More and more Singaporean creatives are minting their work onto NFT platforms. Simon Dale, Managing Director, Southeast Asia & Korea, Adobe, explains what is driving this trend in Singapore and globally.

The non-fungible token (NFT) art revolution in Singapore is slowly, but surely, gaining momentum. From Tezos NFTs: The New North Star exhibition at Singapore Art Week to MetaJam, the first NFT festival in Asia held in Singapore, and last year’s Right Click + Save, interest in NFT art has been growing steadily. Despite the issues and concerns around NFTs, they are poised to usher in a new era of digital creativity.

In this interview, Simon Dale, Managing Director, Southeast Asia & Korea, Adobe shares with MartechAsia that the rise of NFTs presents a new and important opportunity for all digital artists and creators to make a living from the work they do. It’s therefore no surprise that more and more Singaporean creatives are minting their work onto NFT platforms.

How will NFTs usher in a new economy of digital creativity and empower digital artists and creators, and even brands?

The recent rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) presents a new and significant milestone for the economy of digital creativity. This is especially exciting for creators who work in digital formats to make a living from their work, as NFTs not only open up new revenue streams, but also enable them to tap into the metaverse for content creation and upskilling opportunities. This way, creators can also connect directly with fans of their work, cutting out the middlemen and agencies – the go-betweens that have traditionally siphoned off much of the income from digital creations.

For brands, NFTs present an array of opportunities where brands can look to augment their communities in new ways and even elevate brand loyalty. Simply put, NFTs unlock more value for creators and brands by scaling their opportunity to offer a product or service in a decentralized way. At Adobe, we believe that creativity empowers transformation for all – the NFT market represents a paradigm shift which will see new technology and players emerge, and we’re proud to be part of this very robust change that will usher in a new world for digital artists, creators, and brands alike.

What are some issues and concerns surrounding NFTs, and how is Adobe alleviating the challenges presented by NFTs, including authenticity concerns and environmental impact? How do their Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) and Behance x Polygon integration address some of these concerns?

Simon Dale, Managing Director, Southeast Asia & Korea, Adobe

As with most early-stage technologies, NFTs are not without its challenges. However, we’d like to think that these issues are not insurmountable, and have committed ourselves to help alleviate these concerns as part of our aim to empower the creative industry.

NFTs are perceived as environmentally unfriendly as they depend on blockchain transactions which are known to use large amounts of electricity. However, there are now eco-conscious ways to tap on the NFT market and enable a greener creator economy. In addition to new blockchain platforms like Flow, and the in-development Ethereum 2 which reduce climate impact significantly, Adobe’s Behance x Polygon integration provides a low-fee alternative to Ethereum. Dedicated to ensuring sustainability, Adobe supports using the most energy-efficient ways to mint and transact NFTs. By combining Polygon’s low-cost, composable, and inclusive network with Behance’s new NFT functionality, this ensures a sustainable NFT market.

As NFTs lack information about the provenance of the artwork, people may copy and profit off an artists’ work by minting an NFT based on it. To overcome this, Adobe’s Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) aims to connect an NFT to its original artwork by providing secure information about the original digital creator, including tamper-evident information like a name, location, and edit history. This data, combined with the information connected to an NFT, will protect the rights of creators in this emerging NFT space and add value to the artistic community.

With NFTs being an early technology, we are convinced that these structured issues are solvable and will thus strive to continue supporting such efforts wherever possible.

NFTs, together with content authenticity, enable greater creative meritocracy where artists get credit for their work and in turn, more opportunities. How does this play out? 

Transparency and direct attribution are pivotal components of creative meritocracy. Adobe’s CAI presents a wide array of opportunities for creators as buyers are able to track attribution accurately. Beyond receiving recognition for their work, artists will also be constantly connected to their collectors, which in turn could generate more sales. The decentralized way of providing their work to collectors empower artists to explore more creative ways to further their career, such as allowing collectors to influence future collections.

At the end of the day, merit-based opportunities are crucial for artists in the creative industry. Whether the content is digital or physical, artists deserve to be properly credited. NFTs, together with content authenticity, create a system where the most talented and capable are rewarded accordingly.

How can Singapore digital artists and creators kickstart their journey into the world of NFTs?

Beyond knowing the steps needed to create and sell an NFT, it’s also important that creators are aware of the support tools that they can leverage. While the world of NFTs may seem daunting as its barriers of entry may have deterred some creators, the NFT market is slowly but surely maturing as more innovative tools aimed at addressing these pain points become available.

Adobe software, such as Photoshop, also has the Content Credentials feature already baked in, to help creators authenticate their work and ensure that it is one-of-a-kind. Paired with Behance, our in-house portfolio hosting website, which now supports displaying NFTs minted on Ethereum, Solana, and Polygon, the entire process from creation to sharing is seamless. What’s more, we expect to improve on this even further in the near future. In addition, with options to displace the minting cost to the collector or even avoid this cost entirely with Polygon, digital artists and creators looking to create their first NFT need not worry about high costs of entry.

While we are by no means state-of-the-art as of now, these features are being implemented to help bridge creatives and the emerging NFT economy, so we would love for creators to join us on our journey in exploring the world of NFTs.

Who are some of the artists that have had success with NFTs? 

Many artists have successfully leveraged the NFT market by selling their work to a wider online audience. This is made possible with the rise of digital creations as we see more of such cultural experiences being forced to migrate online.

For instance, Aundraj Jude is one of many artists in Singapore who has broken into the NFT space. His creative skills have earned him the opportunity to design 3D and AR motion graphics for global brands and just recently, he sold his first NFT on OpenSea after having launched his NFT collection on the platform.

Rames Harikrishnasamy, an avid user of Adobe, is another self-taught digital artist based in Malaysia who recently successfully launched his first collection on OpenSea. Since then, Rames has leveraged the decentralized nature of the NFT economy to not only make a living from his work, but also to empower the creative community, by offering digital editing consultations that comes with the purchase of his NFTs.

NFTs empower digital artists like Aundraj and Rames to leverage its decentralized nature and ever-growing possibilities of art, allowing them to be pioneers and success stories of the new economy of digital creativity in our region.