Christie’s first digital art auction has raised $ 69m (£ 50m) for the artist named Beeple.
Digital art has been marketed as NFT – the latest tech hangover that has been popular in recent weeks.
Beeple- Most Valuable Artist
Beeple – whose real name is Mike Winkelmann – creates a new piece of digital art every day, and has been selling the first 5,000 days (13 years) of his work.
That success puts Beeple “among the three most valuable living artists
“, said Christie.
The company said the sale was the first NFT-based art project sold by the “big” auction, and set a new world record for digital art.
The collection is a collage of thousands of everyday images that Beeple, an American graphic designer, started in early 2007 and has been doing it every day ever since.
Most of the individual pieces are surreal or distracting, and use a lot of digital modeling methods and their art programs.
The auction drew a lot of attention, with a bid reaching $ 10m earlier this week. But on the last day of bidding, it rose to the final price of $ 69,346,250.
Christie told AFP that 22 million people were recorded during the last auction.
That may in part be down to the current hype surrounding NFTs – or “non-fungible-tokens”. They are a unique identifier of ownership for non-physical objects such as digital art.
Beeple has responded to the sale by tweeting a series of annotations.
The NFT Craze
Critics say digital tokens have a huge impact on the environment, because they are stored on Blockchain, such as crypto-currencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Some have suggested that their current popularity is an investment fad.
But the unique tokens allow value to be assigned to digital art, and they can be sold and traded in a similar way to physical art being used as an investment.
The current craze surrounding NFTs has seen the musician Grimes sell 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.
And in one of the most controversial cases, one group burned a genuine Banksy original before putting its digital token up for sale, for $380,000 (£274,000).