The street artist known as Alec Monopoly and Latin music star Ozuna are riding the wave of interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to sell collaborative artwork featuring both of their brands.
The pieces are now available for purchase on ArtGrails, an online platform for purchasing NFTs that Monopoly founded with his brother, art dealer Avery Andon.
"I see this as the future," Monopoly told Cheddar. "That's why I'm putting so much energy into this because I feel like this is the future of collecting, the future of art, and it's a whole other medium to express yourself."
A non-fungible token is essentially a one-of-a-kind digital asset, which could be anything from a piece of music to a painting, that exists in perpetuity on a blockchain. This is similar to most cryptocurrencies, but the difference is that each token is totally unique.
Artists and celebrities of all stripes are already cashing in. Singer Grimes has sold $6 million worth of digital art. Chris Torres, the artist behind Nyan Cat, sold his iconic meme for $590,000, and the artist known as Beeple made a record $69.4 million on a piece, titled Everydays: The First 5,000 Days in a Christie's auction.
While some may be left scratching their heads over why someone would buy a meme for more than half a million dollars, all of this bodes well for the Andon brothers.
"I think that every time a new celebrity comes on board it brings their fan base," Avery Andon said. "Their fan base injects additional capital and revenue into it, and it's just growing."
While anything digital could technically be traded as an NFT, the art world, in particular, is paying close attention to the trend because of the premium it places on authenticity and uniqueness.
Andon also touted NFTs ability to get artists paid for their work.
"Artists receive a royalty in perpetuity," he said. "Every time that token is transacted they receive a commission. That's one of the most exciting things about this, is that finally for artists and musical creators there's true transparency."
Why the sudden interest in NFTs? Andon chalks it up to the "same bullish markets" that are driving up the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
He added that he does anticipate the government eventually regulating the space, given the amount of money now going into NFTs, but not anytime soon.
"It will probably be pretty complicated, and I don't foresee that happening at least in the coming months," he said. "But for now it's a free-for-all, and I would get in if you're an artist or a creator."
Monopoly, for his part, said his next NFT is already in the works and will likely be out in the next week or so.
The current collection with Ozuna includes an "open edition" for $750, a "gold edition" for $1,500, which only has 250 tokens available, and a "grail edition" for $8,500, which only has 25 tokens.