If the art market is at all on your radar, you have likely come across the million dollar bidding war for Beeple’s Everyday: The First 5000 Days (2021) which was sold for a whopping 69.3m on the Christie’s website yesterday, the 11th of March 2021. This is the most expensive NFT sold to date and the third most expensive artwork sold by a living artist.
What’s an NFT?
NFT or non-fungible tokens *see fungible definition below* are cryptographic assets which live on the blockchain. These tokens are visual representations of a unique identification code and metadata, making the work these tokens represent impossible to be replicated. Stripped to its essence, NFT’s are jpegs, videos, gifs and any form of digital artwork which has been minted.
The same way a coin is stamped onto metal to be used as currency, the identification code is minted onto the image i.e validating the information and having it recorded onto the blockchain.
While NFT news has been making its way through your feed and recommended videos these past couple of months, these non-fungible tokens were actually kicked off back in 2017 through the launch of the 24x24px Cryptopunks by the American Larva Labs Studio.
Each one of the 10,000, uniquely generated characters, the cryptopunks were initially made available for free, but owning one of these collectables as of March 2021 means you have a digital million dollar asset. The highest sold cryptopunk #7804, one of nine alien punks was sold for an astonishing 4.2k ETH, that converts to over 8 million dollars.
With new marketplaces launching every month for anyone to mint and sell their NFTs, higher level platforms such as Rarible, Nifty Gateway and Foundation are offering an exclusive space for highly talented digital artists to virtually exhibit their work and place it up for auction. Acclaimed 3D artists like Six N. Five who already had quite a following prior to minting their work have now sold their pristine visuals for upward of 20k on Nifty Gateway. Dreamy landscape visuals by Alexis Christodoulou has also ranked bids up to 8k for one of his collectible animations.
While there are a number of tremendously skilled artists who are finally getting the compensation and recognition they deserve, there are also artists minting their original memes. Take for example the 2008 phenomenon rage comic troll face shared endlessly by millennials, sold for 42ETH. 2011 Nyancat gif was also sold by the artist for a staggering 300ETH.
Aside from the value earned from the initial sale of each NFT, artists will benefit from 5-10% royalties on all future resales. The NFT movement is offering artists a new and exciting outlet to virtually exhibit their work and take control of their sales. Over $200M of NFTs have now been sold with celebrities, high production and low level artists alike, feeding the hype and embracing the wide spread community to create, sell and collect these non-fungible tokens.