You must’ve heard of NFTs on various news outlets. You might have also heard about Malayali artists who are thriving in the NFT space. But what are NFTs?
NFT is short for Non-fungible Token. “Non-fungible” is the keyword here. These tokens represent ownership or any rights that you define of your digital creation on its blockchain. Cryptos like Bitcoin are fungible. You can exchange one Bitcoin for another Bitcoin and it won’t make any difference. An NFT, on the other hand, is one of a kind; like a Ravi Varma painting. If you exchange one for another, you end up with a totally different painting.
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NFTs can be anything – drawings, music, videos, photographs, etc. It is essentially a digital file that is added to the blockchain and this makes it literally impossible to duplicate.
Most NFTs exist on the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is a crypto like Bitcoin, but its blockchain supports NFTs. You can find NFTs on other blockchains too but Ethereum is the most popular blockchain for NFTs at the moment.
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Now, all this might sound complicated and while you’re excited about NFTs, you might be wondering about how you can enter the NFT space.
Aswin Krishnan, a budding NFT artist from Kerala and member of the NFT Malayali community says he faced quite the same hurdle too. He says, “I had heard about NFTs in the news but found it confusing. Then I noticed that a few Malayali artists were active in the space and so I reached out to them. That’s how I started my NFT journey. It isn’t too hard to start, but establishing yourself as a credible NFT artist takes time and effort.”
“Most people enter the NFT space thinking they can make a quick buck. But that’s not what NFTs are about. Collectors are patrons who invest money in the artist, they invest in potential. You, as an artist, should spend time refining your art so you get better in the long run”, says Ananthakrishnan Nadamel, co-founder of the NFT Malayali community.
Ananthakrishnan started minting NFTs on Opensea 5 months ago. He says he started off by selling his work for 0.1 ETH (Ether) and has sold 27 NFTs so far. His NFTs are now priced at around 1 ETH each (that’s around ₹2.7 lakhs as of today). Ananthakrishnan is not in it for the money though. He says, “Unlike a post that is put up on social media, say Instagram, where once uploaded, it can be plagiarised and the identity of the creator is lost, the identity of the NFT artist is hardcoded into the blockchain. It is this belief in blockchain technology that makes me a huge believer in NFT, and I am reinvesting the money I make in other artists to make sure that the ecosystem grows.”
It is this sense of community that has led to the rising popularity of NFTs.
Artists and collectors are working in symbiosis to create a robust ecosystem that is disrupting the traditional art collection world. But like in the traditional art world, the price of the NFT depends on the popularity and reputation of the artist. This is why artists have to work hard on their skills and put out better works of art. This helps collectors believe in the artist’s potential and drives them to invest in the artist further. Collectors can sell NFTs on secondary markets to other collectors, and as an artist’s popularity increases, the price of their work increases too. The artist gets a share of the royalties in the secondary sale and thus, has an incentive to keep honing their skills too.
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The community spirit is so strong that NFT artists often reinvest their gains in budding artists to support them. “A good NFT artist is not just someone who creates good NFT artwork but also supports upcoming NFT artists and helps the community thrive”, says Aswin.
The formation of the NFT Malayali community happened because of this reason.
“We wanted to help create opportunities for artists to generate revenue. We started off as a WhatsApp group. But soon we realised that we had a lot of information that could be of great value to newcomers to help them get started and thrive in the NFT space. Over time, the community has grown and you can find us on Clubhouse, Discord, and other platforms”, says Ananthakrishnan.
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The NFT Malayali community is actively working on helping new creators (not just Malayalis) enter the NFT space, giving them guidance and support. They are reaching out to a pan-global audience to ensure that the world knows about Malayali creators.
So if you’re someone who wants to get started with NFTs (both selling and buying), you should start with this comprehensive article that NFT Malayali has put up on their Medium page.