Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have taken the top spot as the most influential ‘entity’ in the world of contemporary art. ERC-721, the specification for the non-fungible token on the Ethereum blockchain was at the top of ArtReview’s 20th Power 100 list, making it the first time for a non-human to top the list.
“NFTs have turbocharged a new crossover between pop culture and contemporary art, even if you can’t avoid the fact that the NFT explosion is driven by a feverish speculation over cryptocurrencies,” J.J. Charlesworth, Editor at ArtReview, said.
Non-fungible tokens took the world by storm last year as their popularity skyrocketed alongside the massive rallies of cryptocurrencies. NFT collections have been adopted by several artists, celebrities and more to release their own authenticated collections of digital art -- they include Amitabh Bachchan’s NFT collection, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction NFT collection, digital artist Beeple’s record-breaking art which sold at $69 million, the new James Bond movie’s NFT artwork and more.
NFTs cannot be used to exchange other tokens. This means each NFT has unique characteristics. NFTs are digital assets that usually represent art, collectibles, and in-game items. One can trade in NFTs online. They are encoded within smart contracts on a blockchain.
“But the broader principle behind NFTs is perhaps more important -- the idea of digital assets and virtual collectibles are a seductive prospect for artists making art in an increasingly online, virtual culture, and won’t be going away any time soon,” added Charlesworth.
Anthropologist Anna L. Tsing and Indonesian collective Ruangrupa, American artist Theaster Gates and German visual artist Anne Imhof round up the top four in the rankings of the international contemporary art magazine which was established in 1948.