3 Ways to Increase NFT Adoption Among Artists by@montyatsaatchi

3 Ways to Increase NFT Adoption Among Artists

Monty Preston HackerNoon profile picture

Monty Preston

Creative director behind The Other Avatars, Saatchi Arts NFT project.

One of the biggest technological advances in recent history is creating new income streams and audience development opportunities for artists — yet many are hesitant to get involved.

NFTs are a blockchain-based method for minting digital files of original artwork that is revolutionizing the art world. With this new technology, artists can reach new audiences with their work, gain the ability to directly transact with collectors, be able to earn royalties on future sales, provide verifiable provenance to their buyers, and enjoy many more practical and creative benefits.

It then makes sense that there are many artists and collectors out there reaping the benefits of NFTs already. In January 2022, there were over one million NFTs sold totaling over $2 billion, with over 500,000 unique buyers, according to NonFungible.com. Recent top NFT sales include CryptoPunk #7523 for $11,754,000, Beeple’s “Human One” for $28,985,000, and Pak’s NFT drop “Merge,” which set the record for largest sale by a living artist.

But there are still many artists out there who are reluctant to get involved. In our latest report, “Making a Living as an Artist,” we asked 500 US-based artists how they felt about creating NFTs, and while many had created them already or were interested in doing so in the future, there were many that remained hesitant. Here are some of the barriers to entry they cited, as well as their take on the changes that would need to be made for more artists to start creating art NFTs.

Top Five Barriers to Creating NFTs

When talking to artists who hadn’t yet entered the NFT space, many identified the same barriers to entry.

  1. They don't understand how to find buyers for their NFT: The ecosystem in which NFTs are created, bought, and sold is very different from the traditional art market. Artists find the biggest barrier is knowing where to find collectors. Are these people different from their current buyers? Which platform or online gallery should they use to reach the right ones? How can they find buyers already involved in the crypto world?
  1. They have environmental concerns: Many artists have concerns over the high energy use of proof-of-work blockchain technology or don't yet know enough about it to be willing to participate. While proof-of-stake blockchains that are more energy efficient exist (e.g., Polygon), they have much less awareness and may not seem viable for artists new to the space.
  1. They believe that NFTs are a trend: Seeing the buzz in the news makes artists wonder if NFTs are “here today, gone tomorrow” — and if so, they don’t want to commit the time and effort to ramp up on this new technology. Unfortunately, they're missing out on participating in one of the biggest innovations in the art world.
  1. They don't understand how it works: NFTs are bought and sold using blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, something that takes a bit of time and effort to understand. This steep learning curve is a barrier to those considering getting involved.
  1. They have security concerns: Because of the complicated aspects of NFTs, blockchains, and crypto, artists also have security concerns as well, like whether their passwords and their crypto will stay safe, and whether their art will be protected.

Three Changes That Would Increase Adoption

Artists who are hesitant to enter into the world of NFTs do say that they are open to it, but only if certain things change. Here are three factors artists would need to change to get them to create their first NFT.

  1. Education: As we saw above, much of the hesitation around wading into the NFT space has to do with uncertainty and confusion: artists don't know how the technology works, how to find buyers, or how to keep their assets secure. What could change - is greater access to educational resources. This can be done by seeking out other artists working in the space and connecting with the community on platforms like Twitter and Discord. Curators and art advisors working in the NFT space can also give guidance and help them walk through creating their first NFT.
  1. Pricing Guidance: Artists who had already created NFTs told us their biggest challenge was learning how to accurately price their work. Artists who are reluctant to join the space say the same. Pricing a work shouldn’t be arbitrary and needs to factor in medium, collector demand, the artist’s reputation, how much time it took to complete, and other variables. This is, again, where partnering with a curator or working with an online gallery can help, as they'll have a wealth of experience in pricing work and a strong sense of the market trends.
  1. More Partnerships: Artists don’t want to go at it alone. Many said they would be more willing to enter the space and create an NFT if they could partner with another artist, gallery, or platform to not only show them how to get started but who could help market and reach the right collectors. This speaks to the number one barrier to entry for artists: finding a buyer for their art NFTs. Artists can partner with online galleries and platforms to promote their work, and artists who create NFTs will likely find new audiences waiting for them online.

Your Artistic Journey

Where will the next steps in your artistic journey take you? Will you stay on the same well-trodden paths of the traditional art world, or will you take a chance on NFTs and see where the journey may take you? A technological revolution has struck the artwork, and now is the time to join in.


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