’d like to bring an idea to the world existing at the connecting point of virtual artists, virtual art collectors, and virtual influencers. It’s an opportunity I plan to explore, and I hope to see other virtual influencer creators consider the same. Allow me to get you up to speed on virtual art, the virtual art industry, and the relevance to virtual humans.

First, what is virtual art?

Virtual art is a growing trend inside the blockchain ecosystem. When a digital animation or graphic work is stored and tokenized on the blockchain, you get a verified piece of virtual art. Not just any art, though... art that can be sold as a limited-edition, virtual, traceable asset. Digital art you create, verify, then pass ownership off to someone else in exchange for, yes, money.

In the past, I’ve covered how content is wealth in the open metaverse and how we should build more tools for art collectors, hoping to express how revolutionary virtual art can be for creatives. The metaverse is a collective virtual shared space including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet as a whole. You may not realize it, but all virtual influencers live in the metaverse. In this growing, virtual ecosystem, I see a future where virtual art enables creative people to turn their content into financial assets, unlocking enough opportunities to make a living.

Newly listed virtual art piece by eceertrey on SuperRare

What platforms are used to buy and sell virtual art?

The leading marketplace for virtual art is SuperRare, with the two leading artists going by the names of joy and hackatao. Other platforms include OpenSea, Markersplace, Rarible, Async, Known Origin, ArtID, RARE, Nifty, and others, all of which are powered by the Ethereum blockchain.

How is virtual art made accessible on these platforms?

The process of turning a traditional digital file into an asset on the blockchain is called minting, which is similar in theory to gold mining, and involves a few steps. There are two ways to proceed.

The long, detailed way: First you need to host your file (your piece of art) in a decentralized database that no one can change. Examples include ipfs and arweave. Second, you need to deploy a smart contract, adding a link to your hosted file in the metadata of your smart contract. Third, you list your items in a marketplace such as those I mention above (SuperRare, OpenSea, etc).

The short, accessible way: Luckily, you don’t need to go through all of these steps! The top marketplaces listed above enable you to do it directly on their platforms, so pick one that’s of your liking and follow the instructions.

Virtual art by jenisu on SuperRare

How does bidding work on the virtual art marketplaces? 

Usually, you decide on an “open price” for your virtual art. This is the lowest you hope to sell your art for. Then, people bid over time on your piece. You can set a time limit, or you can keep it open for bidding indefinitely, allowing you to accept the current, highest bid at any point. Be aware of the other deals that took place prior to accepting the bid, though, because the first deals will be used as a reference for newcomers interested in your art. It’s important to set a starting price level that you feel comfortable with.

Virtual artwork by Thato, now owned by Robness on SuperRare

What role do virtual influencers play?

There is an opportunity for virtual influencers to become virtual art collectors. The value of virtual art, much like the value of art in the real world, depends partly on the quality of the piece, but majorly on the quality of the artist or the experience surrounding the piece. Should a virtual being become an art collector, the value of the virtual influencer’s art pieces will draw more attention and selling power than most of the current virtual artists on the platforms mentioned above. The value of a virtual influencer's art will go beyond the norm. The artists with the most valuable collections are the ones with the biggest community.

In general, though, I think a main advantage of an animated figure working as a virtual artist is the lack of ego. The creator of a virtual influencer artist must focus on the theme and the agenda of the character rather than the art entirely, creating a buffer between themselves and the final virtual art piece. In the case of a virtual influencer art collector or a virtual artist, the theme is one of the most important factors that differentiate him/her from their peers on the marketplaces. 

In short, virtual art is a financial vehicle that derives value from a community's attention. The more attention the artist has, the more value they can command from their art. A virtual influencer avatar is the perfect vehicle to create a community and garner attention, which is a new opportunity for brands, celebrities, or content creators around the world to derive value from the content they create.

Virtual influencers should become virtual artists.

Virtual art is a financial vehicle that derives value from a community's attention. The more attention the artist has, the more value they can command from their art.
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