sold to former Skype COO Michael Jackson for US$400,000, more than the base price of a 2018 Lamborghini Aventador motor car.
"PRICELESS": A collaboration between artists Kevin Abosch and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei primarily made up of two standard ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, called PRICELESS (PRCLS is its symbol). One of these tokens is forever unavailable to anyone, but the other is meant for distribution and is divisible up to 18 decimal places, meaning it can be given away one quintillionth at a time. A nominal amount of the distributable token was “burned” (put into digital wallets with the keys thrown away), and these wallet addresses were printed on paper and sold to art buyers in a series of 12 physical works. Each wallet address alphanumeric is a proxy for a shared moment between Abosch and Ai.
In January 13th, the first Rare Art Fest (RareAF), an annual festival dedicated to crypto art, is held in New York City. Louis Parker held a Rare Pepe auction at the event, in which the "Homer Pepe" card, an NFT collectible featuring the image of a Pepe-styled rendition of Homer Simpson, sold for $39,200.
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