To illustrate what actually goes on when a person owns rare digital art, I have drawn up an imaginary universe where digital concepts are as tangible as the toes on your feet. It is a comical drawing that depicts a world lined with chains of data held in sequential blocks. … (read more)
To illustrate what actually goes on when a person owns rare digital art, I have drawn up an imaginary universe where digital concepts are as tangible as the toes on your feet. It is a comical drawing that depicts a world lined with chains of data held in sequential blocks. That's where we get the term "blockchain." When someone buys rare digital art, they are actually buying a unit of cryptocurrency. Their account on the blockchain gives them a private key whereby only they can sell that crypto if they find a buyer. All this is packaged in an orderly and cryptographic manner on the blockchain. These blocks of ownership data are uniquely linked together so that the order and the data cannot be changed. Therefore the data on this blockchain has a decent semblance of permanence.
While important data about art is permanently on the blockchain, what about the actual art's permanence? The art on the blockchain is a different, yet completely related story. In most cases, the actual art image is (gulp) not hosted on the blockchain. Rather the art is usually hosted the way most digital images are hosted: on a file hosting device called a server or multiple servers in physical locations, with the image being delivered (or "served") when someone on the Internet goes to a particular website (or image-enabled blockchain wallet). Therefore the art is as permanent as the Internet, the blockchain that holds the art data, and the servers that host the actual image.
With rare digital art, while the image does not truly reside on the blockchain, it's file name and web address are coded to be linked to a particular blockchain. So we can enjoy a little irony in the fact that art on the blockchain--in most cases--is not actually on the blockchain. Yet the art data, ownership and link to the art are on the blockchain. If any of this appeals to you, then we are probably destined to be friends. So all aboard the rare digital art train!