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photo-eye Conversations: Reuben Wu on NFTs

photo-eye Gallery photo-eye Conversation: Reuben Wu on NFTs Anne Kelly
photo-eye Gallery Director Anne Kelly speaks with represented artist Reuben Wu about what NFTs could mean for photographers, and provides a general overview of what this digital asset really is.
Reuben Wu, XT1876, Archival pigment print, 22 x 30," Edition of 10, $2400 

This week at photo-eye, we're premiering the newest installment of our photo-eye Conversations series! Listen to Reuben Wu and Gallery Director Anne Kelly discuss the finer points of NFTs

What is an NFT? It seems like they appeared out of thin air in early 2021 — and now everyone is talking about them! The truth is that NFT’s (non-fungible tokens) have been around for about a decade now, but it wasn't until recently that they entered mainstream discourse around art and technology. How and why did they go mainstream? Most people credit the Beeple NFT sale at Christie's this March; there, Beeple (who is also known as Mike Winkelmann) sold "Everyday: The First 5000 Days" for $69 million at auction. At this price point, the story spread like wildfire, but, again what actually sold? What is a non-fungible token, and what could they mean for the art world?  There is no question that they have entered the mainstream market, but even so, a lot of people are still confused about what they are and what they mean for the art world…  

After receiving some encouragement from other NFT artists, In the Spring of 2021, photo-eye Gallery artist Reuben Wu decided to give it a try!  Since then you may have heard his name pop up in conversations about NFTs as one of the first image-based artists to utilize this digital space. In this installment of photo-eye Conversations, Reuben Wu and Gallery Director Anne Kelly offer some insight into the world of NFTs. Reuben shares the story of how he came to “mint” his first NFT, what the result was, his current opinions, and where he thinks NFTs are going. 

Spoiler Alert — Wu believes that NFTs are here to stay, but no need to fear, Reuben has no plans to stop making prints (on paper) anytime soon. 

>> View Reuben Wu’s work here! <<

Watch the illuminating conversation between Anne and Reuben below, and check out our glossary of NFT terms below, for reference!

NFT: Non-Fungible Token is a unique piece of the blockchain that is truly one of a kind. It isn’t fungible (replaceable). Think about it this way — two mass-produced reproductions of the Mona Lisa are fungible, but the original Mona Lisa painting is non-fungible.

Blockchain: A blockchain is a secure digital ledger that tracks the transactions involving and ownership of an NFT or a cryptocurrency. Since NFT’s live on a blockchain, all of their changes in ownership and value can be quantifiably tracked! In an art world context, you can think about the blockchain as a way of keeping track of an NFT’s provenance.

Cryptocurrency: A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.

Ether (ETH): The cryptocurrency native to the Ethereum platform with which most NFT’s are bought and sold.

Ethereum: A decentralized, open-source blockchain platform that allows for secure storage of both currency and information. 

Gas: This is, essentially, the fee that you pay to make a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain, where most NFT’s live. Since ETH is mined in finite supply, these fees rise and fall in step with supply and demand.

Metaverse: A world shared between the physical and digital realm. Though this concept originally belongs to science fiction, due to the increase in popularity of cryptocurrencies and NFT’s alongside the prevalence of the internet in daily life, the term can be used to mean now.

Mine (mining): The process of adding small bits of cryptocurrency to the blockchain through complex computer methods that verify and validate transactions.

Mint (minting): Minting an NFT is the process of authenticating that original file (be it an image, a video, a music file, etc) and formally adding it to the blockchain. This can’t be done without paying gas fees.

>> More photo-eye Conversations <<

>> More work from Reuben Wu! <<

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photo-eye Gallery is proud to represent Reuben Wu.

For more information, and to purchase prints by Thomas Jackson please contact Gallery Director Anne Kelly or Gallery Assistant Delaney Hoffman, or you may also call us at 505-988-5152 x202