A detail taken from a collage “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” by digital artist BEEPLE, which is being auctioned in Christie’s, an unknown location, in this undated Reuters flyer.
Beeple | Christie’s Images Ltd. | via Reuters
The buyer of the non-fungible Beeple token for $ 69 million was a crypto investor operating under the pseudonym Metakovan.
Metakovan’s true identity is unknown, but the investor is a co-founder of the Metapurse NFT collection, which gathers NFTs to display in the Metaverse through virtual museums. Metakovan already owns the largest collection of Beeples and has split ownership of a collection of Beeples using a special token called B.20 Coin.
Speaking to Metakovan’s partner in Metapurse, known as Twobadour, CNBC said the NFT was “the most valuable work of its generation.”
Twobadour said they don’t know their exact plans for this work, but options include factioning or offering it as a new character. He said the goal is not to make money, but rather to decentralize and democratize art so that token holders everywhere can share a piece of history and share the wealth.
For example, it’s like people can go to the Museum of Modern Art and actually own some of the work, he said.
“We made history and created a god,” he said in Beeple.
The announcement only partially solves the biggest mystery behind the most dramatic transaction in the art world since Leonardo DaVinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” which was sold for $ 450 million in 2017. The market for NFTs – that can be any digital asset owned on a blockchain – has exploded to over $ 400 million in the past few weeks as a huge new army of young collectors pays record prices for everything from NBA highlight Videos to cat memes and art.
For his $ 69 million, Metakovan will receive “essentially a long series of numbers and letters,” according to Noah Davis, art specialist at Christie’s. “It’s a code that is on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s a block on the chain that is put into your Ethereum wallet.” The buyer also gets “a gigantic JPEG,” said Davis.
The sale closed two weeks of frenzied online bidding and ushered in a new era in collectibles, where prices for blockchain-based digital images now compete with prices for Picassos and Monets. While the future of NFT pricing and its longer-term role in the art world remains an open question and many view it as a speculative fad, the eight-figure price tag for the Beeple has suddenly taken notice of the art world.
Shortly after the auction result, Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, tweeted: “Holy F —“. On Thursday evening he also tweeted a picture of a digitized “Mona Lisa” with the headline: “THE NEXT CHAPTER”.
The record work “The First 5,000 Days” was the first to be sold in a major auction house.
In 2007, Winkelmann set out to publish a new digital work of art every day for the rest of his life and never missed a single day. The first 5,000 of these works, which he calls “Everydays”, were put together to “The First 5,000 Days”.
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