How Dai Is Becoming the Currency of the NFT Digital Art and Culture Market

September 23, 2020

More and more artists have discovered the newest palette of tools waiting for them at the intersection of art and blockchain technology. Now, anyone can turn a piece of art into a one-of-a-kind digital asset called a non-fungible token (NFT). NFTs allow artists to cryptographically prove ownership of their work, as well as program, sell, transfer, and trade their art almost frictionlessly on the open market. What’s more, in blockchain marketplaces, art lovers purchase digital art with—you probably guessed it—digital cash. In fact, Dai has become a popular cryptocurrency in the digital art world because it’s a stable store of value that’s easily transferred worldwide. 

“The Dai stablecoin, which is already used to purchase NFTs in other sectors, including video gaming, is a perfect match for artists, museums, and art-auction platforms accepting cryptocurrency payments,” said Rune Christensen, CEO of the Maker Foundation and co-founder of MakerDAO. “The trustless, transparent, and secure nature of Dai gives artists and patrons from across the globe space to focus on the art, rather than the logistical realities of moving money from account to account.” 

Discover below how platforms and artists are using NFT technology and Dai integration to reimagine the art market, making it not only more accessible but more innovative than ever before.


Foundation is a crypto-powered platform and marketplace for buying and selling unique and limited-edition goods, with prices set by supply and demand. The platform offers a range of features that enable artists to monetize their work, including token pre-sales to fund new series and high and low series price-setting to encourage competition between early buyers. Additionally, artists have individual smart contracts, which means specific conditions are embedded in the code. For example, an artist can receive not only the initial sale price of an NFT, but also earn an automatic commission on subsequent trades of that NFT.

“Foundation wants to define the concept of a cultural stock exchange. We love how Dai is open, transparent, and fair—values that deeply align with the cultural space.”

—Kayvon Tehranian, founder of Foundation

Foundation supports both Dai and credit card payments, and even offers an introduction to Dai titled, “Dai Is Culture’s Currency.”

"It's exciting to work with Foundation and other platforms that support artists and creators with decentralized tools, such as Dai, that help enhance their ability to connect to and serve their audiences in a more personal and seamless manner.”

—Jen Senhaji, Business Development Associate, Maker Foundation
NFTs from all  types of artists sell for digital currency on Foundation.
Three artists currently featured on the Foundation home page. (Image courtesy of Foundation.)


OpenSea is one of the largest marketplaces for digital art and collectibles of all kinds. An aggregator of popular collections, the platform offers a range of NFTs— everything from Ethereum Name Service (ENS) Domains and Decentraland Decentraland plots to F1 Delta Time Drivers and Axie Infinity’s Axies (digital pets). While not all of the platforms behind the collections have integrated Dai, OpenSea has, making the digital items they sell more accessible to all. 

“Dai is a critical component of the DeFi and NFT ecosystem. We've found that using Dai is particularly useful when pricing high-value assets, such as digital art and physical assets, where fluctuations in the price of other currencies, such as ETH, can have a bigger impact. We're super excited about enabling more activity in Dai!”

—Devin Finzer, Co-founder of OpenSea
OpenSea marketplace features a huge range of NFTs and accepts Dai as payment for digital art.
OpenSea lists a huge range of NFTs, including these two F1 Delta Time Drivers. (Image courtesy of OpenSea.)

OpenSea also powers other NFT trading platforms, such as the marketplace in Somnium Space, a virtual-reality world with a blockchain-powered economy. That means anyone in the Somnium community can buy parcels with Dai and accept the stablecoin in the marketplace without worrying about fluctuations in crypto prices. 

Somnium’s marketplace for digital art and other NFTs accepts Dai as payment.
Somnium’s integrated marketplace for digital art and other NFTs is powered by OpenSea.

“Our vision is a full digital life inside VR. In the crypto world, the volatility of tokens, art, and other digital assets has both an upside and a downside. It is, therefore, great that the community can buy and sell Somnium Space parcels and art in Dai, which gives them more control over their assets. For example, you can buy a parcel for 1,000 Dai, build a music club, and two weeks later sell 10 lifetime-access tickets for 100 Dai each. You’re break-even without dealing with the price swings of a volatile currency, such as Ethereum.”

—Vita Pur, COO of Somnium Space

Async allows users to create, sell, buy, collect, and trade artwork, but with a very cool twist: The art is programmable! Artists can create and tokenize a master work, as well as “layers” that sit on top of it and behave according to code. Collectors can buy one or more layers and change them within the scope of the artist’s specified characteristics. In other words, buyers can influence the look of the master as a group.. Take a look at the following Async video that explains how the Mona Lisa’s expression might be programmed to change according to the price of ETH:

On September 5, the platform opened its first art auction for Dai with “Art Is the Currency of the Infinite,” a work by Latin-American artist Carlos Marcial, enthusiastic Dai user and supporter of MakerDAO.

“Carlos Marcial was a natural first pick due to his personal background—he uses Dai and other stablecoins and has been for years—as well as his ability to make artwork that doubles as social commentary on global currency.”

— Lisa Liang, Co-founder and CMO of Async Art 
Carlos Marcial’s programmable art and other NFTs are sold for digital currency on Async.
 Marcial’s “Art Is the Currency of the Infinite” was created using 3D software and apps.

Olive Allen

Olive Allen is a New York-based artist whose work explores ideas of cultural shifts. Olive has created both one-off abstracts and limited-edition series in the past. One of her latest projects, however, The UnBearables, is very different. Described as “gamified artwork,” it pushes the boundaries of digital art even further. The series consists of a limited run of 265 NFTs, each of which represents one of seven different digital images that depict the current coronavirus-induced turmoil as “horrifically cute” collectible bears. 

The original run of The UnBearables sold on Nifty Gateway,, a popular NFT trading platform that recently drew headlines for a record $55,555 digital art auction sale.

When The UnBearables went on sale, they were allocated at random; therefore, buyers did not know which bear NFT they would receive. All the NFTs are collectible, but some are more rare and valuable than others. It’s an unusual game of chance that ends when one buyer collects all seven bears. 

Olive Allen’s collectible NFT bears are gamified and sold on the digital art market for Dai currency.
Olive’s original collectible bears were described as “gamified artwork.” 

The UnBearables was so popular that Olive created a special series of 10 NFTs, called “Summer Bears.” One NFT was given away in a promotional competition; the rest are for sale on OpenSea, exclusively for Dai. In this series, the bears are depicted enjoying a summer activity, until the animated frame reveals a more mundane existence. It’s a play on dream versus reality—their summer fun stolen by COVID-19.

 The digital art market loves Olive Allen’s “Cruel Summer Bears,” sold exclusively for Dai currency.
Olive’s “Cruel Summer Bears” are being sold exclusively for Dai.

Museum of Contemporary Digital Art

The Museum of Contemporary Digital Art (MoCDA) is an online gallery that showcases digital art in its native medium and focuses on curation, education, and improving access to artists. It does so through regular events—discussions and presentations on topics ranging from the gamification of art to women in blockchain. For example, the video below is one of many panel discussions produced by the organization.

Panel conversation on the Gamification of Art, CADAF Online 2020

The MoCDA team works with major art and blockchain organizations, including the Tate, SuperRare, and the Blockchain Game Alliance, to bring exhibitions together.. The museum accepts donations of ETH and Dai, as well as cash via credit card and PayPal.

“With the advent of cryptocurrencies and the increased interest around digital art collecting, we witnessed a shift towards collectors wanting to diversify their portfolio without compromising on the way most are used to acquiring new assets. With the NFT market booming and the constant highs and lows of the crypto market, we see Dai as a breakthrough solution for the art market, providing everyone with a fast and accessible way to access the crypto art market while having an enjoyable and safe experience throughout.”

—Serena Tabacchi, CEO of MoCDA
The MoCDA’s most recent NFT digital art exhibition, “Digital Bodies,” is popular in the market.
MoCDA’s most recent exhibition is titled “Digital Bodies.”

Dai: The Currency of Art And More 

The Digital Art world has proven to be an enthusiastic adopter of Dai, making it an extremely popular currency for this exciting movement. Offering art in the form of NFTs on the blockchain enables digital artists to sell and trade work on a platform that’s secure and guarantees traceability. There’s never any doubt about the provenance or ownership of an image, since successful forgery is practically impossible. As a result of these benefits, NFTs as a whole have surpassed $100 million in all-time sales..

As NFTs grow in popularity and as Dai adoption continues to increase, the mutually beneficial synergy that exists between the tokens will spur even more growth.  

Every day, people worldwide derive value from the Dai stablecoin and, by extension, the Maker ecosystem. Learn more about MakerDAO and the Dai stablecoin today. 

September 23, 2020