Can NFTs be ‘art’? Wikipedia can’t decide, will worry about it later

After weeks of debate, Wikipedia editors can't decide whether NFTs represent the underlying artworks or were just a crypto token.

Wikipedia has been accused of causing an “art emergency” after a group editors voted to remove NFTs from its top art sales list because they can’t decide whether they count as “art.”

As reported by Cointelegraph, an internal dispute kicked off in December when Wikipedia was considering its list of highest-grossing living artists.

“Pmmccurdy,” one of Wikipedia’s pro-NFT editors, argued that “overwhelming evidence” from secondary sources means that digital artists such as Beeple or Pak should remain on the art list.

Last March, Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days sold at Christie’s for $69 million. This led the New York Times to describe him as the third highest-selling artist alive.

“If we agree Beeple and Pak are artists, why would their sales not count on this list? I don’t understand the logic here,” said Pmmccurdy.

Read more: [Beeple NFT tops almost every ‘Old World Masters’ ever auctioned]

NFTs need separate Wikipedia category, for now

After a vote on the issue, five editors said they were against listing NFTs alongside more traditional works.

They said they couldn’t decide whether they represented the actual artworks or were just a crypto token.

They also said there wasn’t enough information available to come to a definite conclusion.

As a result, the platform has agreed to shelve its final decision for now and place NFTs in their own category.

Beeple NFT
Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days sold at Christie’s for $69 million in march 2021

[Read more: NFT market OpenSea now worth more than Kraken, Gemini, and eToro]

One editor going by the name “Jonas” told Cointelegraph (our emphasis):

“Wikipedia really can’t be in the business of deciding what counts as art or not, which is why putting NFTs, art or not, in their own list makes things a lot simpler.”

But NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway co-founders Griffin and Duncan Cock Foster were critical of Wikipedia’s approach. 

“This is pretty messed up to see – Wikipedia mods are trying to say that *no* NFT can be art — as in, if it’s an NFT, it can’t be classified as art,” said Griffin.

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