Crypto art

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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.[1]


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.[2] 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.[1][3]

However, confusion can often arise when attempting to formally define crypto art since gray areas and nuance make it somewhat difficult to do so.[4] 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.[5][6] Whether or not such artworks could be classified as crypto art is unclear.[original research?]



Monegraph launches the first marketplace to register art on the Bitcoin blockchain.[7][8]


Artist Sarah Meyohas launches BitchCoin in February, "a cryptocurrency for Buying Art and Investing in the Artist."[9]

Ascribe launches in June, using Bitcoin’s blockchain to help artists claim ownership of their work[10]

Verisart launches in July to "use the Blockchain to verify the authenticity of artworks" by building a worldwide authenticated ledger of works.[11]


Rare Pepe's trading cards launch in October on the Bitcoin blockchain using Counterparty.[12][13][14]


In June,[citation needed] 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.[15]

In October,[citation needed] launches a limited edition collection "Creeps and Weirdos" on Ethereum, tokenized by artists in a decentralized art marketplace. [16] [17]

In November,[citation needed] 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.[18]


"IAMA COIN" In January 2018 artist Kevin Abosch created 10,000,000 virtual artworks consisting of crypto-tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain.[19]

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.[20][21]

"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.[22]

"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).[23] 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.[24]

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.[25][26]


  1. ^ a b "How blockchain technology reached Christie's and changed the art world along the way". NBC News. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  2. ^ Canellis, David (2018-08-06). "Welcome to the weirdly wonderful world of crypto-art". Hard Fork | The Next Web. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  3. ^ Yurieff, Kaya (2018-02-14). "Crypto-artwork of a rose sells for record $1 million". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  4. ^ Haigney, Sophie (2018-06-05). "When Crypto Meets Conceptual Art, Things Get Weird (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  5. ^ "Could Blockchain Put an End to Stolen Art Sales?". Observer. 2018-10-11. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  6. ^ "Verisart Plans To Use The Blockchain To Verify The Authenticity Of Artworks". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  7. ^ Constine, Josh. "Monegraph Uses Bitcoin Tech So Internet Artists Can Establish "Original" Copies Of Their Work". TechCrunch.
  8. ^ Dash, Anil. "NFTs Weren't Supposed to End Like This". The Atlantic.
  9. ^ Stinson, Liz. "BitchCoin: A New Cryptocurrency for Buying Art and Investing in the Artist". Wired.
  10. ^ Abhimanyu, Ghoshal. "Ascribe is using Bitcoin's blockchain to help artists claim ownership of their work". TheNextWeb.
  11. ^ Butcher, Mike. "Verisart Plans To Use The Blockchain To Verify The Authenticity Of Artworks". TechCrunch.
  12. ^ Hathaway, Jay. "The Rare Pepe economy is real, and there's serious money behind it". Daily Dot.
  13. ^ Roeder, Oliver. "People Are Paying Thousands Of Dollars To Own Pictures Of Pepe The Frog".
  14. ^ Signoret, Perrine. "La culture Web joue à la Bourse sur le « marché aux mèmes". Le Monde.
  15. ^ Abbruzzese, Jason. "This ethereum-based project could change how we think about digital art". Mashable.
  16. ^ Roeder, Oliver. "The Blockchain Is Just Another Way To Make Art All About Money".
  17. ^ Bailey, Jason. "The Blockchain Art Market Is Here". Artnome.
  18. ^ Tepper, Fitz. "People have spent over $1M buying virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain". TechCrunch.
  19. ^ "Artist turns his blood into cryptocurrency". CNN. CNN. Retrieved 1 February 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ CNN article - Crypto-artwork of a rose sells for $1 million
  21. ^ "When Crypto Meets Conceptual Art, Things Get Weird - New York Times". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  22. ^ Bernard, Zoë. "The artist who once sold a photo of a potato for $1 million just sold a cryptocurrency-inspired artwork called 'YELLOW LAMBO' for more than the price of an actual Lamborghini". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  23. ^ "Artists Ai Weiwei and Kevin Abosch Are Using the Blockchain to Make Us Question What's 'PRICELESS'". Motherboard. 2018-08-17. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  24. ^ "Ai Weiwei macht nun Kunst auf der Blockchain". WIRED (in German). Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  25. ^ Reyburn, Scott. "Will Cryptocurrencies Be the Art Market's Next Big Thing". The New York Times.
  26. ^ Penney, Daniel. "How Much for That Pepe? Scenes from the First Rare Digital Art Auction". The Paris Review.