The Record-Breaking Price: Beeple Digital Art Sells for $69.3 Million at Christie's
Last Thursday the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, has sold an NFT collage for $69 million at Christie's. He posted artwork every day on his Instagram account, starting May 2007, and made a collage from the thirteen-year collection. In the meantime, Beeple has amassed a respectable base of 2 million followers.
The artist who had sold his prints for $100 until October 2020, broke the record and according to the prestigious auction house, this positions him among the “top three most valuable living artists,” following Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
In more than 250-year history, Christie's has auctioned many great works of art, including the Velázquez's portrait of his assistant, Juan de Pareja -- as their first sale of over £1 million, and the first known work by Paul Cézanne, Man in a Blue Smock.
Therefore, the question arises whether an NFT or non-fungible token is worth nearly $70 million. At first, it seems that the buyer, in this case, a blockchain investor known only by the name MetaKovan, ends up with nothing more than a digital file and rights to display it.
The truth is that NFTs changed the digital art scene, making it possible for the artist or a collector to have exclusive ownership of digital artwork. An entirely digital piece titled Everydays: The First 5000 Days of a South Carolina artist, a compound of hundreds of bright images, is using the bitcoin technology to create a record of ownership -- meaning that the image can be changed only and exclusively by the owner.
This hot trend has certainly found its audience, becoming the technocracy status symbol the same way as the physical assets. The growing hype in digital art is pushing the prices up, even with the knowledge that bitcoin uses power as one to three nuclear reactors, according to the experts.
As relatively new on the art scene, NFTs are being present only for the last couple of years. The technology behind cryptocurrencies can also be used for songs, video games, or trading cards, turning them into a treasure that can be sold like any other items we can hold in our hands.
Joe Guagliardo, a technology and blockchain partner at Troutman Pepper, stated for The Washington Post -- “It’s no different in the digital world. I think there’s probably a premium because there’s a novelty to it. It’s new,” he said. “But I don’t know that you can say that there’s any more or less irrationality to it than any collectible.”