Despite having taken the art world by storm and becoming a $40 billion industry over the past year, NFTs and crypto art have been widely criticized for lacking substance. (As a refresher, NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital assets that represent a range of tangible and intangible items, from memes and collectible sports highlights to virtual art and furniture. Each one is individually identified on a blockchain, the most popular being Ethereum.) The naysayers have a point: most mainstream NFT series—CryptoPunks, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and CryptoSharks—consist of thousands of variations of a single image, and sell for six-plus figures despite mostly aesthetically underwhelming results.
Artwrld, a newly launched NFT marketplace, seeks to elevate crypto art by bringing more established contemporary artists into the fray. The co-founders, former Creative Time chief curator Nato Thompson, CEO of the Bluecadet design agency Josh Goldblum, and media artist Walid Raad, envision Artwrld as a place where renowned artists can explore the creative potential of NFTs beyond tokenizing existing works as a cash grab. “We really have no interest in just taking people’s artwork and dumping it into a marketplace without any context, or monetizing something that was created for a different format,” Goldblum tells Artnet News. “We want to create work that really takes advantage of what Web3 can do.”