Beeple Collage breaks digital art record with $ 69.3 million sale

A collage by contemporary artist Beeple, consisting of a single image file, sold for $ 69.3 million on Thursday, according to auction house Christie’s, the latest and most extreme example of appreciation rapid market for digital artwork known as non-fungible tokens.

The sale was the first of its kind by Christie’s, highlighting the mind-blowing ratings of NFTs, which are single files encrypted on the blockchain to ensure authenticity.

Beeple’s collage is titled “Everyday: The First 5000 Days”, a single jpeg file made up of digital sketches taken every day for over 13 years. The auctions started on February 25 at just $ 100.

The artist, whose first name is Mike Winkelmann, summed up his reaction to the sale with a tweet: “Holy shit.”

NFTs have exploded in popularity among sports memorabilia collectors and in the cryptocurrency community those last weeks. A 12-second encrypted clip of basketball star LeBron James recently sold on an aftermarket for $ 208,000, in a new venture between the National Basketball Association and mainstream blockchain company Dapper Labs.

The sale of Christie’s illustrates the stratospheric potential of NFTs. Noah Davis, specialist in post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s in New York, said the auction house “had never offered a new media artwork of this scale or importance before.”

The Beeple sale price places him among the top three most valuable living artists, according to Christie’s. It also eclipses the prices paid for the works of other renowned visual artists, such as impressionist painter Edvard Munch, including “Girls on the Bridge” sold for $ 54 million in 2016 by Sotheby’s.

The sale is also a testament to the efforts of auction houses to expand their offering beyond Old Masters and pop artists to cultivate a new generation of collectors, especially millennials.

Last spring, Sotheby’s set a world record for sneakers at auction when a pair worn by basketball legend Michael Jordan sold for $ 560,000. In September, the New York house also presented its first collection of hip-hop memories, including love letters written by the late rapper Tupac Shakur.

Christie’s said the emergence of NFTs was a breakthrough in digital art, a tradition established in the 1960s but whose ease of duplication “made it almost impossible to attribute provenance and value to the medium.” According to a bidders’ breakdown for the Beeple coin provided by Christie’s, 91 percent were new to the auction house, and 64 percent were Millennials and Gen Z.

In the sports world, NFTs are seen as a new form of digital collectible, similar to physical basketball cards, which can be acquired in retail packs and then resold based on rarity or emotional value or historical.

NBA Top Shot, the NFT platform licensed by the American Professional Basketball League, launched in beta in October and has since recorded more than $ 347 million in transactions, according to NFT tracker

Mik Naayem, co-founder of Dapper Labs who developed the Top Shot and CryptoKitties platforms, recently told the Financial Times that “for a new generation of fans, a digital thing may actually be more ‘real’ to them than a physical object.”

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