Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank), together with the non-profit Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS.PH), recently held a two-part webinar series centered around digital art in the age of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to help artists, buyers, and collectors of digital art gain a better understanding of how these tokens work and how they can take part in the NFT art economy.
NFT expert Migui Planas, a member of UnionBank’s Digital Asset Markets Unit (DAMU), was the main speaker, sharing valuable bits of knowledge in NFT and his experiences as an NFT art enthusiast. During the panel discussion, he was joined by colleagues Jonathan Roque, Product Manager at the Bank’s Blockchain Center of Excellence (BCOE); Miguel Elbinias, Liquidity Trader at DAMU; and Cathy Casas, Head of Blockchain and API Business Group.
The conversation revolved around topics relevant to NFT artists — the impact of NFT on the ownership and sale of digital art, how to mint a piece of artwork as an NFT, how to determine the value of their art, and the marketplaces where they can sell their art.
On day 2 of the webinar, the discussion focused on learnings shared by NFT art buyers and collectors — how they can resell the NFT artwork that they own, how they can ensure a smooth transfer of ownership during purchase, and the various marketplaces where collectors can purchase NFT art.
Artists Jose Antonio Reyes and Ian Victoriano, among those who joined the well-attended webinars, expressed appreciation to the organizers for helping them gain a better understanding of NFTs and blockchain in general, and more importantly, for enabling them to better protect their ownership of their art while expanding their horizons when it comes to sharing them.
“It was very helpful for me as an artist. Learning about an avenue where I can focus on myself as an artist, while being exposed to a global market and seamless royalties is very meaningful. It’s the future, and I’m grateful we’re being taught how to adapt,” Reyes said.
“The talks helped simplify NFT concepts for me. Made me want to explore the possibility of using NFTs to help advance artists’ rights,” Victoriano said.
While still considered highly volatile, the NFT art market has proven to be a very lucrative space, with some artworks selling for thousands and even millions of dollars. In the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report which was released in October last year, it was revealed that NFT art sales in 2021 for the said month reached $3.5 billion in value.
NFTs have forever changed the game for artists and collectors, and many now see them as a staple in digital art moving forward. Being the first Bank in the country to fully embrace NFTs, UnionBank believes that there are more potential use cases for them that are yet to be discovered, which is why the Bank sees the value of knowledge sharing to assist more Filipinos understand the said technology better.
Through forums like this, UnionBank and CANVAS.PH wish that more stakeholders will be encouraged to join similar discussions to educate more people about NFTs and take advantage of the opportunities available in this growing market. UnionBank also hopes to have more banks’ participation in the space to help facilitate smoother transactions, given the important role of cryptocurrency in the sale of NFT art.
“We’re really happy to do this as this reinforces the Bank’s ‘Tech-Up Pilipinas’ advocacy,” said Casas. “We, at the Blockchain Center of Excellence, want to share our knowledge of blockchain technology, as the team is very much open to imparting what we know and also open to improving that learning by involving other industries in this discussion.”
The webinar is just one of the initiatives of partners UnionBank and CANVAS.PH, to support artists and collectors navigate the emerging NFT art space, while boosting CANVAS.PH’s advocacy of promoting children’s literacy, exploring national identity, and deepening public appreciation for Philippine art, culture, and the environment.