“Art is not a thing, it is a way,” said American writer Elbert Hubbard. For bitcoin (BTC) artists, the path is inspired by bitcoin, its code, its philosophy and its imagery. In some cases, it’s even inspired by memes. Bitcoin has become a “lifestyle” for some Bitcoin artists, inspiring them to do business, accept payments, and interact with clients.

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Cryptooshala asked bitcoin artists what inspired Satoshi Nakamoto’s 13-year-old invention and whether minting a non-fungible token (NFT) would complement their “way” of making art. After all, an NFT is a unique digital receipt of ownership of a purchase that is stored on the blockchain. Surely artists would like to prove ownership of the art they have worked on?

Lena poses with one of her works of art. Source: justlenasart
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Lena, a bitcoin artist who recently moved from Germany to crypto-friendly Dubai, began creating, painting and printing bitcoin artwork after diving down the bitcoin rabbit hole in 2018. changed her approach and eventually prevailed. She now manages a bitcoin portfolio in “maxi style”:

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“My mindset changed and I started working on myself, asking myself what to do with my life because of Bitcoin. Bitcoin has become a lifestyle, so I have to invest all my savings in bitcoins.”

In a conversation with people from the crypto community, she explains that she is a bitcoin artist, to which crypto enthusiasts ask: “Oh, so you do NFT?” She told Cryptooshala that she replies, “No! Physical art!

“OpenSea is full of art that’s kind of not art – I mean, art is always about the person, but for me it was too much.”

However, countless artists make a living by creating AI art and selling or releasing it as NFTs on platforms like OpenSea. The biggest stories of 2021 were about collective cartoon chimpanzees – Bored Ape Yacht Club – and CryptoPunks, as well as digital images or artwork.

In the 2022 bear market, the NFT hype has reportedly evaporated. However, high-profile brands like Starbucks continue to jump on the bandwagon, while jewelry firm Tiffany saw a 1,700% increase in trading volume following the NFT move in August.

When asked if FractalEncrypt (an anonymous bitcoin artist) would release an NFT of their art in the future, they told Cryptooshala: “Absolutely not.” FractalEncrypt sculpts large, imposing and time-consuming Bitcoin full node structures that it has hidden in locations around the world:

“I created NFTs in 2017/18 and the more I researched them, the more frustrated I became. They seemed inherently fraudulent, and continuing down that path would have made me a fraud in my eyes.”

FractalEncrypt explained that the connection between the art and the token was “ephemeral at best and outright misrepresentation at worst.” They compare the issuance of NFTs to the issuance of tokens by centralized companies, which can be problematic and even controversial.

But this does not mean that FractalEncrypt has written off NFT technology from the very beginning. Like Lena, these two artists were interested in Ethereum-based technology when it first appeared:

“An artist issuing an NFT token and selling it to others in the hope that it can rise in value puts the artist in the situation of a possible issuance of securities.”

Indeed, Wikipedia explains that an NFT is “a financial security made up of digital data stored on a blockchain.” The US Securities and Exchange Commission is focusing on certain crypto projects during the bear market. At the same time, a case is raging between the SEC and Ripple (XRP) over the latter’s XRP token.

One of the FractalEncrypt sculptures. Source: Twitter

BitcoinArt, who has chosen to remain anonymous, is one of the few Bitcoin artists Cryptooshala spoke to who have also dabbled in the world of NFTs. He told Cryptooshala that he managed to sell a couple NFTs of his bitcoin-related work, but didn’t like the medium or the concept:

“I made some amazing bitcoin images and didn’t know how to mint them and someone advised me to mint on OpenSea, unfortunately they use ETH… man over there. I hate ether.”

A recurring theme at the moment: BitcoinArt prefers one-on-one communication with potential clients; he enjoys the exchange of opinions when discussing works of art.

One of BitcoinArt’s works, an astronaut in the Bitcoin universe. Source: Twitter

Lena also prefers an individual approach; she connects with her clients and spends hours sketching, drawing and painstakingly refining the client’s vision. According to Lena, the time spent on her art is a reflection of proof of work, the consensus mechanism at the heart of the Bitcoin protocol. She told Cryptooshala that the process of creating a single piece of art is unique and limited – just like bitcoin – so there is no need for an NFT. Here Lena makes a statement with one of her pieces:

Lena makes a statement with her art. Source: justlenasart

FractalEncrypt ridiculed the “time preference culture” characteristic of NFTs. Indeed, many of CryptoPunks’ biggest supporters quickly switched allegiance to BAYC before moving on to the next shiny new collection.

NFT Art Galleries: The Future of Digital Artwork or Another Cryptocurrency Fad?

Bitcoin, on the other hand, is movement. Lena stated: “Bitcoin changed my mind, Bitcoin changed me, […learning about Bitcoin] was a very, very meaningful chapter in my life.”

Interestingly, searching for “Bitcoin NFT” in OpenSea yields over 70,000 items. For Lena, the door is still open: “NFTs may have future use cases, but what we have now doesn’t feel right,” she admitted. OpenSea has suffered from hacking and sham trading, but seven-figure jpeg pixel images continue to sell. “It looks like a bubble,” Lena sums up.

Conversely, Bitcoin has fallen over 50% from its $69,000 bubble high, and the “tourists” have checked. In addition, bitcoin received as payment for a work of art will most likely never be hacked or “leaked” from the wallet.