Cheating and counterfeiting…the dark side of NFTs excites the art world

Do you know Buck? a little? XCopy, Hackatao, or Beeple? If these names mean nothing to you, you might have missed out on the phenomenon of 2021: the Big Bang of Crypto Art. This boom made the miracles of digital art, hitherto unknown to ordinary people, poles of pixels. These millionaires (in cryptocurrency) don’t just owe their fortune to their creativity or ingenuity with the drawing board. Their success would not be the same without NFT, Non-replaceable code, a non-replaceable code for Insiders. Do not be deceived by its savage surroundings. This term is so popular that it was voted up by Collins, The English Dictionary! In short, this technology refers to the digital certificate of ownership, which links the work and its designer to the collector or art lover who is acquiring it. The goal is to make sure the canvas or sculpture is the original and not a vile copy. NFT is purchased in cryptocurrency, primarily ethereum, and kept stored in the blockchain, an electronic record that is untrustworthy.

John Karp, art lover and co-author of the article explains: “The idea of ​​being able to claim possession of a digital object is unprecedented. NFT revolution. The Birth of the Crypto Art Movement. By distinguishing between the original and its copies, NFT creates scarcity and therefore value.”

However, this distinction remains artificial, because technology cannot prevent the duplication of digital work. “So what’s the point of paying small fortunes for a pixel panel, when a right click is enough to store it on my smartphone screen?” Ask many detractors. “It’s like buying an original masterpiece knowing full well that counterfeit copies are circulating,” says Jean-Michel Pelhoun. this is loving street art And digital art, a senior executive at a cryptocurrency-related security company, has already acquired several NFTs, like this AI-produced image, inspired by thousands of paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries. “I would be glad if this work was copied and pasted everywhere, because this post contributes to the artist’s bad reputation and to the value of the canvas which I am still the sole owner of, he said. Less than intellectual property.”

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Doubting the role of merchants

NFTs promise to change the lives of artists. programmed in the blockchain, smart contract A (smart contract), for example, ensures that the author receives royalties automatically during successive resales. If the principle of “resale right” was not new, it was seldom respected in practice when the business is changed.

Technology also calls into question the role of traditional dealers, curators or fair owners. Most of the time, NFT purchases are made via electronic marketplaces, which ignore these intermediaries. OpenSea, the most popular, has been valued at more than $13 billion since the last fundraiser in early January. Claiming over a million users, they exchange virtual works across its platform. In just a few clicks, thanks to her, a mysterious field mouse worker can turn into a symbol of cryptic art. Thierry Ehrman, Founding CEO of Artmarket who specializes in bidding and selling, sums up: From the internet’s artwork. Last year, American Mike Winkelman, aka Bebel, a 40-year-old digital artist who had escaped all the radar until then – never exhibited or participated in auctions – stepped onto the podium for most living artists. BanksBehind David Hockney and Jeff Koons. Currency Every day: the first 5,000 days who collected 5,000 of his creations in a single JPEG file, which sold for more than $69 million, a record.

The success of NFTs is certainly not limited to these astronomical prices. Thierry Ehrman asserts that “9 out of 10 sales are under $20,000, and nearly half are under $1,000.” So the expert sees it as an unexpected opportunity to open up art to a younger, less affluent audience who is accustomed to frequenting traditional auction rooms. But given the excesses that have accompanied the market’s explosion, he is likely to be disappointed.

Far from democratizing digital art, certain classes of NFT are increasingly seen as outward signs of wealth. This is especially the case for the series’ monkey avatars Bored Monkey Yacht Club Or even these super pixelated family photos Kryptoponics, characters generated automatically by an algorithm. Sports stars and showbiz snatch these new virtual tokens for hundreds of thousands of dollars, to display on social networks, instead of their usual profile picture. In this race of the smartest, Eminem has held the rope more than ever. A monkey photo he gave himself in January, for 123.45 Ethereum ($450,000), is more than double the cost of a monkey photo. Cryptobank It was acquired last summer by the famous rapper Jay-Z.

“severe beating”

Should we be surprised that this rush to art not only attracts fundamentalists? “NFTs from 2017 were pushed by crypto market players, with the aim of promoting the circulation of virtual money through new transactions. Sometimes fictional artists were launched and offered to sell their work at absolutely crazy prices, which do not reflect the reality of the market at all,” he said. A specialist. He predicts a “violent correction”.

Freshmen abstain from voting. While often presented as models of transparency and authenticity, NFT transactions are an excuse for scams of all kinds, making this supposed Eldorado a wild west full of scammers, fraudsters, and online manipulators.

Researchers refer to wash tradea technique that consists of buying a business you already own, pretending to be an informed collector, to increase the value of the property…or money laundering.

Even more disturbing about the technology offered as a guarantee of authenticity, the tricks double. On TikTok, a tutorial explains how to create and then sell an NFT from an image stolen from the network. Impersonating its original creator is a child’s play: OpenSea, for example, requires from the seller nothing more than a sworn statement. Last year, smart men did not hesitate to pretend to be Banksy, the icon of Britain street artto put up several hundred thousand dollars of NFTs for sale.

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But lesser-known artists are not spared from this scam. This is especially the case for those who openly display their work in the online DeviantArt gallery, in order to make themselves known. Since last year, their cyber show has been the subject of looting in order. See, for example, the Twitter thread @NFTtheft, which was launched in September, to document these hoaxes. Works are copied, with a simple right-click, and then offered for sale in NFT format without the knowledge of the real authors, on Opensea or one of its competitors, Rarible, Decentraland, SuperRare, Mintable…” Don’t stop, tweet a victim. Creators steal their work by people Unscrupulous people, and they make money from them using NFTs, without the real authors receiving anything…During this time, we’re told that NFTs are the answer to reward artists? Cheating is so widespread that DeviantArt has developed artificial intelligence to identify raped works. But it’s limited to Sending a warning message to victims It is up to them to move on to the responsible platform Without much hope of fixing the scam, unfortunately Because the mass blockchain is designed to be impenetrable: once an NFT is registered, it is impossible to delete it…


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