The price of the issue // Chairman of the RSPP Committee on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries Andrey Krichevsky on tokenization in digital art

Today, non-fungible tokens look like speculative recklessness, a bubble within a bubble. Unlike the usual NFT property, it is an object of a digital environment only, limited by the limits of the blockchain network in which it is issued. A tokenized object is not associated with property rights that give us the ability to dispose of it for any legally justified purpose, for example, to prohibit and allow others to use it. The digital file is unlikely to be accepted as collateral by a bank or arrested by bailiffs. You can use the work only personally, or not even use it, but just feel like a happy owner of a digital object.

With the advent of NFT tokens of works of art, the mere fact of owning, even if gifs, primitive 3D art, frank kitsch, became significant. This is, perhaps, a completely justified round of evolution, because some modern artists directly argue that it is not even the embodiment of the work that is important, but the idea, message or emotion associated with it. For them, NFT technology has become a symbol of anarchy or rebellion against the conservatism of contemporary art.

But there are a number of areas where the functions of NFT tokens were in demand precisely as a technology, and not as a speculative asset. One of them is digital art, a genre of contemporary art in which works are inherently digital in nature. Until recently, this presented a certain problem. A collector could purchase a digital file with a video or image at an auction, but this did not give either the right or the technical ability to prohibit others from replicating the work, and most importantly, how to prove the fact of such use. The question arose, how was his copy different from the rest of the copies on the Internet?

Thanks to NFT, the answer appeared: in addition to the digital object, the collector owns a unique hashcode with which the file is associated. In this case, we are talking not only about the acquisition of a tokenized object, but also about the transfer of exclusive rights to it. It is important that such a transition is conditional on the contract. Without a link with the institution of intellectual rights, the very fact of “possession” is a pure convention, a subject of agreement between the participants of the NFT subculture.

In the case of correct communication, tokenization in digital art can serve not only speculation, but also the construction of a more transparent market. If, in the traditional model, transactions between artists, galleries, and collectors are often behind the scenes, in the NFT world, sales, prices, provenance are fundamentally public. This is a kind of new social contract.

The sale of NFT tokens can also serve marketing, advertising, and even philanthropic purposes: for example, a museum can tokenize different parts of a painting that needs restoration, or scientists – a new formula for a substance. This will help attract funding and give buyers a sense of connection to a piece of science or art.

I am sure that the applied functionality of the technology is much broader. Now with NFT what happened a few years ago with the blockchain. After the hype subsided, distributed ledgers began to develop in a more natural and pragmatic way. Logistics, land registry, fintech, intellectual rights management – businesses successfully apply technology where it is needed. The time is approaching when NFT can also be viewed as an applied tool, and not a speculative asset.

Andrey Krichevsky, Chairman of the RUIE Committee on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries

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