After the explosive growth of the non-fungible token (NFT) in 2021, the rise of metaverses looks set to further fuel this market in 2022. How can newcomers to this fast-moving market find their way around? NFT creator and advisor Jil Haberstig shares her experience.
You’re a business psychologist and artist working in Luxembourg. What got you making your own NFT artwork?
I started painting like everyone at the age of 3, but I didn’t stop. During the lockdown it wasn’t possible to get canvas to paint on. I decided to buy an ipad and to draw digitally. At the time, I thought I was doing it for myself only because when you paint on canvas you know someone might like it and buy it. It was clear to me that no-one would buy digital artwork.
At what point did you market them as NFTs?
I think that one month after I started to paint digitally, I understood there’s a big market and it’s growing and I want to get involved, not only to sell my art but understand how the market is evolving. When I started I thought I would sell the NFTs for the same prices as my normal artwork. That doesn’t work in NFT, you have to adapt and try things out.
What do you think buyers are looking for?
I see that there are two kinds of collectors or buyers: the ones doing it for pure investment. They’re looking for a big community and a roadmap for the artwork. This is how Cryptopunks is working. That’s a very scalable business. It’s not so much about art but the community behind it and the brand. Basically it’s the influence that they have. Then there are the art lovers who are very interested in supporting real artists. They aren’t doing it only for investment because you can’t flip or sell the NFTs as easily.
What do collectors then do with the NFTs? They have the unique digital original, but can they hang it on the wall?
If you buy an NFT, and you have it in your wallet, of course you can use the file to project on a digital screen instead of a canvas. Maybe it’s unromantic for some but I also like the idea because you can have different sizes and different artworks presented. One of my collectors is from the UK and told me he bought a screen to present this artwork. I guess the people doing it for pure investment are using it as a profile picture on LinkedIn.
“I think the biggest part is definitely the community behind your project or artwork.”
Why do you think that NFTs aren’t more mainstream?
It requires a lot of technical knowhow. It took me almost a year to have a sense of what I’m doing (laughs) and I still feel that every day. It’s evolving very fast and before you can enter the NFT market or get involved, first of all you have to understand the crypto market, otherwise you’re not able to sell or buy NFTs. If you’re not in the crypto market NFT is just a word.
Do you think that will change?
Coinbase just announced they’re partnering with Mastercard and they’re making it much easier to buy NFTs without entering the crypto market. Maybe this will be the changing point for more people to get involved. There are more people getting involved but they have the crypto barrier and in future this barrier won’t be there any more.
How many other NFT experts and collectors are there in Luxembourg?
Yes. We’re all at the same level, having started one or two years ago. There are a lot of people buying NFTs in Luxembourg as well. A lot of people in Luxembourg told me they would like to mint. What I saw is a lot of NFT projects came up in luxembourg and then nothing happened. I think that happens a lot.
How does an artist mint NFTs that people will want to collect?
People think it’s easy and social media makes it look easy. You draw and sell out after one day and make a lot of money but this isn’t common. I think the biggest part is definitely the community behind your project or artwork. Initially it was on Twitter and Discord. It’s not easy. From my point of view, selling NFTs is almost a full-time job. Because the market is changing fast and getting bigger.
Right now NFTs are predominantly digital collectible, sold as art works and some digital firsts. How is the technology and its use cases evolving?
I think that art was just the first industry that got involved into NFT technology. I think that every file, contracts, tickets, everything could be an NFT. I even started to play a game and got involved in the metaverse, stuff where you can earn NFTs.