NFT- an Indian Perspective
“I actually do think there will be a bubble, to be quite honest. And I think we could be in that bubble right now” – Mike Winkelmann fondly called Beeple
In principle, the latest craze around Ether Rock is something that is confounded in consensual hallucination, but who are we to comment on what works for the market and the masses? Be it ‘The Flipper’, ‘The Blind’, ‘The Gift’ or the ‘The Unsold’ pegged at a million dollars, these artworks defy gravity or any of the so-called market forces.
2021 saw the NFT moving to India, a burgeoning marketplace with artists mushrooming at its every nook and cranny. Everyday events are memes ready to be sold. We can boast of our involvement in the first 69 million NFT sold at Christie’s. It was through a Fund initiated by the Indian origin Singapore based entrepreneurs and bought by Mr Vignesh Sundaresan, a Singapore based Blockchain entrepreneur and the winning bidder. Nonetheless, it took a while for the markets to reach our shores.
India’s tryst with NFT started with WazirX starting the first-ever marketplace for Non-Fungible Tokens. They create a space for artists and creators to showcase and monetise their artworks.
NFT are minted by WazirX on its parent BlockChain Binance Technology. These assets are sold and bought using its native token WRX equivalent to Rs. 104. These token are allowed to be later converted to Ethereum which has a more universal appeal. But the artist has the responsibility of branding and marketing his artwork. Only those NFT find buyers that have a story to tell. Besides, WazirX also tracks the artists’ background and social media presence while enlisting them.
Close on heels came many platforms such as foundation.app which caters to buyers and sellers across the globe. Or ‘NFT Malayali’ was started by Nadamel a 3D artist and cofounder Melvin Thambi who recommends minting NFT for better reach. Besides these, Open sea, Arkane Network, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway and Zora are also marketplaces for aspiring Indian artists, whether they be a painter, sculptor, mural artist or digital artist.
Generally, there is no prohibition disallowing an Indian citizen from owning or trading in NFT but there are ambiguities in the Foreign Exchange Management Act. The glitch occurs when there is no corresponding remittance of Fiat Currency done through regular banking channels and regulated by the central banking system. Although the upside is, the RBI has ruled out its illegality.
General market corrections would weed out such hypes over time but is the NFT here to stay? Only time will tell. Whatever is said and done, these virtual assets help create a sense of monetary relief for those looking to milk this new fad. “Fully just staring at my monitor and laughing uncontrollably”, said Kevin Roose, the New York Times columnist after his column was sold out for 560,000 dollars. So, the next time you feel like cracking up, you could end up being a millionaire in the bargain.
“Why so Serious”??
Authors – Benila Jacob, Jerrin Thomas