If you plan to start collecting art, the old oil and canvas is always a safe choice. But if you want to be a bit trendy and perhaps have limited space for your collection to grow, consider the new thing: NFT – the registration of a digital work of art on a blockchain. It´s not less expensive but it´s safe, easy to store and those who have tried say that the ownership feeling is just the same. The record price so far is USD 69 million for one online collage of sketches.
NFT is short for non-fungible token and the ownership is registered on a blockchain. Any type of media is fine: art, video, music, gifs, games, text or memes. The non-fungible means it´s a unique object and irreplaceable. NFTs prove authenticity and ownership and is the basis for digital collectibles and virtual goods.
Specialists at auction house Christie´s say digital Art has been an established artistic medium since the advent of the personal computer.
“However, before the introduction of NFTs and blockchain technology it was impossible for even the most celebrated digital artists to claim their place in the art market. These mechanisms have paved the way for future of art of purely digital means, and Christie’s is proud to have been on the forefront of this pivotal movement.”
NFTs allow creators to monetize directly with artist’s content sold globally on decentralized marketplaces. And NFTs also have a feature that pays the artist a percentage every time the NFT is sold or changes owner.
So, when it comes to monetization, the NFT obviously works fine. Someone recently paid USD 390 000 for a 50 second video by online musician, singer, songwriter Grimes whose real name is Claire Elise Boucher and who is Elon Musk´s partner.
But that price tag is nothing compared to the USD 69 million paid at an online auction for a collage of sketches called — Everydays The First 5000 Days” by Mike Winkelmann, online called Beeple.
The online auction was up to USD 14 million but there was fierce bidding during the last two hours and the bidding finished at USD 69,346,250! Christie’s said it´s the third highest price for a living artist at auction. It was the first sale of a purely digital NFT based work of art by a major auction house and a new world record for any work of digital art. It was also the highest price for any winning bid placed online.
22 million visitors joined into christies.com for the final minutes of bidding with bidders from 11 countries.
Beeple himself said:
“Artists have been using hardware and software to create artwork and distribute it on the internet for the last 20+ years but there was never a real way to truly own and collect it. With NFT’s that has now changed. I believe we are witnessing the beginning of the next chapter in art history, digital art. This is work that has just as much craft, message, nuance and intent as anything made on a physical canvas and I am beyond honored and humbled to represent the digital art community in this historic moment.”
Noah Davis, Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s, added: “The last year has been an extraordinary period for the art market, and today’s result is a fitting tribute to the significant digital transformation that has taken place at Christie’s. And just as our business has evolved, so has the way in which art is being made.
I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to introduce the Christie’s audience to Beeple’s work, and I’m honored to welcome all the of the remarkable new clients, who not only bid with us, but reached out to share their brilliant ideas on how to further the crypto art movement. Beeple’s success is a testament to the exciting possibilities ahead for this nascent marketplace. Today’s result is a clarion call to all digital artists. Your work has value. Keep making it.”
Christie´s published the following summary of the auction:
- 55% Americas
- 27% Europe
- 18% Asia
- 6% Gen Z (1997-2012)
- 58% Millennial (1981-1996)
- 33% Gen X (1965-1980)
- 3% Baby Boomer (1946-1964)
But who paid up the USD 69 million has not been announced!