Skip to content

Richmond artist ‘leery’ of NFT market, regulations

Lack of strong regulations could potentially put artists at a disadvantage.
Maria Coletsis-crop
Richmond artist Maria Coletsis is "leery" of the NFT market and its regulations.

Some might rave about the possibility of earning big bucks investing in NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens, but at least one Richmond artist thinks it’s far from helpful for those currently in the art industry.

Maria Coletsis, a digital artist, calls the concept of NFTs an “exciting new arena” for artists, but she is quite “leery” of how it works and if regulations can really protect artists or if they will potentially put them at a disadvantage in the market.

“I’m very nervous that it isn’t protecting the artists as much as it’s protecting the buyers at the moment,” said Coletsis.

“It’s like this frontier land that whoever is powerful right now can monopolize it until a bigger body and more artists jump on board to legitimize it too.”

NFTs are one-of-a-kind “cryptographic tokens” that can be used to represent real-world items like artwork, clothing and real estate.

They are like a physical collector’s item except in a digital form, and only one person has exclusive ownership rights to it.

Coletsis called the NFT market a “business-steeped paradigm,” which favours those who are wealthier to buy and provide, “potentially false value” for art.

Despite people saying how NFTs are beneficial for artists, in terms of ownership and authorship, she said there’s no clear, concrete view of it yet.

“It talks about being far-reaching, and giving artists this opportunity to have ownership and control sales of their art. However, it seems to be kind of still being created by money and not so much by the artist,” said Coletsis.

“It hasn’t really fleshed out some of the benefits yet.”

Coletsis told the Richmond News that many artists she has heard from are “fearful” of NFTs.

She compared the artists’ fear to the time in the 1980s when digital photography just entered the creative industry and most artists, at the time, were also fearful of how that would change the art world.

“I think when there is something that we fear, it’s a sign that it’s actually coming.”

Coletsis hopes to see more regulations in place from a “bigger body” that is art-driven, and less money-driven.

“I think (the NFT market regulations) needs to get ironed out and probably quite exponentially,” she said, adding she would “proceed carefully” for now.

“I bet within five or six years, this will be a common way of selling art, especially to a new millennial generation who has interest in investments.

“It seems to be appealing to … someone who’s been born online and is really comfortable spending money, buying art and looking and redefining what art is.