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Which should I sell - my NFT or physical art?

Updated: Feb 14, 2022


"Going Solo' by Roscoe Masters


Based on our research, there is no right answer to which form of art should be sold when creating NFTs of physical art.


As it turns out, there are a number of possibilities;

  • Declare the physical art and NFT as unique

    • Can sell both or just sell one

    • Can sell separately to different collectors

    • Sell the NFT and add the physical art work

    • Sell the physical art work and add the NFT

  • Sell only the NFT and destroy the physical

    • Can record the destroying process and add it as unlockable token to the NFT

  • Sell the NFT and keep the physical art

    • Declare the physical art as a tool, as a necessary part of the process to create the NFT

      • In this sense, the physical art could be considered as something like a mold.

      • The 'tool' remains in the artist's possession and is not for sale.

  • NFT is unique and the physical piece is not the final art work, but is the starting point for digital enhancement.

  • Create digital first and then create a physical token that can be included with the purchase of the NFT.

These are a few of the forms of selling NFTs and physical artwork, but there are most likely others.


After reading this long list of options, you may be more confused than before you started reading this post. I know I am.


Let's see if we can get a little more clarity on this topic.


Most of the following content is from a YouTube video, 'Can You Sell Physical Art AS NFTs? '


First, when a photo is taken of physical art to, in a sense digitize the physical art, the digital photo can be a NFT, but the NFT would represent the photo and not the actual piece of art. What some artists are doing is using the NFT as a certificate of authenticity or as a way to redeem the physical asset.


To use the NFT (of physical art) as a redemption code, you could mint an NFT and list it for sale, promising the buyer of it that you will send them something upon purchase. In this approach, the buyer would get the NFT, which is a unique digital asset and, as long as you follow through with your promise, the buyer will also get the physical item.


Another approach, is to sell the physical art to a buyer and create an NFT as a certificate of authenticity. This can be valuable to a buyer because they have proof that they bought the art work from you.


It's important to understand that the physical art and the NFT are not one in the same. Their ownership could become separated at some time and things can get a little tricky after the first sale. While you, as the artist, intend for the NFT and physical art to remain as one but it is possible that an unscrupulous collector could sell the NFT to one buyer and sell the physical art to another.


I think the real benefit of NFTs at this point for physical art is to promote your art on the open NFT marketplace. However, not all NFT marketplaces allow it, in some cases the site stipulates that the NFT must be original and in digital content. Also, assuming you're using Ethereum you will pay Gas Fees, which are required to successfully conduct a transaction or execute a contract on the Ethereum blockchain platform. (We'll cover gas fees in greater detail in another post, because they do impact prices.)


The NFT space is quickly evolving and most people with some knowledge of NFTs see their application far beyond the current NFT art trend into uses of certifying ownership of all sorts of physical items.


At this point, the digital artists get the greatest benefit from NFTs.




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