Beeple’s $69 million NFT sale marks a potentially transformative moment for the art world.
The piece of digital art, “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” by digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, was sold for $69.3 million at Christie’s. That is a record amount of money paid for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – the new booming category of art.
Christie’s two-week online auction originally commenced bidding at $100 for the crypto-art piece. The $69.3 million price tag put on the piece is far more than market expectation.
A spokesperson for Christie’s declined to name the buyer. Initially it had appeared Tron’s founder Justin Sun gave the winning bid of $60.25 million. Later, it was clarified to say he was outbid at the last minute.
The eight-figure sale represents the latest height in a mounting frenzy for NFTs. It is the most expensive NFT ever sold, according to NonFungible.com.
NFTs are blockchain-based records that uniquely represent true ownership of a digital good – can be anything digital, including art, videos, music, GIFs, games, and text.
Beeple Crypto Art NFT Exhibit in Beijing
Different from other cryptocurrencies, NFTs are a special class of digital assets that cannot be exchanged with one another for equal value, or broken down into smaller values like most currencies.
No one NFT is the same as another – they are characterized by their unique qualities, as well as authenticity. NFTs contain highly trustworthy documentation of their history and origin. They often operate as a type of collectors item and cannot be duplicated.
Crypto, and specifically NFTs, can accelerate the trend of creators monetizing directly with their fans.
Brands like Nike and the NBA have already been riding on the NFT wave, generating NFT-based consumer goods and services. NBA Top Shot, one of the most popular NFT trading platforms, has sold nearly $270 million worth of trading card-like NBA video highlights.
Celebrities such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Grimes (Elon Musk’s girlfriend), electronic dance music star 3LAU, and YouTuber Logan Paul, have all offered up their own NFTs.
Later this month, Beeple’s crypto-art pieces, along with crypto-themed artworks by big-name NFT artists such as Robert Alice, will be part of an art exhibit in Beijing, China.
The physical exhibit of digital art will be put on by a Chinese crypto art marketplace called Block Create Art.
The show is set to run from March 26 to April 4, funded by Kusama Network, the Chinese Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, Digital Finance Group, and Winkrypto.