If you’re strollin’ around Belltown this weekend and notice something called the Seattle NFT Museum — don’t be alarmed. You have not entered the Matrix.
The museum is actually billed as the first of its kind in the world — a space dedicated to displaying digital artworks + educating folks on the whole NFT deal. You know, like why these mysterious pieces that sometimes look like cartoons sell for millions of dollars.
So, let’s take the red pill and dive into those questions we know you have.
Okay, so what is the deal with NFT art?
NFT stands for non-fungible token. Non-fungible just means something — like images, videos, or other types of digital visuals — is unique or one of a kind. And in the digital world, we know if something is unique, rather than a copy, because its code is traceable on a digital ledger known as the Blockchain.
Pro tip: You’ve probably heard of the Blockchain in reference to Bitcoin. But Bitcoin is not an NFT — it’s a type of digital unit of money called cryptocurrency that can be exchanged on the Blockchain, or sold for cold, hard real-life cash. You can use cryptocurrency to buy NFTs, many of which are peddled through dedicated marketplaces. But we encourage you to bone up on the Blockchain first.
Lemme stop you right there. I’m already confused.
Okay, think of the Blockchain like a whole bunch of super, tiny notaries, which we like to think look like this. They authenticate all sorts of content, especially art, so we know who originally created each piece and can follow the trail of ownership. Because an NFT is an original piece of art, they often sell for a lot of cash, if the artist is well known or the artwork is in high demand.
Pro tip: Artists can actually earn royalties from NFT works long after they’ve been sold, thanks to those tiny notaries tracking every transaction. For more on whether this is really the future of art collecting, check out this article by NerdWallet.
If this is all digital, why is there a real-life museum?
Glad you asked. Co-founder Peter Hamilton says creating a physical space invites better conversations. Staff will be on hand to delve into NFT-related discussions, including addressing concerns like sustainability (it often takes a lot of energy to create those tokens).
So are there canvases and stuff? Or just a giant computer?
For the opening, there will be 30 LED screens displaying artwork for viewing (no sales). But soon they’ll add different kinds of interfaces — maybe even some augmented reality. The museum will feature well-known images like the 8-bit-inspired CryptoPunk collection, plus work from local artist Robbie Trevino, a concept designer for Lucasfilm who creates surreal sci-fi illustrations.
Tickets for this weekend’s opening event are sold out, but starting Thurs., Jan. 27 the museum will be open to the public starting Thurs., Jan. 27.
📍 2125 First Ave.
⏰ 12-5 p.m.