AI-generative art, a new catalyst for NFTs

The market for non-fungible tokens soared in 2021, reaching a total volume of USD 41 billion in 2021, according to the latest metrics, meaning that the NFT collectables market is steadily catching up with the traditional art market which positioned itself at around USD 50 billion in 2020. These stats show great promise for the NFT market. NFTs as a whole are still a relatively new concept that is just beginning to grow, not only in popularity but also from a technical perspective, as new iterations of the technology seek to enrich the concept of NFT by blurring the lines between NFTs and artificial intelligence, creating a new form of art that stems from the collaboration between artist and machine.

One thing about technology is certain, it is continuously evolving to incorporate new elements and techniques to grow and evolve past its initial iteration. NFTs aren’t an exception to this rule, in fact, they seem to be next in line for a makeover as one of the big trends this year in the NFT space seems to incorporate artificial intelligence techniques in the creation of NFTs. Models like Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) seem to be particularly suited to generate new content once they have been trained with the right data set. Technologies like GAN are a very attractive proposition to the NFT market as they can act as a mechanism capable of generating unique works of art that blurs the line between man mad and machine-made content, all while contributing to the democratization of content creation as a whole.

Standard NFTs are pieces of code that reside inside a blockchain network that can be linked to digital or physical assets to provide immutable proof of ownership. The most important property of NFTs is the fact that they are non-fungible, meaning that they cannot be replaced with something else and that they retain their value. This is exactly what differentiates NFTs from their close cousin, cryptocurrencies which are fungible assets, in which each unit, for example, Bitcoin can always be traded with another Bitcoin and retain the same value. These characteristics have made NFTs an ideal medium for digital art, as they act as a unique representation of the asset in question, be it music, images, videos, or text that cannot be replicated or copied, while also acting as a certificate of ownership that resides inside a blockchain network.

But the story of NFTs hasn’t reached its climax yet far from it. By marrying NFTs with AI, we open up a whole new world of opportunities in terms of content creation.

AI-generated NFTs, a new staple in the art sector

AI-generated NFTs are slowly building themselves as their own art subgenre within the crypto world, exhibiting a growth potential that could eventually challenge the traditional art world. What makes these new versions of NFTs unique is the fact that address a broader audience of people from different communities like artists and emerging tech enthusiasts, people passionate about artificial intelligence, blockchain and the up-and-coming Metaverse.

Creating a generative art piece involves mostly a machine learning algorithm that is trained with a vast quantity of images that will teach the algorithm to detect patterns and particularities that it can later reproduce and transpose in its own interpretation. For, example, if you want to train the model to generate art in the style of Dali, you would need to train the model with images from Dali. The same process applies to the creation of AI-generative NFTs, where all the heavy lifting is done by a Generative Adversarial Network.

GAN is structured as a pair of neural networks, one taking the role of generator that randomly combines all the images it has been fed to create random combinations, while the second one takes on the role of a discriminator, which analyzes the results of the generator and compares them with the original images to determine their accuracy. The discriminator can be seen as an art critic who judges all the paintings given to him, discarding the ones that do not pass his standard. This process is repeated thousands of times until the discriminator can no longer distinguish between the images produced by the generator and the original ones.

The traditional art world has notoriously become an exclusive playground for the rich, a view which is incompatible with the upcoming decentralized web 3 era. The generative art NFT movement is demolishing inclusion barriers all while stimulating a greater appreciation of art among people, irrespective of their budget and social standing. Anyone on the globe can own an NFT, and with recent advances in technology, anyone can become a creator if they have an idea they want to make a reality.

Closely behind the traditional art market, generative NFTs demonstrated their staying power with their ability to draw attention and capture the imagination of a global audience. Tight knight communities of fans, creators and collectors that enjoy themselves and prioritize connecting with other members of this global community over physical possessions are the cornerstone which will ensure that the legacy of NFTs will persevere for years to come.

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