We are witnessing changes in the way we use the Internet and, consequently, in the way we use it. Web3 has already entered the picture in numerous sectors, and it was only a matter of time before it got to the world of art.
If gaming, social media and even FinTech were areas connected to Web3 technologies, today we see this emerging tech are reaching many other industries. As it is constituted by a network of blockchain systems, Web3 is decentralized – which brings many benefits to both producers, customers, and intermediaries.
For the art world, Web3 can be a refreshing way to create pieces and bring the public closer to the pieces and even the artists.
In this article we will review what Web3 is, exactly, how it influences the art world and which Web3 technologies are most used in the art industry.
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The end of the Web2.0 era is near, and with that, we’re entering the golden age of Web3. This new generation of internet is also known as the “decentralized web”, as it is more focused on users and not on large organizations that manage large digital platforms and centralize data.
The first major protocol difference between Web2 and Web3 is in the API implemented by Ethereum JSON-RPC for Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, the API is the set of norms and protocols that allow applications to communicate with each other. The API implemented within the framework of Web3 allows developers to create decentralized and safer applications for users.
With decentralization at the core of Web3, blockchain technology is essential to create online platforms. This decentralization, at the native level, makes the internet more secure, democratic, open, and transparent.
And, as it is more focused on users, they are now starting to be the true owners of their data.
With Web3 being developed and the technologies that characterise it already being implemented on some platforms, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in interactions with other people and even in the access to works of art.
Currently, and still within the parameters of Web2, it is already possible to visit art galleries in the Metaverse through Virtual Reality or visit virtual exhibitions on museum websites. As part of Web3, these virtual tours become more immersive and interactive.
We are also witnessing the breakdown of barriers between the virtual and the physical world, with physical galleries opening NFT marketplaces, for instance. However, it is not just here that emerging technologies are changing the art industry.
Web3 will have repercussions for artists and art enthusiasts alike, such as:
- Decentralization of marketplaces – For artists to sell their art without intermediaries and have more control over their art pieces and over what they receive for their sale.
- Transparency – Every time a piece is resold, the artist can receive a share of the profit.
- Finding new audiences – Through virtual exhibition spaces, artists and galleries can show their work of art, as well as new artistic movements.
- Exploring new forms of art – From art with an Artificial Intelligence input to art that only lives digitally and in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), artists can explore new ways to create and display their work.
To create decentralized digital markets and give artists more control over their work and profit, numerous emerging technologies are already being put to use:
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – Art becomes immersive and more interactive with these two technologies, allowing art lovers to be closer to the pieces.
- Blockchain – Blockchain is the technology that is most present on Web3, and, with it, it is possible to create decentralized marketplaces. Thus, artists can sell their works directly and keep a record of subsequent sales to continue to make a profit from their work. This registration will have an impact on the value of art pieces that are also NFTs.
- NFTs – As assets, NFTs can be pieces of art, music, or anything else that lives only in the digital world. To buy an NFT, you need a smart contract that is signed and initiated automatically. With this technology, artists will be able to monetize their work in a circular fashion. That is, whenever that token is sold.
- Generative AI – With Web3, generative AI is more present in the artists’ creative process, as a virtual collaborator. With AI, artists can come up with algorithms for this technology to create virtual works of art.
- Digital art – With the different emerging technologies, artists have the possibility to reinvent their works of art and create new artistic movements that would not be possible to exist in the physical world.
On Web3, art and technology converge to reach new audiences and explore new ways of creating art. One of the ways that best expresses this intersection is NFTs, mainly as digital media assets.
Although digital art is one of the main types of NFT, they are starting to incorporate pieces that exist in the physical world, such as books and classic paintings. These pieces have an increasingly solid reputation among collectors, which is why Sotheby’s, for example, has already organized auctions just to sell them.
The NFTs have, by themselves, characteristics of blockchain technology, which makes them fully integrated into the parameters of the Web3. And, in doing so, they become impossible to replicate. Bearing in mind that an artist’s reputation and the market value of his art pieces depend on their uniqueness, making them an NFT is a strategic step with numerous benefits.
Furthermore, with blockchain technology, the process of selling and reselling an NFT is more transparent, as they are associated with a smart contract that is automatically executed. This last factor adds value to the artwork and brings more security to art collectors.
With NFTs and blockchain, artists can have voting rights in situations related to the resale of works. Thus, they will be able to direct profits obtained with these tokens, for example.
Web3, which is already replacing Web2.0 in numerous sectors, makes use of blockchain technology to decentralize platforms and to return ownership of data to users. And it is in this context that the artistic world has much to gain.
Within the new Web3 protocols, artists can present their work on a greater number of digital platforms, reaching new audiences. Furthermore, emerging technologies can be extremely useful tools for the creative process, but also as materials for creating digital art pieces.
These pieces of art are often transformed into NFTs which, due to the characteristics of blockchain technology, are unique digital pieces. As assets, NFTs give artists the possibility of owning exclusive pieces that are impossible to copy and of keeping track of their works – which, later on, can be translated into voting rights over the people to whom the pieces are resold and to a fair distribution of profit.