Crypto art

Crypto art (also stylized as CryptoArt or Cryptoart) is a category of art related to blockchain technology.

Emerging as a niche genre of artistic work following the development of blockchain networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum in the mid to late 2010s, crypto art quickly grew in popularity in large part because of the unprecedented ability afforded by the underlying technology for purely digital artworks to be bought, sold, or collected by anyone in a decentralized manner.[1]


While there isn't one agreed upon definition for the term, two common interpretations currently exist among crypto artists and their collectors. The first, regarding crypto-themed artworks, or those with subject matters focusing on the culture, politics, economics, or philosophy surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.[2] The second, and more popularized definition, includes digital artwork that is published directly onto a blockchain in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT), which makes the ownership, transfer, and sale of an artwork possible in a cryptographically secure and verifiable manner.[1][3]

However, confusion can often arise when attempting to formally define crypto art since gray areas and nuance make it somewhat difficult to do so.[4] For example, blockchain technology has also been used to publicly register and authenticate preexisting physical artworks to differentiate them from forgeries and verify their ownership via physical trackers or labels.[5][6][unreliable source?] Whether or not such artworks could be classified as crypto art is unclear.



Monegraph launches the first marketplace to register art on the Bitcoin blockchain.[7][unreliable source?][8]


Artist Sarah Meyohas launches BitchCoin in February, "a cryptocurrency for Buying Art and Investing in the Artist."[9]

Ascribe launches in June, using Bitcoin’s blockchain to help artists claim ownership of their work[10]

Verisart launches in July to "use the Blockchain to verify the authenticity of artworks" by building a worldwide authenticated ledger of works.[11][unreliable source?]


Rare Pepe's trading cards launch in October on the Bitcoin blockchain using Counterparty.[12][13][14]


In June, CryptoPunks launches.[15] As early implementations of NFT contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, CryptoPunks represent a limited set of 10,000 algorithmically generated, low-resolution, portrait-style, digital figures.[16]

In December 2017, 100 EtherRocks were produced via a smart contract and published on the Ethereum Blockchain.[17] They would not be popular till 2021.[18]

In November,[citation needed] Cryptokitties launches. The online game of collecting, breeding and selling virtual cats in the form of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain had recorded more than $1 million in transaction volume within a week.[19][unreliable source?]


"IAMA COIN" In January 2018 artist Kevin Abosch created 10,000,000 virtual artworks consisting of crypto-tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain.[20]

On 14 February 2018 artist Kevin Abosch's virtual artwork "Forever Rose", consisting of a single ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, sold to a group of ten art collectors for a record-breaking USD$1 million.[21][22]

In January 13, the first Rare Art Fest (RareAF), an annual festival dedicated to crypto art, is held in New York City. Louis Parker and Jason Rosenstein held a Rare Pepe auction at the event, in which the "Homer Pepe" card, an NFT collectible featuring the image of a Pepe-styled rendition of Homer Simpson, sold for $39,200.[15][23]


Sotheby’s hosts “Natively Digital,” the first curated NFT sale at the auction house.[24][25]


  1. ^ a b "How blockchain technology reached Christie's and changed the art world along the way". NBC News. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  2. ^ Canellis, David (2018-08-06). "Welcome to the weirdly wonderful world of crypto-art". Hard Fork | The Next Web. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  3. ^ Yurieff, Kaya (2018-02-14). "Crypto-artwork of a rose sells for record $1 million". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  4. ^ Haigney, Sophie (2018-06-05). "When Crypto Meets Conceptual Art, Things Get Weird (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  5. ^ "Could Blockchain Put an End to Stolen Art Sales?". Observer. 2018-10-11. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  6. ^ "Verisart Plans To Use The Blockchain To Verify The Authenticity Of Artworks". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  7. ^ Constine, Josh. "Monegraph Uses Bitcoin Tech So Internet Artists Can Establish "Original" Copies Of Their Work". TechCrunch.
  8. ^ Dash, Anil. "NFTs Weren't Supposed to End Like This". The Atlantic.
  9. ^ Stinson, Liz. "BitchCoin: A New Cryptocurrency for Buying Art and Investing in the Artist". Wired.
  10. ^ Abhimanyu, Ghoshal. "Ascribe is using Bitcoin's blockchain to help artists claim ownership of their work". TheNextWeb.
  11. ^ Butcher, Mike. "Verisart Plans To Use The Blockchain To Verify The Authenticity Of Artworks". TechCrunch.
  12. ^ Hathaway, Jay. "The Rare Pepe economy is real, and there's serious money behind it". Daily Dot.
  13. ^ Roeder, Oliver. "People Are Paying Thousands Of Dollars To Own Pictures Of Pepe The Frog".
  14. ^ Signoret, Perrine. "La culture Web joue à la Bourse sur le « marché aux mèmes". Le Monde.
  15. ^ a b Reyburn, Scott. "Will Cryptocurrencies Be the Art Market's Next Big Thing". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Abbruzzese, Jason. "This ethereum-based project could change how we think about digital art". Mashable.
  17. ^ "Digital painting of 'Ether Rock' mints unbelievable 7 digit figure on Ethereum Blockchain". Republic World. Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  18. ^ "Free Clipart of a Cartoon Rock Is Selling for $300,000 as NFTs". Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  19. ^ Tepper, Fitz. "People have spent over $1M buying virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain". TechCrunch.
  20. ^ "Artist turns his blood into cryptocurrency". CNN. CNN. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  21. ^ CNN article - Crypto-artwork of a rose sells for $1 million
  22. ^ "When Crypto Meets Conceptual Art, Things Get Weird - New York Times". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  23. ^ Penney, Daniel. "How Much for That Pepe? Scenes from the First Rare Digital Art Auction". The Paris Review.
  24. ^ Locke, Taylor (June 2, 2021). "Sotheby's will Auction a CryptoPunk NFT next week, and it could sell for millions of dollars". CNBC.
  25. ^ Kinsella, Eileen (June 10, 2021). "Sotheby's 'Natively Digital' NFT Sale Lands at $17.1 Million, With More Than Half the Total Racked Up in the Final Minutes".