Can JPEGs Be NFTs?

Last Updated November 2, 2021
Luci Goodman
Luci Goodman

A JPEG can be an NFT. Many artists have minted their own NFTs based on their personal digital art, whether it be in JPG, PNG, GIF, or another file format. In fact, an NFT doesn’t necessarily have to be a typical file, but code or anything else that is considered valuable. For instance, Jack Dorsey sold his first Tweet for $2.9 million.

While many in the art world are still a bit skeptical of the new technology (much like investors were initially leery of bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general), early adopters have found that they can make decent income selling crypto art. Not only can they earn when their work is sold the first time, but they can continually earn royalties from all subsequent sales, allowing them to build passive income over time. 

How to Sell JPEGs as NFTs

To sell your JPEGs as NFTs, there are a few things you will need to do:

Step 1: The first thing you should do is research similar NFTs that have been sold by artists or photographers of your same notoriety to determine how much you should charge for your work. How did they market the image and where did it sell? How did they fill out the description for their item? What additional utility (if any) was attached to it?

Step 2: Mint your JPEG into an NFT. One of the easiest ways to get started making your own NFTs is through an NFT marketplace such as OpenSea or Rarible. You will typically need to pay gas fees in ETH to the Ethereum blockchain when minting NFTs, but OpenSea allows “lazy minting” which means you won’t have to pay the fees until your image is sold. Make sure to add a royalty percentage so that you can earn off of the resale of your work. 

Step 3: Promote your NFT on social media. While NFTs are currently trending, most NFT platforms won’t showcase your work, especially as thousands of new artists and musicals are minting new works of art on a daily basis. You will need to be responsible for your own marketing. 

Step 4: Once your NFT sells, make sure to finalize the transaction with your MetaMask account and pay the necessary fees. 

Examples of JPEGs and PNGs Sold as NFTs

There have been several non-fungible tokens sold as NFTs over the last few years. Some of the more popular digital assets include the following: 

  • In March 2021, Mike Winkelmann (better known as Beeple) famously sold his “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” NFT for the equivalent sales price of $69 million USD at the Christie’s auction house. Beeple has been creating digital artwork on a daily basis since May 2007 and the NFT sold (a JPEG with the dimensions of 21,069 by 21,069 pixels) was a compilation of his work over the first 5000 days. 
  • CryptoPunks are known for being one of the first projects to hit the NFT market and are often collected and traded like real-world baseball cards. The collection is made up of 10,000 PNGs. Each is a completely unique pixelated character that was randomly generated from limited variations. While each image in the collection is valuable due to the collection’s influence in the world of NFT art, certain Punks have rarities that make them skyrocket in value. 
  • Buddyart00 created a JPEG NFT called Unlimited Possibilities. The image depicts a woman in a historical dress wearing a VR headset. The image was sold on March 9, 2021 for 2 ETH. 
  • Those who invested in the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 PNG NFTs, have been able to receive additional drops, such as the Bored Ape Kennel Club and the Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs. The collection has had some additional perks, such as a private Discord with celebrity members of the club, as well as the opportunity to write on a private board called “The Bathroom.”
  • You can purchase one-of-a-kind JPG art created by AI from the collection Eponym by ART AI. The collection has a broad range of styles that will appeal to many different people. 

How to Find Out the File Type of an NFT

To find out the file type of any NFT, complete the following steps:

Step 1: Visit OpenSea and search for the NFT you are curious about. 

Step 2: Right-click on the image and choose the “Save image as” option. 

Step 3: You should be able to see the file type in the save screen. 

Is the JPEG a Part of the NFT?

While NFTs are generally recognized by the images connected to them, the actual image, GIF, or video isn’t a part of the metadata. This is due to the added file size of the image. Instead, the image is stored on the IPFS (InterPlanetary File System), a Peer-to-Peer file system. 

Technically, this means that the image could (though unlikely) be altered or lost if something were to happen to the IPFS. 

Anonymice and the Future of NFTs on the Blockchain

As the technology of NFTs continues to develop, new utilities and methods are being integrated into how they will run. One recent project, Anonymice, has found a way to upload the actual image file as part of the NFT, making it the first project that is completely controlled on the blockchain. 

In time, more projects will follow suit, especially as the technology becomes more mainstream and sustainable. With the metaverse right around the corner, NFTs will gain new purpose and utility and will likely contain more metadata than in the past. 

NFTs and JPEG Photography

Since photography has gone digital, there has been a considerable amount of theft. It is easy to just download or screenshot an image regardless of the copyright status. NFTs can help protect both the photographer and those who purchase prints by verifying the authenticity of the item. 

Not only will the verification through the blockchain add value, but creating spaces for true fans (in the same way the makers of the BAYC created space for their collectors) will make owning a “fake” undesirable (and looked down upon) over time. If you truly want to be a part of the club, you will need to make a proper investment.

Photographers will also have the opportunity to mint NFT limited editions of certain images in the same way as they would make prints in the real world. This way, they can still market to multiple collectors while maintaining rarity and the overall value of their art.