Christie’s Just Sold Its first NFT for $69 Million 


Auction house Christie’s has just sold the first digital NFT based artwork–a JPG by the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple–  for a whopping $69.34 million today.

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“First 5000 Days’, the 1st purely digital NFT based artwork offered by a major auction house has sold for $69,346,250, positioning him among the top three most valuable living artists. Major Thanks to @beeple + @makersplaceco,” Christie’s tweeted.

Non-fungible tokens are digital assets that represent a wide range of unique tangible and intangible items, from collectible sports cards to virtual real estate and even digital sneakers, Coindesk explains. They are recorded on a blockchain, a distributed ledger that is immutable, verifiable and decentralized.

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Minted exclusively for Christie’s, Beeple’s digital collage was offered as a single lot sale concurrently with First Open, and realized $69,346,250, the auction house said in a statement. This marks two industry firsts: Christie’s is the first major auction house to offer a purely digital work with a unique NFT  — effectively a guarantee of its authenticity — and to accept cryptocurrency, in this case Ether, in addition to standard forms of payment for the singular lot, it added in the statement.

“Christie’s had never offered a new media artwork of this scale or importance before,” Noah Davis, specialist in Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s  said in the statement. “Acquiring Beeple’s work is a unique opportunity to own an entry in the blockchain itself created by one of the world’s leading digital artists.”

However, some blockchain experts say that while Beeple’s sale is a major crypto milestone, the NFT space isn’t without current pitfalls.

“When an NFT’s imagery is not stored on-chain, there’s still a need to prove that the associated digital art asset can’t be tampered with,” Nicole Tay, head of marketing at blockchain company SkynetLabs tells GOBankingRates. “For digital art to be immutable and censorship-resistant from the start, decentralized NFT apps also need decentralized storage.”

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NFTs are quickly gaining in  popularity. Just last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted a link to the Valuables platform, where his first tweet from March 21, 2006, “just setting my twttr,” was up for bidding. Earlier this month, Kings of Leon announced it would offer its latest album, “When you See Yourself,” as a NFT for  $50 and include enhanced media, such as a moving album cover, a digital download of the music and a limited-edition vinyl album.

The NFT version of “When You See Yourself,” which launched on March 5th, will only be available for two weeks. After that, it will be a tradable collectible, Rolling Stone says.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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