Digital art is weird (and great) in one very specific way: It’s possible to possess a digital work of art, but still not own it.CryptoPunks – Matt Hall and John Watkinson
Can you talk us through how you can own a digital piece of art?
Digital art is weird (and great) in one very specific way: It’s possible to possess a digital work of art, but still not own it. Possession and ownership are not necessarily connected in the digital world. This is not how the physical world works: it’s very clear who has a painting, and usually clear who owns it. Digital art can be anywhere and everywhere, so that makes ownership somewhat confusing. Gallerists have been solving this problem by issuing certificates that state ownership of a digital work. The blockchain is basically a digitization of this system that adds two really powerful things: 1) it makes buying and selling art fast and inexpensive, and 2) it provides a layer of trust that removes the need for lawyers and middlemen, and generally makes fraud impossible.
This means that in the case of the CryptoPunks, every one of the 10,000 punks in existence has their full ownership history tracked perfectly in a publicly readable blockchain. Every one of them has a unique and undeniable owner, and each of those owners could sell their CryptoPunk to anyone in the world for any price and pay less than a dime in transaction fees. Continue