DWeb Meetup May 2021 — NFTs: Hope or Hype of Art?

At the May 2021 DWeb Meetup, we heard from three artists and a technologist each involved with NFTs or Nonfungible Tokens. They offer differing perspectives about the potential and pitfalls of this new technological boom.

Watch the recording of the event, find an in-depth NFT Reading List and learn more about the speakers below.

Why is it everywhere you turn, you see a new notice about NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens?

NFTs certify the provenance of digital artifacts by tying them to a blockchain. That verification enables owners of the work to auction them off to the highest bidders. From digital artworks auctioned in galleries to Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, these verifiable objects are going for tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

But at what cost?

Enthusiasts say this is groundbreaking for digital artists who will finally have a way to sell their art and make a living from their work. Critics say that NFTs are worthless at best and destructive at worst.

Will NFTs change our access to culture online?
Are NFTs sustainable or secure in our decentralized infrastructure?
Are NFTs and blockchains as a whole a threat to our environment?

On May 4, we gathered technologists, artists, and leaders in the art world to discuss the pros and cons of this new technological boom. Watch the video to see how an NFT is made and visit a virtual reality environment made up entirely of NFTs. You’ll meet a technologist/artist who explains why not all NFTs are created equally or have the same environmental impact. And you’ll learn why creating an NFT doesn’t guarantee the media will persist forever.

We’ve compiled this reading list for you to dive in.

You can also read the chat stream that accompanied the discussion here.


Image of Jin (Twitter: @dankvr)

Jin (above) is a hacker artist and VR dev exploring the convergence of web, gaming, social networks, and decentralization. After having read Snow Crash, he’s been obsessed with Metaverse engineering. He is currently building the Webaverse.

Image of Molly Mackinlay (Twitter: @momack28)

Molly Mackinlay (above) leads Protocol Lab’s design and development teams for the IPFS Project (a peer-to-peer network and protocol designed to make the web faster, safer, and more open), the Filecoin Network’s lotus implementation (a distributed storage marketplace to preserve humanity’s information), and libp2p (a modular p2p networking library used by IPFS, Filecoin, and Ethereum).

Image of Ruth Catlow of Furtherfield (Twitter: @furtherfield)

Ruth Catlow (above) is an artist, curator, and co-founder, co-director of Furtherfield, a community and network for arts, technology and social change since 1997. Furtherfield’s public gallery and lab venues in London, provide a physical interface for exhibitions, events and workshops. Their online hub provides a forum for exchange, collaboration and critical review for international artists, technologists and activists to strengthen the expressive and democratic potential of shared techno-social landscape.

Image of Sarah Friend (Twitter: @Isthisanart_)

Sarah Friend (above) is an artist and software engineer, specializing in blockchain and the p2p web. She is a participant in the Berlin Program for Artists, a co-curator of Ender Gallery, an artist residency taking place inside the game Minecraft, an alumni of Recurse Centre, and an organiser of Our Networks, a conference on all aspects of the distributed web.

Visit GetDWeb.net to learn more about the decentralized web. You can also follow us on Twitter at @GetDWeb for ongoing updates.

One thought on “DWeb Meetup May 2021 — NFTs: Hope or Hype of Art?

  1. Danielle Swain

    John Baldessari said “Every artiest should know 3 things: Talent Is Cheap.
    You have to be possessed, which you can’t will. Being at the right place at the right time.”

    Many very talented artiest suffer to make a living and often use their talent in a commercial way to make a livelihood, still possessed to create but finding little or no artistic successes and recognition. Being possessed to create can take one a long way, but may not make them fantastically rich and famous. The right place and right time for Van Gogh was long after he died. Being an artist is like playing roulette, few win.
    All those artist that hit the jackpot with NFTs, right place rights time, good for you, you’ll need it. Those of us that dream of being artist and are driven to create, that is really all we got in the art department. Take it and run with it, leave the rest to serendipity aka God.

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