Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, artists in Malaysia enjoyed full-time working environments. They gained inspiration from art festivals and galleries of cities in the country, including Kuala Lumpur and George Town. However, with the virus disrupting activities since March 2020, many artists have had to search for other options to showcase and sell their arts.
Several of these artists diverted into the digital space, particularly the fast-growing world of cryptocurrency and Non-fungible tokens. NFTs are digital assets considered scarce resources due to their unique characteristics of representation of proprietorship and non-exchangeability with other NFTS and are therefore of very high value.
NFTs have been proved as extremely useful concerning the collection of artworks, and the drive for digital sales of artistic collections is unrivaled. For instance, early in 2021, an American digital artist known as Beeple sold an NFT of his art for 69 million dollars.
The concept of NFTs in Malaysia started as a mere fun activity among architecture, multimedia, engineering, and design graduates. However, it only became popular when multidisciplinary digital creatives based in Kuala Lumpur launched the Seni Crypto – 'Cryptoart' exhibition at the University of Malaysia.
Following this, the Malaysian art sphere took advantage of the prospects of NFTs, and the first Crypto art week was launched in July, where the first local NFT marketplace called Pentas.io was created, and several local artists have earned immensely through this. In the past year, NFT in Malaysia has continued to grow, thereby expanding opportunities for artists to work, earn and learn, and ultimately increasing Malaysian art's presence in the global space.
However, to harness the opportunities of NFTs in art and keep soaring, artists must make efforts to personally promote their art and put it in clear view to increase their reach and audience.