by Lesley Brook


Technology is not inherently evil, but people can and will use it for bad things as well as good.

Digital art is one of the many uses of blockchain technology. A digital artwork, or digital version of a physical artwork, is allocated a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) to uniquely identify it. Then the record of transfer of the artwork from one person to the next, including the price, is embedded in the blockchain. This enables a royalty to be paid to the creator whenever work changes hands.

Designer and Lecturer Toby Eglesfield's investigated NFTs and blockchain as an action research project. Identifying differences in the environmental sustainability of platforms, Toby chose to work on the Tezos platform, where he set about creating digital artworks and minting NFTs for them. Toby began his NFT creating and buying journey on the Hic et Nunc platform and embedded himself in ‘NFT Twitter’, the de facto community and marketing space for crypto art.

The project culminated in a collaboration with software engineer Marcus Kielly. Toby drew dozens of head shapes, necks, faces and hairstyles, which Marcus animated. Of the more than 3 billion possible permutations, they selected 300 to make available for purchase via the generative art platform FX(Hash).

Throughout his 18 months experience of interacting with a niche community within the crypto art space, Toby discovered a community of artists that remained largely resilient in the face of extreme market volatility, revealing a more nuanced picture than much of the mainstream reporting on the scene.