Art & Culture

Inside China’s Crypto Art Market

Editorial Team·6 October, 2021

Crypto art has taken the world by storm and artists around the world try to be the first off the mark. Earlier this year, the world’s first digital art exhibition was held in Beijing. To get a glimpse of crypto craze, let’s hear from Reva, a new generation digital art artist, on the present and future of this new market.


Perhaps Reva didn’t see this coming. Especially for someone who holds a degree in computer science and had vowed to be a cyber security expert, would end up plunging into the art industry. Former algorithm engineer turned crypto artist, Reva was among the first few who entered the industry. It all happened by chance, she says, “I studied information security and one of the modules was cryptography. Last year, I got in touch with crypto art, a combination of technology and art which is built on blockchain technology. I was intrigued and decided to be a part of it.”



Generating new dynamics in the art community


As an outsider, it is hard to understand digital art and the NFT market in China. But as an insider, insights from Reva bear weight. “Since I started digital art not long ago, I don’t have a good grasp of it. My friends in the art community told me that digital art was barely collectible. I started my study on digital art in 2020 and I believe it is still at the beginning stage. The crypto craze didn’t start until 2017 and a wave of crypto art marketplaces only started to emerge in 2018. It has only been around 3 years since it all began but I am very optimistic about its future.”



NFT in its infancy


“China is still in its infancy of NFT, playing catch-up in terms of technology and mindsets. Crypto artists need to be highly self-conscious, work independently, and build their own image in the community. Though there will be some time before China is catching up to the overseas’ NFT markets, I believe it is possible to close that gap.”


As opposed to traditional art, buying and selling of crypto art poses a challenge to us. How the price is set? What are the pros and cons of using NFT to trade?  “At the moment, I mainly publish my artwork on MakersPlace (a startup that mints and sells NFTs) where the price is determined by the highest bid. NFT tokenised the artwork, giving it a unique identification number in a blockchain. Price aside, any development of the artwork is trackable, i, that’s why NFT art can open its database. Yet, NFT is flawed on many level and I believe an immature infrastructure and people’s misunderstanding are the reasons”


Breakthroughs in art tech like digital art and crypto art are revolutionizing the art community and provide ample opportunity for artists like Reva to flourish. It would have been difficult for artists like her to succeed in the field of traditional art. And being part of the NFT movement, Reva is grateful for that. “They welcome everyone from other disciplines, especially those who know about technology. I started with computer-generated algorithmic art, something rare in the traditional art.”



A mere hype?


The birth of crypto art has inspired more methods of creating artwork., including for instance, the algorithm art Reva specializes in. “Since I decided to engage in art instead of technology, I had been thinking about how I can continue to be creative. In 2018, I became a self-taught artist. Before embarking on crypto art, new media art was my main focus as I prefer real-time interactive multimedia art installations.”

Outsiders are dazzled by the skyrocketing sales of crypto art and the endless potential of the market. “Of course some artwork was sold at an unreasonable price, but i don’t want to talk about the financial speculations. For instance, there is a rationale behind the high-priced CryptoPunk characters. In fact, the CryptoPunk hype plays a vital role in terms of NFT demonstration, education, and its social function. It attracts our attention and encourages us to learn more about NFT. Despite the controversies, people who truly appreciate the artwork will stay in the community. And they become the base of consensus.”


“In addition, what’s new and unique about crypto art is not only how it is presented but also how it sets the artists free. Rather than creating visually exciting artwork, it’s more about embracing the spirit of the crypto art community, innovating through  new concepts, distribution, and technology.”


In this world full of possibilities and uncertainties, the birth of NFT realized creativity and exchanges that were once seen impossible. Reva is one of those who are embracing the uncertainty with an open mind.

Read more: Can Hong Kong catch the coming waves of NFT art?