I spent one full day pondering before concluding the best answer is “Neither”. An NFT is essentially an autograph. An Art NFT has the artist’s artwork linked to the token to magnify the value proposition of the autograph.
Autograph is more than an analogy to the handwritten original. Crypto in its core is made up of signatures. Every time you spend Bitcoin, Ether, or any other crypto token, you sign off the transaction.
When you mint an NFT, you actually sign two things;
- The creation of your token(s)
- A message assigned to your token(s)
In the case of digital art, the message includes a pointer to the artwork, if not the art itself. The artist effectively autographs a copy of his work. The medium, a unique crypto token, is what makes it so strong.
- NFTs never expire (forever in mint condition)
- Scarcity guaranteed*
- Can be traded with anyone, anywhere on a DEX**
* Nothing can stop an artist from diluting his own work by minting ever-more NFTs. However, if you own an early edition or otherwise special NFT, you can always prove this regardless of what the artist does next.
** In a decentralized manner Ethereum NFTs can be traded for ETH, as can Bitcoin NFTs be traded for BTC. Here’s the first ever NFT, OLGA, for sale on a Bitcoin “dispenser” contract.
NFTs Representing Ownership
An NFT description can also carry with it a promise, e.g. ownership belongs to the holder of this token. Even if done correctly in a legal sense, I’m not so sure it can be enforced by authorities though. I just wanted to mention this possibility. In most cases I think it’s wise to make it simple – autographed copy of artwork!