Contrary to popular belief, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) didn’t explode out of the ether last summer. They’ve been around since 2014. But 2021 was definitely the year they broke into the mainstream, Hulk-style.
Despite their newfound fame, NFTs have transformed several industries. They’ve made it possible for artists to turn digital assets (content, art, music, videos) into unique collectibles by assigning them with a digital signature. Basically, this means no two NFTs out there are the same.
NFTs are breaking barriers in the comic book sphere too. Not only are they opening up new sources of revenue for artists, but they’re also serving as a Certificate of Authenticity for collectors. It’s a win-win.
That said, how are NFTs to shape graded comic book collections in the long run? Will they become a staple in the collecting world?
It’s a rocky field, but we’ll navigate it for you. In this post, we’ll explore NFTs for graded comic books and how they affect collectors.
But first, let’s dive a little deeper into what NFTs are.
- What Are NFTs?
Blockchain technicalities aside, NFTs are made for collecting in the digital age. They are unique digital assets that represent real-world objects like art and music. Converting these tangible items into tokens makes buying, selling, and trading more efficient: all while minimizing the possibility of fraud.
NFT transactions happen online, typically with cryptocurrency. They’re encoded with the same software as many cryptocurrencies.
What’s unique about NFTs is that, unlike other digital assets, they’re generally one of a kind or have a very limited run. Simply put, they cannot be mass-produced or replicated.
Currently, most NFTs are digital creations that already exist in some form elsewhere. One of the most prominent examples of this is Everyday: The First 5000 Days by the artist Mike Winklemann, better known as Beeple. A collage of 5000 daily drawings, this NFT is probably the most famous at present, selling for an earth-shattering $69.3 million at Christie’s. If we didn’t know better, we’d say Bruce Wayne was behind the purchase!
- Are NFTs Good or Bad for Art?
While there’s a lot of chatter about NFTs, one thing is still up in the air: Are they good or bad for artwork?
Well, like most things in life, it’s not black and white.
Let’s start with how NFTs benefit the arts.
NFTs authorize ownership. They function as proof that the owner now possesses a legitimate print that can be traced back to the original artist. Not to mention, they also give you some basic usage and bragging rights.
They offer artists a new way to make money off their work.
- They help minimize the infinite replication of digital files (aka piracy).
However, NFTs aren’t a one-stop train to art Utopia. Here’s why.
Even for experts, NFTs are confusing. There’s little clarity about how they work.
NFTs are not accessible to all. You need to understand how Blockchain operates to get in on the action.
- Probably the most damning aspect of NFTs is their environmental impact. Creating them takes a lot of computing power: which in turn, leaves a colossal carbon footprint. However, efforts are underway to offset the carbon emissions.
- Why Are Comic Companies Selling NFTs?
So far, NFTs have had a relatively small impact on the world of graded comic books. But comic giants like Marvel and DC have already hopped on the bandwagon. DC is planning to launch NFT collectibles of their own: including original artwork and artwork from artists.
It’s easy to see why: NFTs make big bucks. And, with both companies barring artists from selling NFTs featuring their characters, you know where the money is going to go.
- How Do NFTs Affect Graded Comic Book Collectors?
When it comes to NFTs for graded comic books, there’s a lot of grey area. But we’ll try to break things down.
NFTs are a digital version of something comic collectors are familiar with: signed copies with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). Without the certificate, there’s no way of knowing if the creator signed it or not. It could be anyone with a Sharpie.
On the flipside, a COA ensures someone reputable went through the process of verifying the signature. Both CGC and CBCS do it: it’s a way to establish that you have the creator’s original handiwork.
Hence, if you’re trading digital comics, investing in an NFT can let you know you have something original and unique.
However, does this mean the end is nigh for physically graded comic books? Absolutely not.
As lucrative as they are, NFTs still represent something anyone can download for free. Those Wonder Woman JPEGs? They are just a quick search away. They don’t compare to a physical copy of a rare comic book. And, a folder of images doesn’t really make for a compelling graded comic book collection.
Also, NFTs for comic books are almost certainly in a bubble right now: and there’s no telling when, how, or if they will pop. But comic collecting is a time-honored practice. It'll never go out of style, no matter how many digital collectibles come along. So, yes, you can continue browsing your favorite online graded comic book store without worries.
The Bottom Line
Whatever the future may hold for NFTs, the comic industry is sure to see more of them in the coming years. However, it’s unlikely they will ever fully replace physical comic books. Graded comic books are in a league of their own- and they forever will be!Craving a new comic collectible? Check out Wicked Monkey’s enormous graded comic book collection. We offer graded comic books and artwork from several talented creators. For more information, contact us today or check out our inventory.