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Digital Artwork Sells For Record-Breaking $69 Million

People are paying millions of dollars for one-of-a-kind art and collectibles they'll never physically touch.

Courtesy: Christie's

Christie’s auction house sold its first NFT, or non-fungible token, on Thursday, March 11. In doing so, it became the first established auction house to sell a purely digital work of art. The transaction also marked the first time it accepted cryptocurrency.

The piece, named “Everydays – The First 5000 Days,” was created by graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, who also goes by the name Beeple. Beeple has 1.9 million followers on Instagram.

The work is a collage containing 5,000 individual drawings – some done by hand on paper, but a majority created with illustration software. The artwork took Beeple more than a decade to complete, having created and posted one work every day for 13 and a half years.

“Artists have been using hardware and software to create artwork and distribute it on the internet for the last 20-plus years but there was never a real way to truly own and collect it,” Beeple said in a statement. “With NFT’s that has now changed.”

Bidding for the piece started at $100, with the winning bid valued at a record-breaking $69,346,250. This makes “Everydays – The First 5000 Days” the “third most valuable work by a living artist sold at auction,” according to Christie’s.

What Are NFTs?

Non-fungible tokens are a type of digital asset representing one-of-a-kind collectibles, like digital art, trading cards, games and even virtual real estate. In essence, NFTs are a way to establish possession of intangible goods.

NFTs are recorded on Blockchain, an unchangeable digital ledger used for cryptocurrency transactions, to cement authenticity of a particular digital work of art. Unlike cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, however, NFTs can’t be exchanged with one another.

Interested? Potential buyers will want to have a digital wallet handy, as the vast majority of NFT assets can only be bought via cryptocurrency. And you won’t be alone. The trend of creating, buying, selling and reselling digital-only art has been growing in popularity. The market for NFTs has already been valued at $250 million, according to a 2020 report.

What are your thoughts on NFTs and digital collectibles? Tell us in the comments. 

  • Scott M.

    P. T. Barnum greatly underestimated the frequency at which suckers are born.


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