Auction house Christie’s has auctioned its first ever piece of NFT art, Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple, for a record $69 million. This has been by far the biggest sale to have ever occurred in the NFT space. Earlier today an alien CryptoPunk sold for $7.56 million, which already was a new record.
Just two hours before the end of the auction the top offer was 13.7 million dollars. However, in the hour the price skyrocketed. In the end the price settled at a world-shattering amount of $69.346.250. According to the auction house Beeple is now among the three most valuable living artists.
In May 2019 Jeff Koons auctioned his work Rabbit for $91.1 million, while David Hockney is in second place with his $90.3 million Portait of an Artist. Both were also auctioned by Christie’s. Mike Winkelmann, which would be the name Beeple has in his passport, is now listed ahead of artists like Gerhard Richter, Lucian Freud, Peter Doig, Damien Hirst and Jasper Johns.
However, Beeple is the only one who doesn’t create a physical artwork. His creations are digital. In the case of Everydays: The First 5000 Days it was a collage of daily drawings he had been making for 13 years. This collage was minted onto the blockchain through Makerplace.
What is NFT or crypto art?
Crypto art is a piece of digital art that is tokenized on the blockchain as a non-fungible token or NFT. That means that the owner of the token will always hold a proven and original copy of a piece of art. Just like physical art, there can be unlimited copies. But ultimately there can only be one Mona Lisa.
Mostly we value art for its aesthetics and cultural relevance, but above all on the ability to verify the creator and its proven rarity. With blockchain technology these last two features are part of the blockchain. Everybody can see and confirm who minted these original creations.
The concept of seeing a digital image as art, is one thing. However, for many people it will be a challenge to consider digital images as valuable. Consider this: The Mona Lisa is worth many millions of dollars. If I would paint the Mona Lisa in an exact copy, it would be worth only 50 dollars. Because we all know where the original version is.
Being able to verify the authenticity and rarity of a piece of art is crucial. In the end everything can be art. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a still image, moving image, video, music or a combination of everything.
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