Beeple smashes digital art record with $69 million Christie’s NFT auction sale
Beeple has taken the art world by storm with a record-breaking $69 million sale at Christie's for his piece 'The First 5000 Days'.
The artist's digital collage made a whopping $69,346,250 at auction and marked two industry firsts - Christie's is the first major auction house to offer a purely digital work with a unique NFT (Non-fungible token) and it's the first time cryptocurrency has been accepted, in this case Ether, in addition to standard forms of payment for the single lot.
Beeple's real name is Mike Winkelmann, a graphic designer from Charleston, South Carolina. On 1 May, 2007, Beeple set out to create and post a new work of art every day of his life.
True to his word, he's not missed a single day in 13 years with his works known as Everydays.
'The First 5000 Days' comprises every single individual image from Beeple’s first 5,000 Everydays arranged in a monolithic composition of the artist's own design.
The artist has stitched together recurring themes and colour schemes into an aesthetic whole. The individual pieces are organised in loose chronological order: zooming in reveals pictures by turn abstract, fantastical, grotesque or absurd, deeply personal or representative of current events. Recurring themes include society’s obsession with and fear of technology; the desire for and resentment of wealth; and America’s recent political turbulence.
What is an NFT?
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a special type of cryptographic token which acts as a non-duplicate certificate of ownership of a digital asset. In this case, artwork but some other popular forms include images, videos and even tweets - which can also fetch millions, especially if they're penned by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey!
Once the NFT is purchased, the owner has the digital rights to resell, distribute or license the digital asset as they please. The only caveat is that the creator can program in limitations in the NFT’s code for how it gets used, such as the asset cannot show up on a specific platform, like a TV network, according to Shidan Gouran, co-founder of Gulf Pearl, a merchant bank in the blockchain sector. NFT creators also have the opportunity to earn royalties off of future reselling transactions.
Buyers of digital art NFTs typically get limited rights to display the digital artwork they represent, but in many ways, they’re just buying bragging rights and an asset they may be able to resell later. The technology has absolutely exploded over the past few weeks — and Beeple, more than anyone else, has so far made the biggest bang.