Sometimes we take museums –and all the art, culture and history inside –for granted. They hold countless treasures, iconic cultural symbols, stories of our past, and clues to our ancestors who came before us. Yet, we often don’t take care – or even sometimes value – what they hold.
It can be forgivable after years of living through a pandemic where many of us have simply tried to survive and stay safe. But museums are also trying to survive. And without much support from the government or donors. Many of them rely on tourism dollars which have dried up and are now in dire straits.
NFTs are the perfect solution to not only trying to claw back revenue lost from COVID but as a way to thrive in the latest digital era.
Why Museums Must Pay Attention to NFTs
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is the perfect example of keeping pace with the changing times. This renowned art gallery recently embraced NFTs as a means to sell artwork. This novel concept intrigues museums across the globe to adopt NFTs as a new stream of income for their physical spaces.
The gallery saw its revenue drop significantly when the pandemic struck. But it found a way to compensate for that loss by creating an encrypted digital version of Michelangelo's "Don Tondo." An Italian art collector fetched the NFT for €140,000. The NFT of "Doni Tondo" is a creation of Cinello, an Italian company specializing in producing "unique and uncopiable" digital versions of world-renowned artwork.
The rationale of NFTs of masterpieces like "Don Tondo" is to create authenticity and digital traceability. More importantly, there's a potential of making millions out of minting NFTs from museum items – from painting, statues, artifacts, and anything of historical value.
The blockchain revolution has the prospect of disrupting everything we know about art; it will even reshape how the industry works. Museums have one opportunity to get ahead of the competition by making their physical assets more accessible online while utilizing digital alternatives like NFTs as a means of generating new income.
Yes, there's an incredible potential for NFTs to become a goldmine for museums. Quite frankly, though, it's a saving grace in a world ravaged by the pandemic – where there's a drastic decrease in the number of people visiting these places to see artwork and historical pieces.
It's not just major museums looking forward to getting their hands on NFTs. Even smaller ones are caught in the hype. Take, for example, a start-up calling itself the Global Art Museum. The company announced via a tweet that it aims at "transforming old painting and artwork into NFTs." The concept of minting historical artwork, statues, and artifacts confined in museums opens a new way for collectors to own these masterpieces.
A Whole New Avenue for Artists and Collectors
NFTs are an excellent way of adding value to digital creations by making them much rarer and unique. The traditional market for artwork and artifacts, on the other hand, allows people with artistic ability, or sometimes those without it, to sell their work regardless of talent or popularity.
Once museums embrace NFTs as a new avenue for making money, they will provide artists and collectors with a new platform for showcasing their work or selling it. They can also create new value-added content by curating original artworks and providing online access to the original ones.
Artists Can Take Advantage of NFTs' Vast Market
NFTs change the way the public views art and artifacts. To the untrained eye, masterpieces like Michelangelo's "Don Tondo" are one-of-a-kind pieces that don't leave their physical space. They could be circulated everywhere - from social media to digital platforms.
Artists have already taken advantage of this opportunity by creating unique copies of their work, which are also NFTs. This allows them to reach out to a much broader market without the need for physical space. Original artworks will continue to be exhibited in museums while their NFTs can be viewed and purchased anywhere by anyone.
What is the Future for Museums?
Of all the industries, museums are probably one of the least likely to turn to technology like live streaming and virtual tours. But with the pandemic wreaking havoc on their traditional cash flows, they're left with no other choice but to adapt.
NFTs tokens are causing a major shift in every industry. Many have not felt the full effect of the shift yet, but the art and culture scene has certainly experienced the impact of NFTs, whether quantified by the numbers earned by virtually unknown artists, the number of people involved in the space, and the massive media buzz and public interest in the space.
With the metaverse taking shape, people will be able to visit the world’s famous museums without ever having to leave the comfort of their living room. And NFTs will be part of the technology that make it happen.
As the last year has shown, there is money to be made in digital collectible assets, and museums just became the new goldmine. As the NFT trend continues, it will lead to new partnerships between museums and art galleries with blockchain companies developing more sophisticated solutions for transparency and trust management in the art industry, which will revolutionize how many people look at, buy, and sell pieces of our culture.