Museums, individuals and initiatives in the metaverse have used non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as a new medium to reinvent themselves in front of their fans. Frida Kahlo’s family unveiled never-before-seen artworks and artists’ artifacts on the metaverse platform Decentral and during their art week in August. In Belgium, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp was the first European museum to symbolise a masterpiece of classical art worth millions of euros. The Kharkiv Museum of Art, to protect its cultural history and make money amid the ongoing regional war, Ukraine established a new NFT collection with Binance. However, issues emerge since everything is tokenised.
In the future, will museums be giant NFT galleries where every work of art has a digital counterpart? How does ownership work in such a scenario?
Hussein Hallak, Founder and CEO of Next Decentrum Technologies, a company, is providing services to museums to support NFT integration and to understand what an NFT future looks like for the art world. While digital art originating from the Web3 space finds its place in virtual museums, traditional art and museums are given a layer of Web3. Hallak believes it is “inevitable” that museums will eventually morph into giant NFT galleries. “We believe everything will be an NFT.
According to Hallak, it’s just a matter of the usability of the technology to make it ubiquitous. He predicts that museums’ most common use of NFTs should be first for testing and maintaining objects in their collections and second for publicly available digital editions.
NFTs are an integral technological innovation that museums cannot ignore if they want to step into the future,” Hallak said, “but they must be part of a broader strategic modernisation roadmap. The value of valuable physical relics in museums, Hallak noted, is a valid question, but the answer is no. Art becomes more accessible. Or limited digital editions are likely to generate interest, increase appreciation of the art and artist, and ultimately increase value.
The property that comes with fractionation is the key to Web3. It is a defining characteristic that distinguishes it from the previously known Internet. In the case of museums and NFT auction art, if the art is still in some form of custody, is it ownership, or is it perceived as ownership? Hallak sees NFTs as a tool to help public art rather than a protection handover. “A more likely [NFT] model is to fund a public exhibition of artworks and artifacts in different digital versions.
Over time, NFTs are increasingly becoming an opportunity for museums to leverage their collections and curatorial skills in a digitised future, as seen in the museum above in Belgium. A current report estimates the NFT market at approximately $231 billion by 2030.