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NFTs and the Notion of Authenticity in the Digital Era

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NFTs and the Notion of Authenticity in the Digital Era

Art has always been associated with authenticity, grounded in the physical and historical aspects of tangible artworks. The value of physical art comes from its unique brushstrokes or intricate designs, and a piece’s journey through the hands of collectors and institutions establishes its legitimacy. However, in a world where digital creations can be easily reproduced, what does authenticity mean, and how can it be achieved? 

This article explores the intersection of NFTs and the notion of authenticity in the digital era, showing how these unique tokens challenge traditional definitions. Along the way, we encounter collectors who are venturing into uncharted territory in terms of what it means to own art in the digital landscape. By the end, if you still have many questions about NFTs and their role in the art world, you can find more insights on the topic at digitised.art.

Authenticity In the Traditional Art Market

The term “authenticity” in the traditional art market refers to the quality of being genuine and accurately attributed to a specific artist, period, or origin. It guarantees that an artwork is an original creation of the claimed artist, adhering to their style, techniques, and period. Ensuring authenticity is crucial for safeguarding the integrity of the art market, as it enables buyers and collectors to have confidence in the origins and value of the artworks they purchase.

How to Achieve Authenticity in the Traditional Sense

When determining the authenticity of an artwork, several factors come into play. One of the most important factors is provenance, which refers to the documented history of ownership. A well-documented provenance that can trace the artwork’s ownership back to the artist or reputable collectors, galleries, and institutions can help validate its authenticity. However, without art experts and scholars, it may not be enough.

Auction houses like Sotheby's play a crucial role in defining authenticity. Credit: ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0).

Auction houses like Sotheby’s play a crucial role in defining authenticity. Credit: ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0).

These entities also play a crucial role by closely examining the artwork, comparing it to the artist’s works, and evaluating factors like style, technique, and artistic characteristics. To confirm authenticity, they also research supporting documentation, such as certificates of authenticity, exhibition records, catalog raisonnés, and other archival materials.

In some cases, this collective effort isn’t enough, and scientific methods may be employed to confirm authenticity. Techniques such as carbon dating, pigment analysis, and X-ray examination can help determine the age, materials, and physical characteristics of the artwork, aligning them with the artist’s known practices. For example, it helped catch Beltracchi, a famous art forger who created fake works attributed to Heinrich Campendonk. Beltracchi used a more contemporary titanium white paint, which was not available during Campendonk’s time. When researchers analyzed the paint, they were able to detect the forgery, and Beltracchi got busted. 

Ultimately, the reputation of the seller, auction house, or gallery can also influence perceptions of authenticity. Long-established, reputable institutions with a history of dealing in genuine art are often trusted sources for authentic artworks.

NFTs and the Notion of Authenticity in the Digital Landscape

In the world of digital media, authenticity pertains to the credibility and uniqueness of digital content or assets. It guarantees that a digital entity is genuine and has not been tampered with, duplicated, or manipulated illegally. As the virtual realm becomes an integral part of our daily lives and digital files can be effortlessly copied and altered, ensuring authenticity in the digital world becomes a challenging yet crucial task for artists, art owners, and collectors. Nevertheless, the only option for all these entities to enforce their rights and receive proper compensation was to hide part of their works behind a paywall, using platforms such as Patreon.

How NFTs Establish Authenticity in the Digital Landscape

NFTs, also known as non-fungible tokens, rely on blockchain technology, which is a digital ledger that is decentralized and tamper-proof. Each NFT serves as a unique digital certificate that confirms ownership and is securely recorded on the blockchain. This technology provides an immutable and transparent record of an asset’s history and ownership, making it difficult to alter or falsify. Meanwhile, NFT marketplaces and communities also curate and verify artists and their works, adding another layer of authenticity to the digital art ecosystem.

digitised.art

Instead of time-consuming analysis of all associated documents, NFTs need just a simple record on a blockchain to prove their authenticity.

In addition, NFTs often include digital signatures from the creator and metadata that provide detailed information about the digital asset, including its title, creator, and date of creation. These data can be verified on the blockchain, allowing anyone to check the legitimacy of the NFT, which makes collectors and issuers more confident in the digital landscape. Combining the mentioned above with smart contracts, issuers can also embed specific rules and conditions governing the use and transfer of their NFT. For example, if an NFT is bought or sold, the terms will be automatically enforced, while the ownership record on the blockchain allows anyone to verify whether the asset is used legally.   

Finally, NFTs can be linked to physical art or merchandise, bridging the physical and digital worlds. Physical art can be authenticated using traditional methods, while the NFT will just represent the digital counterpart.

The Role of Companies like Digitised.Art in Amplifying Authenticity of NFTs

Digitised.Art is among the companies that offer a platform for esteemed and niche artists to showcase and sell their artworks in the form of NFTs. Compared to public marketplaces, they work closely with artists and galleries to facilitate the creation of one-of-a-kind NFT twins, which includes passing thorough due diligence and negotiating associated rights with respected artists or their representatives. For this purpose, they employ experts who examine original artworks, verify the alignment with the artist’s known style, and ensure only one digital edition will be available for sale. This way, collectors can achieve true authenticity in the digital realm with artworks worthy of investment. 

In addition, companies like Digitised.Art meticulously curate NFT marketplaces, carefully selecting artworks and digital collectibles from only reputable artists. They also ensure that all collectors are provided with transparent information about the artists, their works, and the NFTs’ history, enabling collectors to verify the authenticity of the assets they are interested in. This curation adds a layer of trust and authenticity, as collectors can rely on the platform’s reputation for quality and legitimacy. Transparency is a fundamental aspect of authenticity.

As we delve deeper into the digital age, the importance of authenticity is more complex than ever before. It involves the use of technology to ensure security, verification of origin, validation by experts, and collaboration with artists and communities. Authenticity requires trust not only in the technology but also in the artistic vision and integrity of the creators. 

Nevertheless, although there are still debates and obstacles to overcome, NFTs have undoubtedly revolutionized the concept of authenticity and highlighted that art’s value can be experienced beyond the physical realm.

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