Picture this. 

You create a really cool digital sticker and share it on Twitter as part of a tweet. Perhaps it features an animated illustration of a political figure or a celebrity.

Your tweet gains serious traction and suddenly you see your digital sticker popping up everywhere.

The sticker, which you spent hours creating and perfecting, has been enjoyed by millions of people, and aside from getting kudos from a few friends who know you made it, you’re not credited in any way, financially or otherwise, by those who have subsequently shared your art work.

Companies start using your sticker as part of their social posts, yet you’re not consulted about it, let alone paid for it. You’re an instant viral sensation but nobody knows you’re the mastermind behind the work! 

Feeling a bit put out? I bet you are.

Artists not being paid or being underpaid for their work is sadly not a new phenomenon in the creative world. It’s been happening for years. While many freelancers and businesses alike, including Freelancer Club, continue to advocate for better pay and work conditions for creatives, we also welcome new ways in which freelancers can potentially monetize their creativity. 

Hence our interest in the recent growth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 


What are NFTs?

Great question. Well, to put it simply, non-fungible basically means that something cannot be replaced. 

For example, bitcoin is fungible - I can trade one bitcoin for another bitcoin of the same value. In simple terms, you're trading one thing for the exact same thing. 

On the other hand, the original digital file of a headshot of musician Ariana Grande, for example, is non-fungible. It’s one of a kind and therefore cannot be replaced by an identical file, as none exist. There is only one original file. 

The same goes for music files, digital art, digital trading cards. You get my drift…

How are they related to bitcoin, again?

Both bitcoin (a popular type of cryptocurrency) and NFTs possess a stored digital record on a blockchain. However, that’s pretty much where the comparisons end. As mentioned above, bitcoin can easily be exchanged while an NFT, due to the nature of its ‘originality’, cannot be replaced or exchanged for an identical entity.


man using laptop. nft, nfts, Non-Fungible Tokens, What are NFTs?So what’s the attraction of NFTs?

NFTs protect a digital entity's value. When an individual purchases an NFT, they are granted a certificate of ownership over said entity.

What about the sellers (the creatives)? What’s in it for them? Well, many creatives have jumped on the seller bandwagon as a way to monetise their work. Whatsmore, creatives have an opportunity to continuously earn from their NFT, even after they sell it to a buyer. How does that work? NFTs have a built in technology which enables creators to earn money each time the NFT changes hands.

At a time when mass production of everything has hit an all time high and artists earnings have hit an all time low, NFTs give creatives some agency over their work. They essentially cut out the middle man, which means that the artist retains the full profit of their NFT sale, which is also a big bonus.

What creatives have cashed in using NFS so far?

Numerous creatives have done really well from the sale of their NFTs. Beeple, for example, a piece of digital art by Mike Winkelmann sold for 69.3 million dollars in March this year. It’s important to note that this was sold at an online auction run by the world renowned auction house, Christes and it was the first solely digital work of art with an NFT to be sold by any major auction house.  

Artists Sarah Zucker and Blake Jamieson are two other examples of creatives who have successfully monetised their work using NFTs. 


A New Dawn For Creatives?

What do NFTs mean for artists moving forward?

While many artists have jumped on the NFT bandwagon (with much success), many are still unaware of NFTs, while others remain unsure and potentially a bit wary about dipping their toe into this new world of technology.

At the end of the day, each artist has to weigh up the potential risks and rewards of using NFTs and go from there. We suspect, however, that more and more artists will jump on this train, albeit a bit slowly, due to the fact that NFTs simply offer many creatives quite a lot of agency over their work. 

If you clicked into this article wondering “what are NFTs?” I hope we’ve enlightened you. Your next step? Consider whether or not NFTs are something you’d like to delve into. There’s loads of information out there about them, so all we’d recommend you do is get informed before you dive in. 

Liked this article? Check out Master the Art of Collaboration and The Secret Ingredients to Becoming a Great Freelancer