The potential of blockchain technology for improving the art space has gained some traction as the record for digital art purchases was broken by a recent art sale. An artist recognized by the title ‘Beeple’, Mike Winkelmann, scored $800,000 late last week in an auction, which broke the record for digital art sales made via the blockchain. Claiming to design ‘crap’, the artist has been celebrating the sale on social media for some time. The artwork was a full collection of pieces that were made by the artist this year and was given the title ‘BEEPLE EVERYDAYS 2020’. The pieces were auctioned on the Nifty Gateway, which is a marketplace designed for non-fungible tokens (NFT).
The bidding had begun at $200,000 for the collection, which in itself was quite a record. Pole position for the collection was held by two rival bidders named ‘illestrater’ and ‘metakovan’ and at the end of the day, the entire collection was sold for a whopping $777,777.77. According to reports, the former bidder won and had blitzed his rival by driving up the bidding price from $80,000 to its final price. As expected, the sale could only be made in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFT). These tokens have recently enjoy significant popularity and essentially represent physical assets that cannot be changed.
NFTs had primarily been introduced as a staple in the blockchain gaming industry, with a number of companies using them in their systems, such as CryptoKitties. Nonetheless, these NFTs have also become synonymous with blockchain-based art since then. Last week, founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets, a crypto investment firm, Anthony Pompliano announced on Twitter that his company had assisted an artist in monetizing his work. The artwork had also been sold on Nifty Gateway and was named ‘NYC Skyline’. It had been commission by the co-founder and Jason Williams, his longtime partner.
The details of the artwork showed that a 17 year-old named Fewocious from New York had created it. It had been sold for a price of $21,350 and the auctioneers had claimed that the funds would be directed towards relief efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of New York. Pompliano didn’t miss the opportunity to hype about blockchain and stated that the valuation of the digital art market could actually be larger than the traditional one. Even though it is possible to dispute the claim, it appears the blockchain-based art is making its way into the traditional industry.
One of the top auction houses in New York, Christie’s, announced in October that a digital portrait would be auctioned off, which shows the original Bitcoin code. This was a major milestone, as it was the first time that there would be an interaction between an auction house and blockchain-based art. The piece was created by the Robert Alice Project and Ben Gentilli and was called ‘Block 21’. This is a 40-piece series and this piece includes 322,048 digits of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original Bitcoin code. The entire series, on the other hand, includes 12.3 million digits of the code.