Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) seem to be the new gold rush in the cryptocurrency world today as digital artists continue to cash out from their works.
One such digital artist is Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, who just sold his purely digital work called “Everydays – The First Five Thousand Days Artwork” for $69.3 million.
Unique Digital Collage Dubbed ‘Everydays’
The digital art which was auctioned in the prominent art auctioning house Christie’s in a virtual session, has seen the nascent space of NFTs explode, according to Noah Davis, a postwar and contemporary art specialist at Christie’s.
The record sale makes Christie’s the first art auctioning company that sold a purely digital artwork without any physical components.
In a tweet which has since established the art house as a leader in the digital art space, Christie’s said the digital piece by Beeple went for a whopping $69,346,250, making him one of a possible three most valuable living artist after David Hockney’s – Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) and Jeff Koons’ Rabbit.
.@beeple 's 'The First 5000 Days', the 1st purely digital NFT based artwork offered by a major auction house has sold for $69,346,250, positioning him among the top three most valuable living artists. Major Thanks to @beeple + @makersplaceco. More details to be released shortly
— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) March 11, 2021
Davis feels the $69.3 million sales of the digital artwork validates NFT as the next frontier for the art world. Davis spoke Thursday at a virtual talk show on Power Lunch, a program organized by American media house CNBC after the close of sales. According to him, Beeple is a rich man and has always been rich in spirit.
NFTs have become something of an art collector’s next favorite thing. In a recent interview for an art news outlet, Beeple credited the pandemic for its role in the rise of cryptocurrencies and the subsequent rise of blockchain-based assets. With the rise in interests in crypto-assets, investors are now turning their attention into subsectors like the NFT market. He considers this as a blessing, as the lockdowns have made it harder to sell artworks through traditional means.
Davis told CNBC that his record-breaking artwork’s procurement would see their respective buyers get long strings of numbers and letters. According to him, the artwork is just a code placed on the Ethereum blockchain. It is a block in the Ethereum chain that will be placed in their Ethereum wallet.
NFTs Gaining Steam
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs as they are popularly called now, are digital collectibles cryptographically secured in the blockchain network. They are called non-fungible because they cannot be broken into smaller parts, making them unique.
NFTs growth has seen the emerging art space generate a record $375 million in sales in a short period. Beeple himself attests to the fast-growth of NFTs. According to the digital artist, he only became interested in presenting his artworks in October 2020. But the wide adoption it is receiving is mind-boggling.
Beeple’s recent success is just one of many ways NFTs have made an entrance into the digital economy. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first-ever published tweet is listed for $2.5 million on NFT marketplace Valuables. LeBron James slam-dunk highlight went for $200,000 on digital collectibles website NBA Top Shot. The list grows by the day.
just setting up my twttr
— jack (@jack) March 21, 2006
Although it’s hard to see any foreseeable limit for the sector, some critics like Litecoin’s founder Charlie Lee believe the NFT mania will not last that long, and the industry will suffer a sharp decline soon enough.