Wikipedia Editors Vote Against Classifying NFTs as Art, Shelve Issue Citing ‘Lack of Reliable Information’


A group of Wikipedia editors have voted against categorising non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as works of art. Due to lack of reliable information, the issue has been shelved to be discussed again later. Towards the end of December last year, a debate sparked off on the online encyclopaedia around the subject of “the most expensive art sales by living artists.” Now since Wikipedia is a free, user-generated information website which allows anyone to edit it, the array of its editors is large.

“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. NFTs have their own list, which should be linked in the article, and entries generally shouldn’t be listed in both,” editor “jonas” wrote on the survey page.

NFTs are digital representations of artworks, songs, sports moments, and video games among other things that are saved on the blockchain network.

In October 2021, rapper Snoop Dogg purchased a Fidenza digital artwork number 938 called “God Mode” which is considered as the first most expensive NFT in the history of the industry, priced at $8.5 million (roughly Rs. 63 crore).

On Wikipedia, the discussion among editors circled around a confusion — whether an NFT represented the art or if it was simply a token that was separate to the underlying art.

Out of the six editors who were locking horns, five voted against classifying NFTs as artworks.

For the time being, a consensus was made on Jan. 12 to remove content like sales of Beeple’s $69 million (roughly Rs. 510 crore) NFT from the top art sales list and re-open the discussion at a later date.

Since anybody can write on Wikipedia, perhaps members of the NFT community could weigh in and decide a conclusion to this classification debate.

In the third quarter of 2021, NFT sales volume surged to $10.7 billion (roughly Rs. 79,820 crore), up by over eightfold from the previous quarter, according to data from market tracker DappRadar.

Surging sales and hefty prices on NFTs have baffled many but the multi-fold growth shows little or no depreciation whatsoever.

Discussions around its classification are however, happening on larger levels as well.

South Korean finance minister Homg Nam-ki recently said that NFTs should not be categorised as virtual assets.

Meanwhile, several artists are joining the NFT wagon in order to reveal their art to international audiences and also be able to make money from their work.


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