The New Jargon of NFT ART

01 Sep 2021

The New Jargon of NFT ART

The world of NFT art includes a new technology (blockchain), new artists (crypto artists), a new audience (crypto holders), and a new set of actors (NFT marketplaces, wallets, exchanges). So it is normal to have a new vocabulary attached to this new world.

For the first time in my art career, I’ve also witnessed the appearance of new valuation rules and collecting practices, which is very exciting but can also be intimidating for most people who want
to enter the space.

One rule to follow is to ask questions. There is no “dumb” question and even people who have been involved in the space for a long time or are so-called experts, are learning new things AND
new words everyday.

So enjoy this primer glossary for the fun of learning new words, for the pleasure of impressing your colleagues and friends, or even for the joy of starting exploring a new art movement.


Artist proofs somehow disappeared from the cryptoart space. The promise of automatic resale royalties (which are not enforced yet) somehow replaced the need for the retention of an artist
proof as a retirement fund.

Some projects, like Left Gallery, are trying to bring back APs by releasing unique NFTs as 1+1AP, where one NFT gets sent to the collector and one NFT gets into the artist's wallet at time
of purchase.

Blockchain Art

Art that exists or interacts with the blockchain as NFTs or not. An academic paper from 2019 claimed “There is no such thing as blockchain art”.

Crypto Art

Crypto Art is the most accepted term for art-related NFTs and used to describe the community of artists working in the space. It describes digital artworks that can be made “rare” and traceable
via unique tokens (NFTs). Jason Bailey from artnome coined the term back in 2018 as one word “cryptoart”.

Crypto Wallet

Your ‘gateway to Web3’: a wallet allows users to directly engage with the blockchain to make transactions. This is the replacement of a login and password for the blockchain-based platforms.


Being cool, awesome, unique (comes from the meme culture: a dank meme is an exceptionally rare or off image gone viral as a gif most of the time)

Decentralized Storage

Storage that allows creators to upload the digital files attached to their NFT through nodes of a peer-to-peer network. This is a preferred solution to centralized storage solutions, like Google or
Amazon Web Services, that can at any moment remove the work. Examples are IPFS and Arweave.


The verb comes from the music industry when an artist drops a new album. The word became popular with the streetwear industry (esp. the sneakers culture), and means that an artist or
creator is releasing a new (rare) limited edition at a certain time.

Edition #1

The blockchain community is obsessed with #1 and genesis [anything], which comes from the cult of the genesis block of bitcoin owned by Satoshi Nakamoto. This cult translates into higher
prices for edition #1 (and low edition numbers) vs. all other editions of limited-edition NFT series, such as Cryptopunks or Cryptokitties. A curated collection was even named for this reason. In relationship to the art market, we can see a close relationship with the notion of AP (see above).

ERC 721

Preferred token technical standard on Ethereum used for NFTs. There are others, such as modified ERC20 (Cryptopunks) or ERC1155, and probably many more to come.

ERC 20

Token format for crypto-currencies and fungible tokens.


An open-source, decentralized blockchain with smart contract functionality. Ethereum is the second largest blockchain besides Bitcoin.

Ethereum 2.0 or ETH2

Upgrade to the existing Ethereum blockchain (also Ethereum 1.0), which aims to increase the speed, efficiency, and scalability of the Ethereum network, enabling it to address the bottlenecks
and increase the number of transactions. The pseudo names for Ethereum 2.0 are Eth2 or Serenity.

Gas fees

These are the transaction fees paid to validate any transaction on the blockchain, includingcreating (or minting) an NFT for crypto artists. Any interaction with the blockchain incurs gas
fees for proof-of-work blockchains, such as Ethereum. The amount of the gas fees fluctuate based on the number of transactions queued and can vary from a few dollars to a few hundreds,
making it difficult for artists to mint their work and give the money upfront. Some projects like Mintfund have been helping artists with gas fees to help creators get started (see also lazy
minting below).

Lazy Minting

See the definition of minting below. Lazy minting allows you to create a digital work on some NFT marketplaces, like Opensea, without uploading it to the blockchain. In this case, the work is
saved locally on the marketplace servers. The work becomes an actual NFT when it is purchased. This allows creators to list digital artworks on marketplaces without paying the gas
fees associated with the minting. Gas fees are paid later when the work is purchased by a collector. It is a way to delay upfront payment of gas fees.


When an artist mints an NFT, it means that their digital art is uploaded to the blockchain. It comes from the time when metal coins were minted and added into circulation. The term has
been reappropriated by the cryptocurrency industry for tokens, including non fungible tokens (NFTs). For crypto art, "minting an NFT" is a synonym for "creating an NFT".

NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens)

A non fungible token is defined in opposition to fungible tokens that are all interchangeable, such as currencies or stocks. NFTs are a unique identifier that are recorded on the blockchain with the history of transactions and owners and point to a digital file stored in a decentralized network. It acts as a digital certificate of authenticity. 


Another name for blockchain art or crypto art. History will tell which term will win.

NFT Marketplaces

Blockchain-based marketplaces displaying and trading NFTs. Open platform examples are Opensea, Zora and Rarible. Invitation-only platforms include SuperRare, Knownorigin, Nifty


Stands for Original Gangsta, means seasoned professional in the field. In the case of cryptoart, it means people who have deep knowledge about the ecosystem, and have been involved since 2018 or before. For example, Jason Bailey is an OG. Sarah Zucker and Josie Bellini are OG artists. Rare Pepe is one of the OG cryptoart projects.

Open Editions

Editions of NFTs in which quantity is defined by variables not configured by the collector. E.g, an NFT drop limited to 30 minutes may result in 50 or 300 generated editions (subject to public

Private Key

An asset of cryptography that allows users to access funds from their wallets at a particular address. This key is private to its owner and cannot be recovered by anyone else.

Proof of Work (PoW)

Current way of validating transactions on Ethereum, Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies, where miners are rewarded for validating a transaction. Please note that the validators are chosen based on their computer power and that all transactions need to be validated, making it a very bad solution from an ecological standpoint.

Proof of Stake (PoS)

An alternative to Proof of Work that only validates random transactions instead of all. This is currently being implemented to be released for ETH2 to scale transactions and to be more eco-friendly. In this case, validators would be randomly picked (much less often than miners and have to stake ETH to validate a transaction. Validators are penalized by losing their stake if they validate an illicit transaction.

Public Key

A 42-character key that identifies your crypto wallet address on the blockchain. This key shows all of your activities and crypto assets for reasons of transparency, however it does not by any
means give public access to those funds.

Seed Phrase

The seed phrase is a backup of your private key. It is presented as a list of 12 words unique to your wallet, which you will need to restore or open your crypto wallet on new devices.

Smart Contract

The rules that govern an NFT are stored in code on the blockchain in a “smart contract”, that contains all details about ownership and characteristics of the NFT.


Someone holding a lot of crypto-currency with the power to influence the market. This is why NFTs using the theme of a whale (the animal) are so popular. The $WHALE project refers to the
person who started it (anonymously because he is a Whale in the market). If this got you intrigued, check out where I list a lot of resources to go further as a collector. And if you’d like to see more memes, follow


Fanny Lakoubay

Fanny is a French-born, New-York-City-based digital art advisor specialized in NFTs with 14 years of experience in art, technology and finance. As a private advisor, she currently supports institutional, corporate, and HNWI clients, who want to enter or better navigate the NFT space, and is affiliated with Coinfund as a communication advisor. She is also involved in two civic tech impact projects: RadicalxChange Foundation and ETHLocal. Prior to this, she took part in some of the pioneering NFT projects (MoCDA, New Art Academy, The Contemporary And Digital Art Fair, Editional App, Snark art) and worked with larger organizations (Christie’s Auction House, Artnet Online Art Marketplace, Societe Generale Bank). She holds an MBA from HEC Paris business school and a BA in Art History, and fluently speaks French, English and German.
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Join us on our short course NFTs in Context 2.0 commencing April 28.