Crypto… Blockchain… Mining… Minting… And now, NFTs! In the past couple of years, we’ve been torpedoed with new terms relating to the crypto world. As more people interested themselves in crypto and blockchain, these terms grew in popularity. Eventually, they reached the world of drones too. Crypto and NFTs have been associated with drone racing and the Drone Racing League thanks to the League’s partnership with Algorand. But, today we’ll talk about how drone photography in particular has been impacted by this onset of new technology. More precisely, selling drone photos as NFTs and buying them for your collection. But, what were NFTs, to begin with?
NFTs? What’s That?
It’s only natural that some of you may be scratching your heads. We’ll try to recap what an NFT represents so that you get the gist without going too much into the details.
For starters, an NFT stands for a ‘non-fungible token’. Let’s break it down word by word!
Fungible items mean they can be easily replaced or exchanged for the same value. For instance, you can change a dollar for another and still get the same value. The same goes for replacing one bitcoin with another one. But, when you have a one-of-a-kind baseball card and want to trade it with another baseball card, you don’t get the same value. Instead, you get a totally different baseball card, making it non-fungible.
This means that the photo, video clip, piece of art, ticket, or any other digital file sold as an NFT is non-fungible. It’s unique and you simply can’t replace it. When you tokenize the photo (aerial photo, in our case), you certify who owns it and you determine the scarcity of the drone photo. So, when a Mr. Anderson buys your drone photos as NFTs and maybe then resells them for a profit, you always know who is the owner. This is a positive upgrade from selling photos as prints in the real world where the artist can be ignorant about the subsequent owners. The record or the public ledger, if you will, that encompasses all data about who buys and who owns the drone photos is the blockchain.
Now, the next thing you may ask is why would people want to buy a drone photo as an NFT. If everyone can view it digitally, they can take screenshots. So, what’s the deal? This is where the difference between owning something and consuming it comes into the picture. When you walk into an art gallery, you can still see the displayed images, but you don’t own them. A collector or the gallery owns them. The same goes for NFTs. Collectors who want a particular piece of art for their collection or want to support the artist they love can display that by purchasing an NFT.
With that being said, the NFT, itself, may not mean the actual file containing the drone photo. In turn, it represents the certificate of authenticity related to the drone photo. Someone may still screenshot that drone photo (just like people who have visited the Louvre have a photo of the Mona Lisa on their phone). However, you are the sole owner and that is evident in the ledger (blockchain).
Buzz-Worthy Platforms for Minting and Selling Drone Photos as NFTs
In the true fashion of decentralization, a variety of platforms exist where you can mint and sell your drone photography or buy some. Yes, the NFT marketplace is still pretty new. Yet, some platforms have separated themselves from the pack and are, in fact, leading it.
One of them is OpenSea. It boasts the tagline ‘the largest NFT marketplace’, and it isn’t far from the truth. OpenSea has become almost synonymous with selling and purchasing NFTs. Some speculations say that it reached a net worth of around 13 billion. So, there is no surprise that many drone pilots and aerial photographers choose it over the others.
Another platform is Foundation. When it comes to minting (creating) NFTs, it’s quite popular because of the easy process to do so. It’s good to know that it’s built on the Ethereum blockchain network.
Thanks to the large community and the user-friendliness, among other things, Rarible has recently been a common choice for artists and collectors alike.
Drones and drone art haven’t been strangers to NFT technology. The artist Reuben Wu, who we mentioned earlier, has put up his drone art for auction. Also, a viral video shot as a first-person view of a drone flying around Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis was auctioned off as an NFT for charity. Speaking of FPV videos, a group of FPV pilots has come together to create the Moment FPV Collection – a blend of 300 hand-selected FPV videos sold as an NFT project.
Even digital animations featuring drones have proven to be hot on the market. London-based artist Ondrej Zunka created Dogue (seen below) – a digital 3D animation of a drone walking a dog. It was sold as an NFT. The price? Seven thousand dollars.
Now, let’s move on to some specific types of NFTs – impactful and captivating photos taken by a drone. Whether it’s an urban landscape, a beautiful place of untouched nature, top-down shots from well-known landmarks, or something else entirely, we’re starting to see more and more aerial photos flooding NFT platforms.One drone pilot who has embraced selling drone photos as NFTs is Kevin Capodice, otherwise known as Drone Hero. He currently has several collections of drone shots, available as NFTs, from famous US cities and regions from a different perspective. These include Chicago, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, South Carolina, and more. He explicitly states that he retains the reproduction and commercial rights to the photos. What’s more, it’s typical for drone pilots and photographers to offer a variety of future utilities and benefits and Drone Hero does that, too.
We asked for his thoughts on how NFT technology can transform drone photography and this is what he shared with us. “NFTs are completely changing the way photographers can connect with their audience. Minting photos as NFTs allows the artist to create truly unique digital assets that cannot be duplicated. This also allows royalties to be paid each time ownership is transferred. Each token can include extra utility such as a physical print and provide exclusive perks to the new owner of the artwork,” Kevin says.
He underlines that we are on the cusp of something new. “This is just the beginning for photographers to take this next evolution in making their passion a full-time career. Now the barriers of entry have been removed – it’s time to start taking advantage of this technology and craze. It may not pay off immediately but it will once the artist can network with collectors and build a community of support,” he adds.
NFTs are completely changing the way photographers can connect with their audience.
Kevin Capodice, Drone Hero
Sydney-based drone pilot Sébastien Bachellereau – the man behind SBDRONESESSIONS – is an ocean lover and has a passion for aerial photography and capturing surfers with his drones. After his Instagram, he opened his online shop and now dives deeper into NFTs with his OpenSea account. He sells some of his best drone photos using the Ethereum blockchain.
Another positive example is fellow Australian Benjamin Harley who uses OpenSea, too. NFTs have proven to be working for him. Further, in the past four months, his photos landed in the virtual hands of around ten owners. Below are some shots they have sold (or are still selling) as NFTs.
One of the biggest new American names in drone photography is Ben Skaar. He was one of the first drone creators who realized the opportunities of presenting drone photos as NFTs to the public even before it became more mainstream. After joining Foundation, he created a couple of NFTs, including ones featuring captivating drone shots.
These are just a small portion of the drone photos that have penetrated the global NFT marketplaces. Subsequently, we hope these positive examples will inspire you to find out more about this interesting, fresh way of reaching more people through your art and earn a little bit of extra income.
Buy/Sell a Drone Photo as an NFT
Whether you find NFTs just pointless or very intriguing, one thing is a hundred percent certain. NFTs are here to stay. To illustrate, the trading volume for the third quarter of 2021 reached an impressive 10.67 billion USD.
Furthermore, the NFTs’ range is increasing to now include drone photography. From creating and selling drone photos as NFTs to the eventual purchase, collectors send a clear sign that they want more drone photos and they’re open to owning this type of art.
As NFTs are still in the initiation phase, we’re still discovering what we can do with them and where the boundaries lie. Also, there are still the effects of the carbon dioxide emissions from mining cryptocurrencies to consider, as well as, a plethora of other aspects that lie in the future of crypto. For now, NFTs remain a fresh way for creators and artists to get some more cash and increase their financial independence.
So, this may be your chance to at least think about starting a profile on one (or several) NFT platforms and start creating or buying! We, at The Drones World, will keep our watchful eye on this segment of the drone industry.
What are your thoughts on NFTs? Would you buy drone photos as NFTs? Comment below!
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