When someone is mining Bitcoin, for example, they are keeping a copy of the same general ledger (blockchain) and doing the math on the new blocks in a race against other miners. It is a lot like playing the lottery as the math is cryptographic in nature and isn’t reversible, so you literally have to guess until the conditions are met. In exchange for this system taxing, dart-throwing process, the blockchain will reward the person with the first correct answer to the proof-of-work with a fraction of that currency (this is known as “gas”). The miners’ signature and the gas they are paid are also written on the block’s final face before the hash is calculated. Everything is tracked, nothing can be altered, and we have a perfect record of every single item in the correct order.
Because millions of people are mining digital coins, it makes it impossible for someone to sneak in a false block of information. Remember, mining is just the task of keeping a copy of the ledger, encrypting the blocks, and chaining them together. Again, this is a grossly simplified explanation. In the end, your image’s current ownership is a matter of public record because it is part of the digital blockchain and a clear owner is always ascertainable. Sites like tryshowtime.com clearly show the images owned by someone, while etherscan.io shows the chain of transactions. Those are just two examples. As the blockchain is public knowledge, many sites display the data differently depending on their goals.
Model: Katie Krause
Just like fine art today, there is some fantastic work out there. Still, there are also those head-shaking pieces of “art” from galleries that I don’t understand, like Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 work “Comedian” that is literally a banana duct-taped to a wall. (No, I am not kidding.) By the way, he sold two of those on opening day! Some art out there is fetching prices that I can’t comprehend. Because this space is built for digital imagery, a lot of the current art is dominated by 3D artists and illustrators, which vary from beginners to amazingly talented folks. But because this space is not mature, some of the asking prices seem disproportionate to the talent involved.
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