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April 23, 2021

After Years of Groundwork, NFTs Shine Bright

Matt Kane’s career as an artist started in Chicago around 2004 when a local gallery began selling his oil paintings. After moving to Seattle three years later, art took a backseat as he taught himself to code and became a web engineer to make ends meet. A few years after that, he finally had enough time on his hands to pursue an idea he’d had for a while: combining his creative and tech chops by making digital art.

Much in the way he’d stretched his own canvases and mixed pigments as an oil painter, Kane committed to building his own software so he could control how his digital images came to life. This past September, in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, his digital art piece “Right Place, Right Time” sold on the blockchain for 262 ethereum, at the time equivalent to more than $100,000.

The sale was significant, not just for Kane, but also for digital art. While artists have been creating digital works for years, blockchain technology, which can help distinguish an original from a copy, has helped to create a market for them. As a result, digital art has begun to fetch increasingly handsome sales prices and the attention of more and more art collectors.

“People have been experimenting in this space for years, but it was Matt Kane’s sale last year that created a big shift,” says Lindsay Howard, digital art curator and head of community at cryptoart platform Foundation.