It is a movement now large enough to have its own Wikipedia page: Crypto Art.
In that article you will learn that Crypto Art (CryptoArt) is the following, according to a person who is considered an authority on the subject:
CryptoArt are rare digital artworks, sometimes described as digital trading cards or "rares", associated with unique and provably rare tokens that exist on the blockchain. The concept is based on the idea of digital scarcity, which allows you to buy, sell, and trade digital goods as if they were physical goods. This system works due to the fact that, like Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency, CryptoArt exist in limited quantity. Popular early examples include CryptoKitties, CryptoPunks, Rare Pepe, CurioCards, and Dada.nyc.
– Jason Bailey
The definition is loose and has been hotly debated over the years, with some community members participating in various camps around the one true definition of the term.
The reality is that it now encompasses a variety of artists, formats, currencies, and platforms. Those currencies with few exceptions, happen to all be cryptocurrencies and some argue that any art purchased with a cryptocurrency could be considered crypto art.
Some crypto art history is available from the following resources.
Here are some explainers and thoughts on the topic of "what is crypto art?"...
A classic 2018 introductory video on crypto art by Jonathan Mann.
SuperRare explanation on "what is crypto art?"
There are numerous places where you can browse, collect, or sell crypto art.
- Asysnc Art - programmabale art on the Ethereum blockchain or "Sharper Image*" this is a pioneering art platform known for its dyanmic art feature and large scale collaborations.
- CryptoGraph - a relative newecomer doing single edition "drops". This is one featured piece by an artist and that's it. The feature is detailed, however including video of the art creation and so on.
- Blockchain Art Exchange - some super interesting and crossover artists here. It is basically a WordPress site with a sort of Mechanical Turk solution for minting where an actual person does all minting on behalf of the artists.
- KnownOrigin - one of the first ETH galleries, strong european presence aka "The Off-location*" - it is great for single editions or multiple editions (up to 20) and has nice built in collaboration features. KO itself is known for doing occasional promotions and art contests with partners and minting the winngin designs.
- MakersPlace - an exclusive gallery that accepts ETH & USD for purchases and poignantly known as "The Arts & Crafts Fair*" - You can find single edition or multiple edition here. Notable in that the platform handles all minting logistics and there is no wallet interaction for minting or gas fees.
- NFT Showroom - First crypto art gallery based on the Hive blockchain
- Nifty Gateway - ultra-exclusive "drop" oriented gallery that accepts ETH & USD aka "Accessorize*" very hypbeast and 'PREME oriented feel here. Singles and multiples and extremely exclusive. More so than most others.
- Rarible is a platform where anyone can mint crypto art as Ethereum ERC-721 NFTs aka "The Street*" - a hive of cool, cute, scum, and villainy. You can essentially mint anything there. Lots of fake art and stolen images minted there. A place where most artists put their 'B' or 'C' grade work to say the least. Though you can even find all famous blue chip crypto artists minting there too.
- SuperRare - an exclusive single edition only gallery aka "The High-Street*" - exclusive and difficult to gain entry to as an artist.
* These wonderfully accurate summarizations are based on these tweets by Mario Klingemann, in which they briefly and succinctly describe in their own terms, 6 popular crypto art platforms.
Followed by another two platforms...
Crypto Art Character Classes
Here is an incomplete and unscientific tongue-in-cheek taxonomy of various Crypto Art types to familiarize yourself with the kinds of personalities you can expect to meet in the space.
- The Crypto Fiend: All crypto art must somehow be about cryptocurrency or the message of cryptocurrency, or a BTC symbol or an ETH symbol or some person who did something signficant in the cryptocurrency world.
- The Digital Maximalist: Crypto art is only digital and must originate as digital work. Artists who capture their analog work as digital media and mint it are not really crypto artists.
- The Anti-Printer: Crypto art is digital in nature and should therefore never be printed; it is also certainly not for hanging on walls.
- The Whale Barnacle: hangs on to wealthy collectors to earn cryptocurrency no matter how toxic the collector can be.
- The Right Click Rogue: thinks that because they have something resembling the media component of NFT art (i.e. they right-clicked and saved the media), that they have the art itself. This stems from the great crypto art disconnect, and ignorance that the token is the art, possessing its own capabilities and utility which far exceed that of the related media.