The first digital-only art auction, hosted by Christie's auction house, recently took place. And, the digital art from the artist Beeple, has been sold as an NFT for a whopping $69 million.
NFT or “non-fungible-tokens”, is the latest tech craze which has boomed in popularity in recent weeks. The unique tokens allow value to be assigned to digital art. Through this, digital art can be sold and traded in a similar way to physical art being used as an investment.
The auction had attracted a great deal of attention, with bidding ramping up to $10m earlier this week. But, on the final day of bidding, it skyrocketed to a final price of $69,346,250.
For this piece, the American graphic designer, Beeple – who’s real name is Mike Winkelmann – created a new piece of digital art every day for 13 years, and then collated them into one collection. The collection is a collage of the thousands of individual daily images which Beeple started working on in early 2007. Beeple used a variety of digital modelling and artistic programmes for every individual piece, and many of the individual pieces are found to be surreal or unsettling.
Beeple responded to the sale by tweeting a series of expletives.
Critics say the digital tokens have a huge environmental impact, since they are stored on a Blockchain, which are similar to crypto-currencies.
The musician, Grimes, has also joined the craze surrounding NFTs. She sold a collection of her artwork for more than $6m at the beginning of March.
The founder of Twitter has also put his first tweet up for sale, with a bid of $2.5m so far.
Christie's explained that this major success puts Beeple "among the top three most valuable living artists”. The company also explained that the sale set a new world record for digital art, as it was the first NFT-based work of art sold by a "major" auction house.
According to Christie’s, the record shows that 22 million people watched the final moments of the auction’s livestream.