Crypto Collectibles, Museum Funding and OpenGLAM:
Challenges, Opportunities and the Potential of Non-Fungible
Foteini Valeonti 1, * , Antonis Bikakis 1, Melissa Terras 2, Chris Speed 3, Andrew Hudson-Smith 4
and Konstantinos Chalkias 5
Citation: Valeonti, F.; Bikakis, A.;
Terras, M.; Speed, C.; Hudson-Smith,
A.; Chalkias, K. Crypto Collectibles,
Museum Funding and OpenGLAM:
Challenges, Opportunities and the
Potential of Non-Fungible Tokens
(NFTs). Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931.
Academic Editors: Paraskevi
Raftopoulou, Akrivi Katifori,
Angeliki Antoniou and Areti Damala
Received: 1 September 2021
Accepted: 19 October 2021
Published: 24 October 2021
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1Department of Information Studies, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK;
2College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh, 56 George Square,
Edinburgh EH8 9JU, UK; email@example.com
3Institute for Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh, 47 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT, UK;
4Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, 90 Tottenham Court Road,
London W1T 4TJ, UK; firstname.lastname@example.org
5Novi Financial, Facebook Research, 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA; email@example.com
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) make it technically possible for digital assets to be owned and
traded, introducing the concept of scarcity in the digital realm for the ﬁrst time. Resulting from this
technical development, this paper asks the question, do they provide an opportunity for fundraising
for galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM), by selling ownership of digital copies of
their collections? Although NFTs in their current format were ﬁrst invented in 2017 as a means for
game players to trade virtual goods, they reached the mainstream in 2021, when the auction house
Christie’s held their ﬁrst-ever sale exclusively for an NFT of a digital image, that was eventually
sold for a record 69 million USD. The potential of NFTs to generate signiﬁcant revenue for artists
and museums by selling effectively a cryptographically signed copy of a digital image (similar to
real-world limited editions, which are signed and numbered copies of a given artwork), has sparked
the interest of the ﬁnancially deprived museum and heritage sector with world-renowned institutions
such as the Ufﬁzi Gallery and the Hermitage Museum, having already employed NFTs in order
to raise funds. Concerns surrounding the environmental impact of blockchain technology and the
rise of malicious projects, exploiting previously digitised heritage content made available through
OpenGLAM licensing, have attracted criticism over the speculative use of the technology. In this
paper, we present the current state of affairs in relation to NFTs and the cultural heritage sector,
identifying challenges, whilst highlighting opportunities that they create for revenue generation, in
order to help address the ever-increasing ﬁnancial challenges of galleries and museums.
Keywords: non-fungible tokens; museum funding; OpenGLAM; digitised collections
Sustaining funding has always been one of the main challenges for museums and
] with the recent COVID-19 pandemic severely aggravating the ﬁnancial health
of cultural heritage organisations. In order to survive ﬁnancially, museums and galleries
have been forced to turn to solutions of last resort, such as redundancies [
] and even
]. However, recent advancements in technology have introduced new
ways for revenue generation from museum images and digitised collections. Non-fungible
tokens (NFTs), which can be described as a new medium that enables the ownership and
trading of digital assets of any kind, have been gaining an increasing amount of attention
in recent months. Introducing scarcity for born-digital assets for the ﬁrst time ever, NFTs,
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11219931 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/applsci
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 2 of 19
or crypto- or digital collectibles, as they are also referred to, have already shown glimpses of
their potential. Indicatively, the founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, sold his ﬁrst ever tweet for
2.9 million USD as an NFT [
], whilst DJ Justin Blau auctioned the “world’s ﬁrst tokenized
album” for 11.6 million USD [
]. The current record for the most expensive NFT ever sold,
is held by Christie’s for the auction of “5000 Everydays”. A digital image that is a mosaic
of 5000 digital artworks by Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist also known as Beeple, was
sold for 69 million USD, ranking as the third most expensive work sold at an auction by a
living artist, surpassing auctions by Gerhard Richter, as well as most auctions for works by
famous old masters, including Raphael and Titian .
The museum sector has already started exploring the potential of crypto collectibles.
The Ufﬁzi Gallery was the ﬁrst major art museum to sell an NFT for an image of one
of its Michelangelo masterpieces “Doni Tondo”, which sold for 170.000 USD [
the Hermitage Museum announced that it is planning to sell NFTs for famous pieces
of its collection including works by Leonardo Da Vinci and Van Gogh [
NFTs have also attracted strong criticism. Firstly, the energy consumption associated with
creating, which is commonly referred to as minting and trading NFTs is signiﬁcant [
In addition, the anonymity that is ubiquitous in the crypto space provides fertile ground
for bad actors seeking to exploit content that is freely available, such as the images made
available through institutions that have adopted the OpenGLAM principles [
given the dire ﬁnancial state of cultural heritage organisations, it is deemed necessary to
explore this new medium and the opportunities it creates.
This paper asks if it is appropriate for the heritage sector to embrace non-fungible
tokens (NFTs), selling ownership of digitised images of collections items, to raise much
needed revenue. How might such an initiative sit alongside the OpenGLAM movement,
where galleries, libraries, archives and museums have been openly licensing images of
items in their collections for others to use as they will? In this paper, we problematise
beyond the hype of digital collectibles, exploring the opportunities, risks and challenges
they present to the GLAM sector, concluding with recommendations for the sector, as well
as for the academic community and researchers interested in exploring NFTs in relation to
museum funding and openly licenced content.
2.1. Long-Standing Financial Challenges of Museums and Countermeasures
The ill ﬁnancial health of institutions has long been one of the main challenges of
the cultural heritage sector. The economic crisis of 2008 directly affected the sector [
whilst the consecutive budget cuts that followed in the UK made securing funding one
of the top challenges for British museums [
]. The extended and repeated closures due
to COVID-19, caused a staggering 77% drop in attendance of art museums globally in
], severely aggravating the situation, having a devastating impact on the ﬁnancial
health of cultural heritage institutions. Indicatively, two-thirds (i.e., 71%) of Scotland’s
independent museums reported that they do not have funds to survive a year [
a report on the impact of COVID-19 on the museum sector revealed that 85% of museum
directors were concerned about attracting audiences back .
To counter the sharp decline in revenue, museums turned to redundancies and deac-
cessions. Even in the UK, where a multi-million-pound emergency funding was offered
to the cultural heritage sector [
] redundancies were widespread. Even large, well-
funded institutions were forced to reduce their staff, including the Tate, which cut 120 jobs
(i.e., 12% of its workforce) [
] and the V&A, which cut 103 roles (i.e., 10% of staff) [
including one-ﬁfth of its curatorial team [
]. One of the arguably lesser-known functions
of museums, i.e., deaccessioning, was also employed by museums in order to generate
much-needed revenue. In the UK, despite the fact that “ﬁnancially-motivated disposal [is]
subject to particularly close scrutiny” [
], the Royal Opera House sold David Hockney’s
“Portrait of Sir David Webster”, who was the General Administrator of the Royal Opera
House for several decades [
]. The portrait was auctioned by Christie’s and it was sold for
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 3 of 19
12.8 million GBP [
] in order “to raise vital funds for London’s Royal Opera House” [
In the US, the American Association of Art Museum Directors, in response to requests
from museums, approved in April of 2020 a resolution offering more ﬂexibility regarding
deaccessioning, addressing in particular “how a museum might use the proceeds from
deaccessioned art to pay for expenses associated with the direct care of collections” [
Following that resolution the Everson Museum auctioned Jackson Pollock’s “Red Compo-
sition” for 12 million USD, whilst Palm Springs Art Museum raised 3.9 million USD by
auctioning Helen Frankenthaler’s “Carousel” [
]. Despite the devastating effects of the
pandemic on the sector and the acknowledgement that more ﬂexibility may be needed, all
such ﬁnancially motivated deaccessions came under scrutiny [
] with critics arguing that
these institutions are “betraying the museum ﬁeld” and that “patrons and artists would
think twice about donating art, or money, if they believed that works in the collection could
become a funding stream at a director’s whim” .
In exploring other avenues for revenue generation, we might begin by asking if there is
an opportunity for organisations to raise much needed income by selling cryptographically
signed copies of digital items derived from their collections, in the emerging NFT market
without undermining current image licensing revenue streams and disrupting open content
policies of institutions in the OpenGLAM movement. An article published on Artnet News
in March 2021, states that NFTs and digital collectibles could present “a lifeline for cash-
strapped museums” [
], because with the emergence of NFTs “historical issues that have
long plagued the media market, like digital piracy and illegal reproduction, can be now
all but forgotten” [
]. The article concludes that it is “worth exploring what can be done
digitally before resorting to the painful and unpopular act of deaccessioning artworks”
because NFTs “could have a big impact on museums’ bottom lines” [
]. With the cultural
heritage sector struggling to address its ever-mounting ﬁnancial challenges, employing
even the least favourite of solutions and with the majority of museums having been left
to choose between redundancies, deaccessions and even permanent closure, it is deemed
necessary to exhaustively explore all possibilities that emerging technologies are presenting
us with, whilst assessing the challenges and risks.
2.2. The Emergence of Blockchain
In 2008, a person named Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity has yet to be revealed,
posted to “The Cryptography and Cryptography Policy Mailing List” [
] a message titled
“Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper” [
], describing a “new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-
to-peer, with no trusted third party” [
]. Nakamoto’s message linked to a paper titled
“Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” [
] and it sparked a vivid discussion.
Some members of the mailing list acknowledged the technology’s potential stating “this
does seem to be a very promising and original idea” [
], whilst others dismissed it
completely, replying to Nakamoto saying “your proposal involves complications I do not
think you have thought through” [
]. More than a decade later, Bitcoin has “managed to
exist and operate in an autonomous way” with a “considerable capitalization” in excess
of 2 trillion USD (as of May, 2021 according to CoinMarketCap [
]), having yet to be
“seriously challenged by any attack” .
A blockchain can be described as “a distributed, immutable ledger that is maintained
and veriﬁed among a network of peers” [
], or in simpler terms, a commonly shared
database that is accessible by everyone and cannot be compromised by anyone. Although
inﬂuences and forerunners of blockchain technology can be traced back to the 1950s [
the most well-known blockchain “emerged from the development of Bitcoin” [
popular cryptocurrency presented in the aforementioned paper by Nakamoto [
signiﬁcance is acknowledged in academia, being described as a “revolutionary technology”
of “disruptive nature” [
], with researchers emphasising that “blockchain is much more
than a foundation for crypto currency” [
], documenting the technology’s widespread
adoption in a wide range of industries beyond the ﬁnancial sector, ranging from healthcare
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 4 of 19
to law [
] and, more recently, to the cultural heritage sector, through the emergence of
3. Understanding Non-Fungible Tokens
3.1. Deﬁnition of NFTs and Emergence
Combining and extending the deﬁnitions of Bal and Ner [
], Regner et al. [
], we deﬁne a non-fungible token (NFT) as a cryptographically unique, indivisible,
irreplaceable and veriﬁable token that represents a given asset, be it digital, or physical, on a
blockchain. At present the vast majority of NFTs are built on the Ethereum blockchain
] and are therefore Ethereum tokens; it is worth noting, however, that emerging
blockchain platforms such as Flow [
], Tezos [
] and Algorand [
] have also been adding
support for NFTs,. According to Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin, his main motivation
for developing Ethereum was to explore “the blockchain concept can be used for more
than just money” [
]. As a result, the fundamental difference between Ethereum and the
Bitcoin blockchain network is that an Ethereum token (i.e., a token stored and traded on
the Ethereum blockchain) is created and managed by a so-called “smart contract”, which
allows for programmatic computation, notably supporting “all types of computations” [
Buterin describes smart contracts as “systems which automatically move digital assets
according to arbitrary pre-speciﬁed rules” [
]. In other words, a smart contract can be
described as a self-executing contract between two parties, whose terms of agreement
are written into lines of code and whose execution and related transactions are trackable,
irreversible and exclusively controlled by code .
The concept of NFTs was ﬁrst introduced in 2012 with Bitcoin’s “Colored Coins”,
which referred to tokens that represent any type of physical asset, such as real estate
properties, cars and bonds [
]. In their current format, NFTs were implemented in 2017,
when Dieter Shirley, a contributor to the Ethereum source code repository and founder of
the digital collectibles game CryptoKitties, introduced the ERC-721 smart contract standard,
which allowed for the creation of a new type of Ethereum tokens [
]. Shirley explained the
standard would allow for the implementation of “non-fungible tokens”, also “referred to
as ‘NFTs’”, providing “basic functionality to track and transfer ownership of NFTs” [
the Ethereum blockchain. Up until then, for purposes of interoperability, the vast majority
of Ethereum tokens were based on the ERC-20 protocol, whose deﬁning feature is that
they are fungible, i.e., replaceable and interchangeable [
]. For example, on Ethereum, all
cryptocurrencies (except for Ether, which is Ethereum’s so-called native cryptocurrency)
are created using an ERC-20 contract for that very reason; similar to a real-world currency,
where a bank note is fungible and interchangeable with every other bank note of the same
value, each ERC-20 token is fungible and interchangeable with every other token of the
same type. By introducing the ERC-721 token protocol, Shirley offered an alternative
Other smart contract protocols for creating NFTs have also been proposed. Although
ERC-721 is considered the “gold standard” [
], the ERC-1155 “multi-token standard” [
offers greater ﬂexibility in the creation and management of NFTs, by offering support
for batch operations, reducing gas fees and subsequently carbon emissions by 90% [
Another standard worth noting is EIP-2981, which enables universal support for royalty
payments in all NFT marketplaces and ecosystems [
]. EIP-2981 addresses the lack of
standardisation and interoperability across ecosystems, when it comes to the enforcement
of resale rights across different platforms. Finally, fractionalised NFTs (F-NFTs), which
support the fractional ownership of NFTs, are expected to be increasingly adopted, espe-
cially for high-value collectibles [
]. It could be argued that Ethereum’s edge over other
blockchains is primarily due to market domination. Although other blockchains may be
better suited for NFTs (e.g., due to substantially lower transaction fees) [
], a recent study
showed that a staggering 97% of the NFT sales examined were generated on the Ethereum
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 5 of 19
NFTs became popular within the crypto community through gaming and, in particular,
through the virtual game CryptoKitties, which is a digital collectibles game, where every
CryptoKitty is unique [
]. CryptoKitties have been described as a “digital version of
Pokemon cards” [
] and the NFT for one of the most expensive CryptoKitties was sold
for 170,000 USD [
]. Beyond gaming, NFTs have also been adopted by various industries,
ranging from ﬁnance, obligations and loans [
] to supply chains [
]. In 2021, NFTs hit
the mainstream emphatically, shaking up the art world, when the Christie’s auctioned
Beeple’s “5000 Everydays” in March 2021 as the “ﬁrst purely digital artwork (NFT)” [
for 69.3 million USD [
]. Although this was not Beeple’s ﬁrst multi-million dollar sale [
“5000 Everydays” ranked as the third most expensive work sold at auction by a living
artist, causing many in the art world to pause and evaluate the potential of NFTs [
addition to the aforementioned sectors, the potential of crypto collectibles is continuously
being highlighted for an expanding range of industries, spanning from music [
sports  to real estate .
3.2. Storage of NFTs
Given that digital collectibles by deﬁnition represent digital and physical assets, it is
deemed necessary to examine where these assets that NFTs represent are stored. In the
case of physical assets, the tangible artefact is usually shipped to the NFT collector, an
indicative example of which is the NFT trading cards [
]. In the case of digital assets,
however, storage is more complex. As a digital asset could be lost forever rather easily (e.g.,
being mistakenly erased due to human error, or by accident due to hardware damage), so
systems have emerged for the persistent storage of assets represented by NFTs. In contrast
to the actual tokens, which are stored on blockchains (e.g., on the Ethereum blockchain),
the assets they represent (i.e., the digital ﬁles) are in most cases stored off-chain, as it would
be prohibitively expensive otherwise. Indicatively, in July 2020, when gas fees were also
signiﬁcantly lower than in 2021, the fees to store (i.e., register) a 1 MegaByte image on the
Ethereum blockchain cost more than 13,000 USD (i.e., 13.82 USD per KiloByte) [
]. To link
the two, i.e., the blockchain-based tokens with the digital assets that they represent, which
are stored in external storage systems, NFT platforms utilise different ways of associating
the token with the asset; in the simplest of forms, one such reference can be a web link
accompanying the token in its metadata.
There are mainly two types of storage systems for digital assets represented by NFTs,
i.e., distributed storage infrastructures and centralised storage solutions. The most-widely
used storage system at present, IPFS, is distributed; IPFS is where the assets of leading
marketplaces of crypto collectibles such as Rarible.com and Foundation.app are stored
by default [
]. On the other hand, an indicative example of a centralised storage
solution is the Origin NFT Launchpad (originprotocol.com) platform. When an NFT is
created and sold through the Origin NFT Launchpad, although the token transaction
takes place on the Ethereum blockchain as normal (as if this NFT was created and sold
through the aforementioned marketplaces), the asset represented by this NFT is stored on
the company’s own centralised servers instead (information provided by Origin Protocol
directly, as of June 2021).
3.3. Cost and Risks
Although the potential of NFTs is arguably undisputable, it must be noted that there
are costs for creating and trading crypto collectibles, as well as potential risks, which
should be addressed by any individual or organisation seeking to utilise this new medium.
Regarding the former, to create and trade NFTs, or to perform any other blockchain-based
transaction, one must pay the so called gas fees, i.e., fees that are paid to node operators to
register new transactions on the respective blockchain [
]. Node operators play a vital role
for a blockchain’s proper functioning; they lend their computer’s resources (e.g., RAM, disk
space, bandwidth) to it, by running a software that “keeps a full copy of the blockchain” and
also “broadcasts transactions across the [blockchain] network” [
]. Gas fees depend on
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 6 of 19
the volume of transactions taking place on the blockchain network at a given moment. As a
result, for the Ethereum network in particular, where most NFTs are currently being traded,
gas fees can get particularly high [
], ranging between 4 and 70 USD per transaction,
as shown in Figure 1[
]. Therefore, even if one was only interested in experimenting
with NFTs, they would be required to have a budget to spend towards gas fees for any
blockchain-related operation. However, some marketplaces have already started exploring
solutions that eliminate gas fees by reducing the number of on-chain transactions .
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, x FOR PEER REVIEW 6 of 20
3.3. Cost and Risks
Although the potential of NFTs is arguably undisputable, it must be noted that there
are costs for creating and trading crypto collectibles, as well as potential risks, which
should be addressed by any individual or organisation seeking to utilise this new me-
dium. Regarding the former, to create and trade NFTs, or to perform any other blockchain-
based transaction, one must pay the so called gas fees, i.e., fees that are paid to node operators
to register new transactions on the respective blockchain . Node operators play a vital
role for a blockchain’s proper functioning; they lend their computer’s resources (e.g.,
RAM, disk space, bandwidth) to it, by running a software that “keeps a full copy of the
blockchain” and also “broadcasts transactions across the [blockchain] network” . Gas
fees depend on the volume of transactions taking place on the blockchain network at a
given moment. As a result, for the Ethereum network in particular, where most NFTs are
currently being traded, gas fees can get particularly high , ranging between 4 and 70
USD per transaction, as shown in Figure 1 . Therefore, even if one was only interested
in experimenting with NFTs, they would be required to have a budget to spend towards
gas fees for any blockchain-related operation. However, some marketplaces have already
started exploring solutions that eliminate gas fees by reducing the number of on-chain
Figure 1. Ethereum average transaction fee in USD (YTD).
Besides fees, there are also potential risks involved when creating and trading crypto
collectibles. The main risk associated with NFTs is the same one that applies to any other
token, or cryptocurrency, which relates to the security of crypto wallets and their crypto-
graphic keys that allow their owners to access them. Some popular NFT platforms own
and manage these keys on behalf of their users, serving as custodial wallets. An indicative
example of a custodial wallet is the Binance NFT Marketplace (www.binance.com/en/nft,
accessed on 18 October 2021). Custodial wallets are simple to set up, require no familiarity
with blockchain technologies and platforms and have all the conveniences one would ex-
pect, such as password recovery and account retrieval. On the downside, users of custo-
dial wallets do not have true ownership of their NFTs, as these are not stored in their own
crypto wallets on the blockchain. As a result, if the wallet provider’s infrastructure gets
compromised, or the firm declares bankruptcy, solvency issues would arise (similar to the
MtGox case in Bitcoin wallets ). On the other hand, users who store their NFTs into
crypto wallets that they manage themselves also face risks; if they happen to lose access
to their wallet, or forget the wallet’s cryptographic keys, then they immediately lose access
to all of the wallet’s contents , because a process for retrieving crypto wallets has yet
to be established without compromising the integrity of the respective blockchain. Due to
the importance of the key loss issue, hybrid solutions have been proposed, whereby the
key is split between multiple entities . More recently, a new smart contract method
named KELP was introduced, which manages to regain access to a lost crypto wallet ;
however, it has yet to be tested widely.
Figure 1. Ethereum average transaction fee in USD (YTD).
Besides fees, there are also potential risks involved when creating and trading crypto
collectibles. The main risk associated with NFTs is the same one that applies to any
other token, or cryptocurrency, which relates to the security of crypto wallets and their
cryptographic keys that allow their owners to access them. Some popular NFT platforms
own and manage these keys on behalf of their users, serving as custodial wallets. An
indicative example of a custodial wallet is the Binance NFT Marketplace (www.binance.
com/en/nft, accessed on 18 October 2021). Custodial wallets are simple to set up, require
no familiarity with blockchain technologies and platforms and have all the conveniences
one would expect, such as password recovery and account retrieval. On the downside,
users of custodial wallets do not have true ownership of their NFTs, as these are not
stored in their own crypto wallets on the blockchain. As a result, if the wallet provider’s
infrastructure gets compromised, or the ﬁrm declares bankruptcy, solvency issues would
arise (similar to the MtGox case in Bitcoin wallets [
]). On the other hand, users who store
their NFTs into crypto wallets that they manage themselves also face risks; if they happen to
lose access to their wallet, or forget the wallet’s cryptographic keys, then they immediately
lose access to all of the wallet’s contents [
], because a process for retrieving crypto wallets
has yet to be established without compromising the integrity of the respective blockchain.
Due to the importance of the key loss issue, hybrid solutions have been proposed, whereby
the key is split between multiple entities [
]. More recently, a new smart contract method
named KELP was introduced, which manages to regain access to a lost crypto wallet ;
however, it has yet to be tested widely.
Another common risk for buyers of digital collectibles regards asset access and storage.
Commonly known as the “pull the rug” risk [
], it concerns whether buyers of NFTs have
guaranteed and continued access to the assets represented by their NFTs. As mentioned
earlier, the most widely used storage solution at present is the decentralised storage system
IPFS. In such decentralised solutions, node operators need incentives for the continuous
maintenance of copies of all ﬁles. More importantly, there has yet to be some form of
assurance that every asset will continue to be stored forever in the storage system and it is
technically possible under certain circumstances for an asset to be deleted or to become
inaccessible at some point in the future. The leading NFT marketplace Rarible.com states
in its terms of service that they “cannot guarantee continued operation [
. . .
], or the
integrity and persistence of data on IPFS” [
]. Similar risks also exist in centralised storage
infrastructures. A user will lose access to their assets in various scenarios: if the ﬁrm
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 7 of 19
experiences a technical issue, if a natural disaster hits a data centre (and the company does
not utilise geo-duplication, where the same asset is stored in multiple different geographical
locations), or if the company dissolves without transferring data elsewhere proactively.
The “pull the rug” problem has been highlighted by the crypto community as one of the
key areas that need to be addressed and further developed in the future .
In addition to the aforementioned risks, there are also other critical issues that need to
be acknowledged. Amongst them is the ubiquity of anonymity on any blockchain, which
provides fertile ground for bad actors to sell unauthenticated NFTs to unsuspicious buyers
(Section 5.1), the lack of a deﬁnitive copyright policy governing all NFT sales (Section 4.2),
the volatility of the NFT market (Section 6.1) and last but not least, the reputation risk of
embracing NFTs, which are severely criticised for their environmental impact (Section 6.2).
3.4. Importance of NFTs
It could be argued that the signiﬁcance of NFTs is that they introduce scarcity in the
digital realm, making the ownership and also the trading of digital assets technologically
possible. With regards to the former (i.e., ownership) when one buys a NFT, the transaction
is registered on the public database of transactions that is the blockchain and as a result no
one can question, challenge, obfuscate, or compromise one’s ownership of a given asset.
Regarding the latter (i.e., trading) NFTs are crypto tokens themselves and, therefore, they
can be traded (e.g., bought, sold, transferred, repurchased) on the blockchain, similar to
any other type of token. Whereas painters and sculptors could always produce unique
physical artifacts, for photographers, when mechanical reproduction was invented “artists
and collectors had to come to terms with the fact that [one could] produce an unlimited
number of identical prints of any photograph” [
]. As a response, in order to achieve
authenticity, scarcity and, therefore, collectability, signed editions were introduced [
Similarly, as a response to the “artiﬁcial abundance” [
] of the Internet, NFTs introduce
and implement technologically the concept of signed editions in the digital realm [
More importantly, they do so in a way that is accepted by common consensus.
Long before the emergence of NFTs, one could claim and prove ownership of a given
asset in a variety of different ways, ranging from image watermarks (in the simplest of
forms) to solutions utilising the blockchain, such as Verisart, i.e., a company founded
in 2015 before the emergence of NFTs for providing certiﬁcates of authenticity to artists,
by utilising blockchain technology [
] (Verisart has since adopted NFTs). However, it
could be argued that none of these methods were widely known and, as a result, there
was no process people could refer to in order to look up the ownership of an asset or
its authenticity. Thanks to the relative (i.e., in an anonymised manner) transparency of
blockchains, where all transactions are publicly visible by everyone, NFTs make it possible
for the ﬁrst time for anyone with a basic understanding and knowledge of NFTs, to look
up the provenance of an NFT, including its creator (i.e., the public blockchain address of
the person, or entity, who minted it), the current owner, as well as all previous owners.
As an example, given that the vast majority of NFTs are on the Ethereum blockchain, one
could track the provenance of an NFT using platforms, such as Etherscan.io, which is a
free tool for tracking transactions and looking up the content of smart contracts on the
Ethereum network [
]. However, given the ubiquity of anonymity in the decentralised
web, it must be noted that rigorous due diligence is required in order to match the creator
of the NFT (i.e., the wallet address that minted the NFT) with its real-world counterpart.
Towards that direction and in order to minimise fraud, NFT platforms have implemented
a veriﬁcation process for creators to prove their identity. However, not all NFTs are sold
through such platforms and therefore it is deemed necessary for collectors to perform their
own due diligence.
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 8 of 19
4. Monetising Museum Images: NFTs, Image Licensing and Copyright
4.1. NFTs and Revenue Generation from Museum Images
Despite the fact that NFTs are a nascent technology and cultural heritage institutions
are not usually amongst the earliest adopters of bleeding-edge technologies (which can
be attributed to the fact that museums traditionally have limited budgets to experiment
with new technologies and only few and well-resourced museums have the privilege of
in-house technology teams), museums have already started exploring the possibilities of
crypto collectibles for revenue generation, as well as for sourcing funds for social impact
projects. As early as March 2021, the Guggenheim advertised a job post for a candidate
who would look into the potential of NFTs [
], whilst the Cultural Producer and Former
Deputy Director of the San Jose Museum of Art, along with other museum delegates,
participated in the webinar “Discussing & Debating the Potentials of NFTs in the Museum
]. The ﬁrst large-scale institution to embrace NFTs was, what is considered by
some as the “world’s best art gallery” [
], i.e., the Ufﬁzi Gallery in Florence, Italy. In an
effort to recover some of the revenue lost due to the pandemic, the Ufﬁzi Gallery took
the decision to create and sell NFTs of digitised images of some of its iconic pieces [
On the 14 May 2021, the gallery sold its ﬁrst NFT of Michelangelo’s “Doni Tondo”, for
170,000 USD [
]. Following in the Ufﬁzi’s footsteps, in July 2021, the Hermitage Museum
in Russia announced it would sell NFTs of digital copies of some of its masterpieces on
the Binance NFT Marketplace, including works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh
and Wassily Kandinsky [
]. The museum’s general director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, stated
that the Hermitage is “not looking at it as a way of making money” [
], but instead as an
opportunity to experiment with this new medium [
]. However, at the same time, the
Hermitage stated that they aim to utilise the funds raised to “provide better availability of
the Hermitage collection” [
] and to undertake necessary restoration work [
]. The ﬁrst
British museum to embrace NFTs was the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, UK. In July
2021, the gallery sold limited editions of its ﬁrst NFT, featuring an image of William Blake’s
“Ancient of Days”, through the Hic et Nunc platform (www.hicetnunc.xyz/objkt/168856,
accessed on 18 October 2021), which operates on the energy-efﬁcient Tezos blockchain [
The gallery aims to raise funds for ﬁnancing” social projects co-produced by the Whitworth
and its constituents” instead of funding its own needs and collection [
]. The goal of this
experiment, as they describe it, is to “explore the potential of directing new ﬂows of private
digitised capital into social capital” .
Although NFTs have already shown glimpses of their potential for monetising mu-
seum images, sceptics question whether they do so at the expense of an existing and
long-utilised source of revenue for digitised collections—that of image licensing. Many
museums and galleries have long relied on image licensing as a way to earn signiﬁcant
revenue from their images [
], either through their own in-house operations [
through image licensing ﬁrms such as The Bridgeman Art Library [
]. Using image
licensing, museums have been claiming copyright even on images of artworks that are in
the public domain, sparking controversy [
]. As a counter-argument, museums claim
that revenue from image fees is vital for their collections [
]. An exception to this is
the Open-GLAM movement, which has made digital images of collections’ items available
with a variety of open licenses permitting reuse. There is some justiﬁable concern that third
parties could mint openly licensed images of artworks as NFTs, taking potential revenue
from institutions (discussed in Section 5.1) [
]. Therefore, it is deemed necessary to ex-
plore whether crypto collectibles impact image licensing operations by crystalising matters
on NFTs in relation to copyright.
4.2. NFTs and Copyright
A common concern amongst sceptics is whether the intellectual property rights of the
images featured in NFTs are also part of the trade and therefore museums would risk losing
image licensing revenue by venturing in crypto collectibles. Although that is a ﬁeld that is
still being shaped, by general consensus, when it comes to intellectual property rights, the
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 9 of 19
trade of crypto collectibles largely mirrors real-world art trade unless otherwise speciﬁed.
By copyright law, when one purchases a physical painting, they only buy ownership over
the tangible asset; the copyright of the artwork, including any commercial rights, remains
with the artist, unless that is speciﬁcally covered in writing and signed [
]. Tonya M.
Evans, a law professor at Penn State university, in her study on digital collectibles in
relation to copyright, concluded that copyright law “does not speciﬁcally identify digital
or digitized works as copyrightable subject matter” [
], because it applies equally “to
physical embodiments and those requiring the aid of a machine” and therefore, an NFT
“contributed by an author that contains at least a minimum amount of creativity is capable
of receiving copyright protection” [
]. Therefore, from a legal standpoint, it appears to
be clear that NFTs would be treated like tangible paintings when it comes to copyright. It
must be noted that legislation differs by country, however with regards to copyright law
in particular, it could be argued that it shares great similarities across different countries
Examining how intellectual property rights of NFTs are enforced on the platforms
where crypto collectibles are traded, different approaches can be identiﬁed. When the
creators of CryptoKitties invented NFTs [
], they also published an accompanying license,
i.e., the “Nifty License” (nftlicense.org, accesed on 18 October 2021), which allows collectors
some commercial reuse of the asset associated with the NFT. However, that does not
appear to be adopted elsewhere beyond CryptoKitties. Indicatively, the leading platform
Foundation.app (where Edward Snowden sold his ﬁrst NFT raising 5.5 million USD for
the Freedom of the Press Foundation [
]), clariﬁes in its terms of service that collectors
are able to trade the NFT, i.e., the token, but they do not obtain any commercial rights on
the asset the NFT represents [
]. The “Nifty License” demonstrates an intent for crypto
collectibles to push the boundaries and introduce new norms to the art trade in relation
to artwork copyright ownership. However, at present, it is commonly accepted amongst
creators, as well as buyers of NFTs, that, unless otherwise speciﬁed, the trade of crypto
collectibles does not involve or impact the intellectual property rights of the asset NFTs are
associated with in any way.
5. Digital Collectibles and OpenGLAM
5.1. Malicious Uses the Case of Global Art Museum
Despite the brief history of NFTs, malicious uses of crypto collectibles have already
emerged. Amongst them is the case of the Global Art Museum (GAM). Launched in
March 2021, GAM presented itself as an organisation that “transforms historic art into
blockchain-secured NFTs [
. . .
] disrupting the Art Museum industry” [
]. Through the
popular NFT marketplace OpenSea.com, GAM offered NFTs of masterpieces by Vermeer
and Seurat for sale, claiming it would share 10% of proﬁts with the institutions where
these works belong [
]. All of the works that GAM utilised for its NFTs have been
made available through OpenGLAM, an initiative that promotes free and open access to
the digitised collections of galleries, libraries, archives and museums [
]. Pioneered by
the Rijksmuseum in 2011 and later adopted by leading museums and galleries, such as
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Denmark and the Getty, the
core aim of OpenGLAM is to encourage cultural heritage organisations to refrain from
adding new rights to images of artefacts, whose original work is in the public domain (i.e.,
free from any known copyright limitations) [
]. From a legal standpoint, GAM did not
infringe copyright law, since images made available through OpenGLAM are available
for unrestricted reuse. However, by naming its collections of NFTs after the respective
institutions (e.g., “The Rijksmuseum Collection”) [
], whilst also promising revenue
share with the museums, GAM created the false impression that it was in some form of
partnership with the respective institutions, implying their endorsement.
Tina Rivers Ryan, the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Albright–Knox
museum, uncovered GAM with an extensive thread on Twitter that went viral in museum
circles, mounting strong criticism against it [
]. When the Rijksmuseum clariﬁed that it
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 10 of 19
was not in partnership with GAM [
], the latter was forced to take down all of its NFTs
and present the project as a “NFT social experiment” [
]. The trend GAM sought to
exploit and be part of is that of unauthenticated NFTs selling for signiﬁcant sums. One
would expect that people prepared to give thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars
for one NFT, would normally conduct due diligence regarding the authenticity of the
collectibles they purchase; however, that is not always the case. An indicative case is crypto
artist Pest Supply, who sold an NFT featuring an adaptation of one of Banksy’s works for
900,000 USD [
]. Even the name of the artist, “Pest Supply”, is misleading because it
resembles “Pest Control”, which is Banksy’s authentication body [
]. The NFT itself had
nothing to do with Banksy , but despite that, it was sold for nearly a million USD.
5.2. NFTs and OpenGLAM: Risk or Opportunity?
The case of GAM led many to believe that crypto collectibles “seem at odds” [
with the open content initiatives of cultural heritage institutions and consequently with the
OpenGLAM movement as a whole. Some hoped that GAM was “a wakeup call for the
GLAM sector”, arguing that “NFTs could be harmful if we do not acknowledge them” [
However, when GAM was brought to Rijksmuseum’s attention, whose works and name
were exploited by GAM, it clariﬁed that the museum’s collection is “open to everyone”; the
museum explained that the aim of their open data policy is “to connect [their] collection to
as many and diverse people as possible” [
] and did not make any further comments.
Similarly, other museums whose works were used by GAM did not openly criticise or
oppose to GAM using their images .
One could argue that, to the contrary, OpenGLAM institutions are those best posi-
tioned to beneﬁt from NFTs. Firstly, the case of GAM demonstrated that such scams, even
small ones (as it was the case with GAM, which attracted little ﬁnancial interest), will not go
unnoticed in the museum sector. Additionally, as NFTs mature as a new medium over time,
collectors will also be getting increasingly aware of such scams, becoming more cautious
when it comes to verifying the authenticity of the collectibles they invest in. Secondly,
as explained earlier, the opportunity that NFTs present cannot be underestimated. By
bringing scarcity to the digital realm, NFTs have arguably increased the value of the digi-
tised collections of cultural heritage institutions signiﬁcantly. However, commonly, NFT
collectors expect a high-quality image of the artwork associated with their NFT; therefore,
museums seeking to experiment with crypto collectibles would need to come to terms with
the fact that a collector could publicly share (e.g., on the Internet) the high-quality images
they would obtain by purchasing their NFTs. In the case of institutions with open content
policies, however, given the fact they are already sharing high-quality digitised images
of their artefacts openly, they have one barrier less for adopting and taking advantage of
NFTs (e.g., if not for fundraising, then for public engagement projects [
]), in comparison
to institutions with more restrictive image licensing policies.
6. Criticism and Debates
6.1. The NFT Market: The “Silent Crash” and the Top One Percent
The false impression one may get by reading through the phenomenon’s media
coverage is that all, or at least most, NFTs turn digital assets to gold. At a macro level,
examining the NFT market as a whole, analysts were pointing out, as early as April 2021,
that the market was already undergoing a “silent crash” [
]. Some credited the crash
to crypto investors, who joined in February to “catch a ride on the money train” and did
not hold their collectibles for more than a few days [
]. Irrespective of the causes of the
market crash, the fall was steep. In a single day, i.e., on the 25 March, the average daily
value of NFTs fell by more than 85%, from 19 to 3 million USD [
]. Some argued that
the “silent crash” was a “healthy, relatively short-term correction”, given the fact the rise
of the prices of NFTs in the ﬁrst couple of months of 2021 “was unsustainable” [
nevertheless it was a steep fall of the market.
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 11 of 19
At a micro level, the examination of individual NFT sales reveals great similarities
between the crypto art market and the traditional art world, despite the fundamental differ-
ences between the two (e.g., the transparency of transactions, the lack of middlepersons). A
recent study led by Canadian concept artist Kimberly Parker revealed that nearly 80% (i.e.,
79.6%) of NFTs sell for less than 500 USD, whilst one-third of all NFTs (i.e., 33.6%) sell for
less than 100 USD [
]. The study, which analysed data from OpenSea.com, as well as sale
information from other marketplaces, revealed that only a “whopping 1.8%” of primary
sales (i.e., the ﬁrst ever sale of an NFT) exceeded the price of 0.5 ether, approximately
894 USD, based on the exchange rate during the period of the study [
]. This greatly
resembles the status quo of the “notoriously top heavy” [
], “winner takes all” [
market. In 2020, it was reported that 64% of total sales of the art market, estimated at 64.1
billion USD [
], went to the top 1% of artists [
], whilst in 2017, just 25 artists accounted
for nearly 50% of total contemporary auction sales [
]. As Parker concluded in his study
of the NFT market, “decentralization does not mean equality of opportunity” .
6.2. Environmental Considerations
The greatest controversy surrounding crypto collectibles is the energy consumption
associated with the Ethereum blockchain, where most NFTs are being traded, which is
indeed substantial. As of May 2021, Ethereum’s energy consumption is estimated at
48.7 Tera-Watt Hours (TWh) per annum, which equals to the annual energy consumption of
]. As a result, NFTs have attracted severe criticism from environmentalists [
“NFTs are helping to destroy our planet” [
], argues Art Newspaper’s columnist Anny
Shaw, adding that Beeple’s record auction of “5000 Everydays” produced 79 kg of CO
emissions, equalling those of 13 homes in a year combined [
]. NFTs, however, are merely
a smart contract protocol and one that can be implemented on any blockchain; hence,
they are not exclusively tied to the Ethereum blockchain; Ethereum just happens to be the
blockchain where NFTs were ﬁrst introduced and is currently the most developed and
widely adopted blockchain at present [
] in comparison to other more energy-efﬁcient
blockchains. Secondly, a systematic effort is being made for Ethereum itself to eliminate its
carbon footprint . Such indications make us hopeful for the future of NFTs.
Fierce critics of NFTs, however, argue that the energy consumption issues of NFTs
will not be resolved anytime soon [
]. They consider Ethereum’s multi-year attempt to
change its transaction validation method from the energy-consuming Proof-of-Work (PoW)
method with the energy-efﬁcient Proof-of-Stake (PoS) method as a “running joke” [
Making such a fundamental change on a blockchain, whose daily transactions exceed 1
million USD [
], would require a long and monumental effort and indeed, it may prove
impossible eventually. However, as explained earlier, Ethereum has repeatedly pushed the
boundaries of what is possible when it comes to decentralised technologies, so they may
also succeed in moving to the PoS method, which would reduce the blockchain’s carbon
emissions by 99%  and automatically reduce to the minimum the carbon footprint of
all NFT-related trade.
Beyond Ethereum, energy-efﬁcient NFTs already exist and are being traded as normal.
The NFT of the Whitworth Gallery mentioned above is registered and traded on the energy-
efﬁcient Tezos blockchain. There are also numerous other blockchains that also utilise the
Proof-of-Stake method for transaction veriﬁcation, like Cardano [
] and Algorand [
whose “electricity costs are comparable to using traditional servers in a centralized ap-
]. In addition, Cardano, a project driven by academic research, will fully
launch at the end of summer 2021 [
]. Cardano claims to be “The Most Environmentally
Sustainable Blockchain Protocol“ [
] due to its pioneering, peer-reviewed Proof-of-Stake
implementation, whilst its capabilities for scalability, interoperability and sustainability
make it a contender for challenging Ethereum’s dominance .
Interestingly, the energy-efﬁcient Proof-of-Stake method has also attracted criticism
from environmentalists. PoS blockchains have been accused that they “grant power to
the already powerful” (we note that according to the PoS method, the more coins a node
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 12 of 19
operator holds, the more transactions they are allowed to verify with their coins being
held as collateral) and “that [this] is also a climate issue”, because “climate justice is social
]. At that point, it is deemed necessary to explore the broader context and
the alternatives available. Museums and galleries are continuously looking for ways to
raise funds [
]; if they were not fundraising with NFTs, they would be fundraising
through current means, i.e., our ﬁnancial system. The latter’s carbon footprint has yet
to be estimated to allow for a direct comparison. What is staggering though, is that
beyond the carbon footprint of banking operations itself, many of these institutions are
actively investing in fossil fuels with “35 of the world’s major banks [having] provided
$2.7 Trillion (£2Tn) to fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement on climate change
[in] 2015” [
]. Fossil fuels account for an astonishing “93% of total U.S. anthropogenic
], “driving global warming to dangerous levels” [
investment has been growing every year [
] instead of the opposite. In light of that, it is
challenging to argue that transacting through PoS blockchains could be more harmful to
the environment overall, in comparison to using current means [
]. Lastly, it is worth
noting that, beyond the PoS adoption, there are also other measures being employed for
reducing the carbon footprint of NFTs, albeit with lesser impact; such measures include the
so-called Layer 2 solutions (whereby the number of transactions that needs to be registered
on the blockchain is reduced to the minimum) and the use of renewable sources of energy
for mining [130,131].
6.3. Future Business Models for NFTs
NFTs are often described as an investment and beyond the scarcity value of owing
something very rare, what that investment entails is still unclear and therefore speculative.
It is also unclear what ownership and control GLAM institutions may surrender by selling
digital assets such as NFTs; how they may lose out on potential future revenue streams, or
other forms of value and inclusion that would only result from retaining full control and
ownership of their digital assets. With the current move of media into transmedia universes
(such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe [
]) and the emergence of blockchain-based
metaverses, we may see a future generation of payments (e.g., for loaning artworks) to
those who own digital assets as NFTs, when these are featured in digital spaces. Given
that we are now “immortalizing our myths (art + memes) onto an immutable public
ledger via NFTs” [
], in the shared digital experiences and universes that are now
emerging the digital ownership of media may become proﬁtable in these metaverses
and multiverses [
]. NFTs are already widely exhibited in popular blockchain-based
metaverses, such as CryptoVoxels.com and Decentraland.org, both of which are three-
dimensional virtual worlds that anyone can access via their Internet browser, roam into,
buy virtual land in, erect buildings and exhibit NFTs (as a different means of promotion)
that other users may buy directly from them within the metaverse [
]. There are already
countless art galleries in the aforementioned blockchain-based metaverses exhibiting NFT
art collections [
]. The built-in resale rights of NFTs, whereby the original creator
receives a percentage on every future resale, or the practice of minting multiple editions
and retaining some for the institution, as it was the case with the Whitworth Art Gallery
(which retailed 2 of the 52 editions of the NFT they minted [
]), could potentially guard
institutions against such risks. Nevertheless, this is a developing and speculative area;
therefore, risk-averse GLAM institutions may not wish to relinquish any form of ownership
or control until what is lost by selling NFTs based on collection items becomes clear. Indeed,
a proactive move by institutions may be to mint their digital collections as NFTs, but
carefully retain ownership themselves, thereby allowing their assets to be credited, whilst
ensuring the opportunity for future returns on NFTs in the digital metaverse, which, at
present, we can only begin to imagine.
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 13 of 19
NFTs, which can be described as cryptographically signed copies of digital or physical
assets that are publicly registered on a blockchain, have made the ownership and trading
of digital assets technologically possible. By bringing scarcity to the digital realm for the
ﬁrst time, crypto collectibles have increased the value of museum images and digitised
collections of cultural heritage institutions signiﬁcantly. The emergence of NFTs has been
considered by some as a potential “lifeline” for museums, which have been turning to
redundancies and deaccessions in order to survive ﬁnancially. The museum sector, however,
remains largely sceptical, as there are numerous risks involved, both for institutions (e.g.,
market implosion, or illicit exploitation of open content), as well as for buyers (e.g., key loss
and storage issues). Uncertainly over artwork copyright also lingers; however, it appears
to be accepted by common consensus that the trade of NFTs does not impact, or involve
in any way, the intellectual property rights of the work or its image, unless otherwise
speciﬁed. Although buyers do not expect to receive copyright when purchasing an NFT,
they do expect a copy of the asset; for that reason, OpenGLAM institutions, which have
already taken the decision to openly share their images for unrestricted reuse, have one
barrier less for experimenting with digital collectibles. The greatest criticism over NFTs is
the substantial energy consumption of the Ethereum blockchain, on which NFTs were ﬁrst
invented. Energy-efﬁcient NFTs already exist; however, the majority of NFTs are still being
traded on the Ethereum blockchain, whose energy consumption is substantial. Another
criticism, which has not yet been fully expressed, concerns what institutions may lose by
selling digital assets as NFTs, such as control, or revenue stream that is currently unknown,
e.g., loaning NFTs for exhibition in future platforms or metaverses. For institutions, as well
as potential buyers interested in exploring NFTs, it is advisable to explore the individual
risks involved and individually address them in advance. Additionally, NFTs present a new
medium that is still in its infancy and as such, it should be treated with caution, because
there are still critical deﬁciencies (e.g., permanent loss of crypto wallets) and important
unknowns (e.g., lack of a deﬁnitive copyright policy). However, the ﬁnancial potential of
crypto collectibles is substantial. Furthermore, for the research community, the dearth of
literature and lack of data provide an opportunity for academics to bridge the gap between
this new medium and the GLAM sector, exploring meaningful uses, as well as solutions and
answers to the risks and issues that have already been identiﬁed. There are opportunities for
future work for researchers working at the juncture of GLAM and digital technologies for
the following: to explore new business models for revenue generation; to navigate emerging
solutions for NFT deﬁciencies (or to explain unsurmountable deﬁciencies in ways that can
be usefully communicated across the GLAM sector); to provide recommendations on digital
preservation of NFT ownership and standards for making NFT data open and FAIR [
and to give clear guidance on the adoption of intellectual property laws and policies in
regard to NFTs, which will safeguard GLAM institutions and respect their collections
management procedures in the NFT space. Lastly, it is worth noting that blockchain
technology is considered the technical foundation of Web 3.0, i.e., the decentralised web.
When in 2006 Raj Jain presented his paper “Internet 3.0: Ten Problems with Current Internet
Architecture and Solutions for the Next Generation” at IEEE’s Military Communications
Conference, he was amongst the ﬁrst to highlight the need for the future of the internet,
“Internet 3.0”, to have “as little centralized control as possible” [
]. Fifteen years later,
as we are now seeing this future unfolding, NFTs could serve as the springboard and
an opportunity for the museum sector and the academic community alike, to explore,
understand and embrace the decentralised future of the Internet.
Conceptualization, F.V., A.B., M.T., C.S., A.H.-S. and K.C.; methodology,
F.V.; investigation, F.V.; writing—original draft preparation, F.V.; writing—review and editing, F.V.,
A.B., M.T., C.S., A.H.-S. and K.C.; supervision, A.B.; project administration, F.V. and A.B.; funding
acquisition, F.V. and A.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Appl. Sci. 2021,11, 9931 14 of 19
This research was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, grant number
Conﬂicts of Interest: The authors declare no conﬂict of interest.
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