Auction house Christie’s New York auctioned the Bitcoin artwork Block 21, which is one piece of Portraits of a Mind, for a little over 131 thousand dollars. According to Christie’s that’s seven times more than what they expected. The artwork is both a physical piece and a non-fungible token on the blockchain that changes based on the time of the day.
The auctioned artwork is based on the Bitcoin code, and that code is spread out over 40 different pieces. Twenty of those pieces have been sold to collectors and influential people in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. The 21st one is the one sold by Christie’s.
The identity of the buyer is not known, which is common practice for Christie’s. However, it’s likely that the NFT and the physical art piece will stay together. This would mean that observers would be able to estimate the location based on the day and night cycle. Second, we should be able to see whether the buyer is a crypto enthusiast. All transactions of the digital artwork will be stored on the blockchain, as is natural to the medium. For now, the artwork is still stored in the crypto wallet of Robert Alice.
Christie’s making crypto art legit
Crypto art is something that’s frowned upon by outsiders. Even people with deep understanding of blockchain technology seem to have difficulty grasping the idea of digital ownership over art. The fact that Christie’s auctioned a physical artwork combined with a non-fungible token adds to legitimacy to this upcoming artistic movement.
Even though Christie’s has lots of knowledge about contemporary art, the world of crypto art is still foreign to them. That’s probably why they worked together with Async Art. This online art house for programmable crypto art took care of the blockchain part of the auction. Since Async Art started at the beginning of this year, they have become a force to be reckoned with.
In September they sold Matt Kane’s programmable crypto art ‘Right Place & Right Time’ for a record amount of more than 101 thousand dollars. An investor called TokenAngels paid 262 ETH to get his hands on the crypto artwork that consists out of 24 hand-crafted layers. “This is the McLaren of programmable art”, Async Art tweeted in response to the sale.
Robert Hoogendoorn is a gamer and blockchain enthusiast. He got in touch with crypto in 2014, but the fire really lit in 2017. Professionally he’s a content optimization expert and worked for press agencies and video production companies, always with a focus on the video games & tech industry. He’s a communication consultant for blockchain start-ups and writes not only for Play to Earn, but also other dapp websites and tech magazines.