Christie’s says it has auctioned a digital collage by an artist named Beeple for nearly $ 70 million, in an unprecedented sale of a digital artwork that fetched more money than the physical works of many more well-known artists.
The piece, titled “Every Day: The First 5,000 Days,” sold for $ 69.4 million at an online auction, “ranking it among the top three most valuable living artists,” Christie’s said via Twitter on Thursday.
Christie’s said it also marks the first time a major auction house has offered a digital-only artwork with a non-fungible token as a guarantee of its authenticity, as well as the first time a cryptocurrency has been used to pay for an artwork at a store. auction.
Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, responded to the sale result with an expletive on Twitter.
“Artists have been using hardware and software to create works of art and distribute them on the Internet for the past 20 years, but there was never a real way to own and collect them,” Beeple said in a statement issued by Christie’s. “With NFT that has now changed. I think we are witnessing the beginning of the next chapter in art history, digital art. “
Christie’s did not identify the purchaser of the artwork, which consists of 5,000 linked individual digital images that Beeple created, one each day, since May 2007.
.@beeple ‘The First 5000 Days’, the first purely digital NFT-based artwork offered by a major auction house has sold for $ 69,346,250, placing it among the top three most valuable living artists. Greater thanks to @beeple + @makersplaceco. More details will be released soon
– Christie’s (@ChristiesInc) March 11, 2021
Non-fungible tokens, known as NFTs, are electronic identifiers that confirm that a digital collectible is real by recording the details in a digital ledger known as a blockchain. Tokens have taken the online collecting world by storm recently, a by-product of the cryptocurrency boom. They are used to prove that an item is unique and aim to solve a fundamental problem for digital collectibles: how to claim ownership of something that can be easily and infinitely duplicated.
Christie’s said the artwork fetched the highest price in an online-only auction and the highest price for any winning bid made online.
Some 22 million people tuned in to Christie’s website for the final moments of the bidding, with bidders from 11 countries participating.
Others have also joined the NFT craze. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey posted his first tweet, “just setting up my twttr,” for an online auction as an NFT, with bids reaching $ 2.5 million, and promised to donate the proceeds to charity. Rock band Kings of Leon is offering a version of their latest album with the chips that come with extras. A blockchain company bought a work by British artist Banksy, burned it, and then put a digital version up for sale via a non-fungible token. The National Basketball Association is partnering in a venture to sell virtual sports cards backed by the tokens. And the Associated Press offers digital artwork of NFT, a rendering of the US presidential election electoral college map viewed from space.