NFTs: Tulip Mania or Digital Renaissance?

Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) institutions have begun to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of works from their collections following the $69.3 M USD record sale of Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days at Christie’s auction house on March 11, 2021. But many open questions exist about whether NFTs are beneficial or harmful for such institutions from financial, regulatory, and environmental perspectives. In this paper, we aim to unpack what NFTs are within the context of tokenomics and Ethereum standards development by providing an overview of notable NFTs and selling platforms before discussing the pros and cons of their use in GLAM institutions and exploring open research challenges through the lens of Computational Archival Science. Methodologies for the creation (minting) and purchase of NFTs are provided, emphasizing NFTs’ record keeping abilities, while also highlighting their inherent vulnerabilities, particularly with regards to the now-infamous broken link problem and its implications for provenance tracking and authenticity.

Conference Paper
Thursday, January 13, 2022