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Artist Uses Blockchain to Sell Artwork for a Record $800,000 

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Blockchain’s potential for improving the art space is gaining some traction as a recent art sale broke the record for digital art purchases.

Bidding War for Some “Crap”

Late last week, Mike Winkelmann, an artist who goes by the moniker “Beeple,” broke the record for blockchain-based digital art sales after scoring $800,000 at an online auction. The artist, who claims to design “crap,” has been celebrating via social media for the past day.

The artwork, titled “BEEPLE: EVERYDAYS 2020,” is a complete collection of pieces that the artist had made this year. He auctioned the pieces on the Nifty Gateway, a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Bidding for the collection started at $200,000 – already a record on its own. Two rival bidders – named “metakovan” and “illestrater” – reportedly held pole position for the pieces, and when all was said and done, the collection sold entirely for $777,777.77.

“illestrater” reportedly won the bid, blitzing his competitor by driving the bidding price from $80,000 to 4777,777.77.

As expected, the sale could only happen through NFTs. These tokens, which act as representations of physical assets that can’t be changed, have grown significantly in popularity recently. NFTs primarily started as a staple in the blockchain gaming space, with names like CryptoKitties and more employing them in their systems. However, the tokens have since become more synonymous with blockchain-based art too.

NFTs and Art

Last week, Anthony Pompliano, the founder of crypto investment firm Morgan Creek Digital Assets, took to Twitter to announce that his firm had helped an artist monetize his work. Also auctioned on Nifty Gateway, the artwork – titled “NYC Skyline” – was commissioned by Pompliano and his longtime partner, Jason Williams.

Details of NYC Skyline showed that it was created by Fewocious, a 17-year-old artist from New York. The piece sold for $21,350, with the auctioneers claiming that they would direct the funds to relief efforts against the coronavirus pandemic in New York.

Never one to miss an opportunity to hype blockchain, Pompliano claimed that the digital art market could already have a larger valuation than the traditional industry. While the claim could be disputed, it appears that blockchain-based art is beginning to make its way into the traditional space.

In October, Christie’s, one of New York’s top auction houses, announced that it would auction off a digital portrait showing the original Bitcoin code. The sale was a milestone, marking the first time a major auction house would interact with blockchain-based art.

The piece in question, known as “Block 21,” was created by ben Gentilli and the Robert Alice project. It is a part of a 40-piece series, and it contains 322,048 digits of the original Bitcoin code from Satoshi Nakamoto. The full series, titled “Portraits of the Mind,” shows the 12.3 million digits of Bitcoin code painted and engraved on different canvases.

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Jimmy has been following the development of blockchain for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.