A museum dedicated to NFTs — the blockchain-based creations that have taken the artworld by storm — has opened its doors in the United States.
The Seattle NFT Museum features original artworks along with explanations of the technology behind them, and is intended to help visitors navigate the new world of Non-Fungible Tokens.
"The point of a physical space is to make it easier for anyone to access," museum co-founder Peter Hamilton told AFP.
"You can walk in here, and depending on how much you know or don't know about digital art, about NFTs, it doesn't really matter, because you can see the art in a large format display, in a way that would remind you, or be familiar, of a museum exhibition."
NFTs are unique digital objects that confer ownership.
While their content may be copyable, the NFT is "the original", in much the same way that there are innumerable prints of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa", but only the Louvre museum has the original.
Investors and wealthy collectors have clamored in recent months to get involved in the latest digital craze, which relies on the same blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies.
Recent auctions have seen eye-watering sums paid for NFTs, including $69.3 million (roughly Rs. 518 crore) for a digital work by artist Beeple at a sale at Christie's.
Like all new technologies, they have their doubters; some observers dismiss them as a fad, or worse — something akin to the Emperor's New Clothes.
But visitors to the museum said they sensed something real.
"It's kind of a global phenomenon so we're kind of watching it come to life," said one museum guest, who gave her name as Cara.
Watching that evolution is all part of the fun for Hamilton.
"It's hard to say where this technology is going to lead us, this is really just the beginning," he said.
"Anyone that tells you they're an NFT expert is not telling you the truth because we are all learning, we are all starting from a very very early experience."
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