NEW YORK — Online home furnishings marketplace 1stdibs launched an non-fungible token platform as a response to the growing digital artwork market.
An NFT is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain which certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable.
The NFT platform is based on an auction model, which expands on 1stDibs’ core e-commerce site. During the initial phase, the proprietary platform will feature semi-monthly auctions consisting of both group and solo work, starting with a two-week exhibition featuring dozens of NFTs, which launched Aug. 11. The debut exhibition is titled “Portals” and is curated by artist Metageist.
“One of our guiding principles is the desire to continually innovate to meet the needs of today’s luxury marketplace,” said David Rosenblatt, CEO, 1stDibs. “In the past five years, we’ve evolved 1stDibs from a listings site to a true e-commerce platform, also expanding inventory categories beyond antiques to include contemporary design, jewelry, accessories and, most recently, art. As a technology leader, the introduction of NFTs to our offering is a natural alignment for us, and the auction-style platform we’ve revealed today reflects our investment in the NFT movement and the future of the art market.”
The launch phase will consist of semi-monthly online exhibitions featuring new crypto-art by creators 1stDibs has selected through its vetting process. The marketplace will focus on renowned creators from the fine art world and the Metaverse who have proven track records of commercial success.
The NFT platform participates in this market with a native blockchain approach, which includes minting and an on-chain marketplace. Officials say this combination of a curatorial experience and the technical capabilities of the native NFT platform offers a unique distinction among blue-chip marketplaces.
The first-ever exhibition on the new platform, “Portals” features the work of 10 artists from across the globe. U.K.-based creator Metageist, the pseudonym of Lee Mason, a mainstay in the NFT category who has spoken at TedxPeterborough, curated the collection to speak to the homonym definitions of portal, which can refer to a physical entryway or to a webpage.
“I chose the theme Portals to represent the threshold of two worlds. For some time there has been a bubbling undercurrent of immersive digital spaces for growing, learning and discovering. This quickened in the wake of COVID-19, which saw the world transition into a digital existence and the emergence of a virtual arts world via blockchain technology,” said Mason. “NFTs represent the future of digital artifacts as they lend ideas the weight of provenance and authenticity. I feel we are at the beginning of a new art renaissance, and in the future these early pieces will be highly valued.”
The next NFT auctions will be Escapism: Utopian & Dystopian Influences including works by Karl Poyzer, Nogland, Snow Yunxue Fu, Daniel Ambrosi and Sprice Studio on Sept. 1 and an as-yet untitled exhibition curated by Katie Peyton Hofstader on Sept. 15.
1stDibs’ NFTs will be available at 1stdibs.com/nft-collections.