Crypto art began in 2011 after cryptocurrencies, such as the infamous Bitcoin, rose to fame after making people millions of dollars who only spent pennies investing in it a few decades earlier. Crypto art is an online art system using NFTs (non-fungible tokens). People can use their investments in cryptocurrencies to purchase an NFT, meaning they own that art piece entirely. ‘non-fungible is an item that can’t be interchanged or duplicated; it’s unique, limited in quantity, and there is proof of authenticity to support that claim.’ (Art Placer). NFTs rapidly took off and were already trending by 2018. However, it was a short burn as they started to decline again in 2022, but why?

The Controversy Behind Crypto Art

In 2019, a significant number of young adults and children were drawn into the world of cryptocurrency trading. By 2022, the figure had reached a staggering ‘1.3 million British children who have now invested in cryptocurrency’ (Francombe, 2022). This rapid influx of young investors, while a testament to the allure of cryptocurrencies, also raises concerns about the potential risks involved. These children are lured into the idea of getting rich quickly, but the stock market is dangerous; they can lose everything in a matter of minutes, and anything is possible. This exciting new possibility can also severely hurt young children’s motivations and aspirations; instead of dreaming for their future careers, they may just put all their time into getting lucky with cryptocurrencies and ultimately give up on school and standard education. At just 12 years old, Benyamin Ahmed made an astonishing £110,000 from selling one NFT; the collection has earned him millions more from resales after this, not the typical wealth of a teenage boy. These children will be the generation running the world in the next few decades, so if they get lazy because they want to get rich quickly before they hit 20 years old, it could be catastrophic for the future. 

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The Merge NFT_©Techopedia

Crypto art, at its peak, reached unprecedented heights. Art pieces across the crypto market sold for astronomical amounts. The most valuable NFT ever sold was ‘The Merge’ by digital artist PAK, which fetched a staggering $91,806,516 – more than some of the most expensive cars in the world, just three days after its release. This sale even set a record as the largest art sale by a living artist, digital or physical. Another notable collection is the CryptoPunk collection by Lava Labs, featuring 10,000 unique pixel characters valued at an average of $800,000. CryptoPunk #5822 was sold for a whopping $23 million, the highest-grossing CryptoPunk. This kind of money at such a fast-paced rate was unheard of in the art community before the rise of crypto art, but this begs the question of whether it is possibly distracting attention from physical fine artists.

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CryptoPunk #5822 NFT_©Techopedia

What Crypto Art Offered the Artistic Community

When crypto art rose to fame in 2020, it excited the artistic community; it represented hope for a better-quality life as an artist. Theoretically, crypto art provided artists with a new platform to sell their life’s work efficiently and safely, but this is not exactly how it ended. Working as an artist has always been a struggle; there is a considerable jump between artists who make riches from their work and the majority of artists who barely make enough money to stay afloat. NFTs allowed artists to spread their work across an international audience with the click of a button. Creative minds finally had the connection and freedom to make a quality living from their raw talents. However, with the promise of fame in mind, many bystanders became curious about crypto art, and that’s when this still-new system began to deteriorate. 

When something is familiar and no longer unique, it loses value; when something loses value, it loses interest. This loss of value is what happened with crypto art. Money makes the world go around, and people will do anything to have more. Crypto art caught the eye of billions of people, and of course, they wanted in on the action. NFTs meant people could theoretically sell artwork that took no more than 10 minutes to create with no actual meaning behind it, and if they got lucky, they could gain thousands or even millions. Although many NFTs were made by established artists with thought and meaning behind them, too many people from the public tried them and sometimes got even more success than the artists. Especially with people using AI to draw, design and paint nowadays, the true beauty behind art and design diminishes by the second. This casual use of art then dragged the artistic community down along with crypto art when the decline began in 2022, and the world has taken fine art a little less seriously ever since. People can now use AI to design outstanding architecture and create beautiful paintings in seconds, but what would be left for those who spent their lives studying and practising their genuine passion for art? Perhaps the decline of crypto art will bring back the authentic quality and soul behind fine art.


Art Placer (2024). What are NFTs and Crypto Art? An explanation for artists

Francombe, A (2022). Billion Dollar Babies: Meet the teenagers making a fortune off cryptocurrency. [online]. Available at: 

Mavrou, I (2024). 10 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold: Overpriced Scams or True Masterpieces? Available at: 

McGimpsey, P (2024). The Rise and Fall Of NFTs: What Went Wrong? Available at: 

Second Realm (2021). Crypto Art: A Brief History. [online]. Available at: 


Figure. The Merge NFT. [Digital Art piece]. Available at: 

Figure 2. CryptoPunk #5822 NFT. [Digital Art piece]. Available at: