While the crypto world may be entering its 12th year, the non-fungible token market has only just started to take its first steps. Nonetheless, the rapid growth of the NFT collectibles space is changing the face of the art market, with Christies, the world’s oldest fine art auctioneer, set to offer its first fully digital work of art.
Following the success of digital artist Mike Winkelmann (known as Beeple) on the platform Nifty Gateway, Christie’s announced it would auction a work by Beeple, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, in a stand-alone sale which runs from Feb. 25 to March 11.
“We’re at this precipice where crypto is going to be such a more established and mainstream mode of conducting business,” “With this, I think it’s the perfect way to dip our toes in and give this a shot.”
Noah Davis, post-war and contemporary art specialist who organized the auction at Christies.
Up until this point, Crypto art has relied on crypto art platforms such as Nifty Gateway, the platform that Beeple used to sell his collection of 21 original works in December of last year, generating $3.5 million for the artist. This move from the august establishment Christies, signifies an important step for cryptocurrencies and the art world, and will open the floodgates for traditional auction houses to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Crypto art relies on non-fungible tokens, the transaction and ownership record of which are encrypted and unable to be duplicated. That one of the most famous auction houses is dipping its toe into the NFT collectibles space, means that the art space is starting to wake up to the possibilities of the blockchain for the art industry and gauging interest in the nascent market for blockchain-backed art buying.
While Beeple’s work is the first fully digital work to be auctioned by Christies, it is not the auction house's first blockchain-related auction. Robert Alice’s “Block 21” sold at Christie’s as a physical version of the accompanying NFT that was included in the sale.
In a year that has seen galleries and museums close their doors, access to art has had to move online. The traditional art world, a niche market that has many obstacles to entry, has typically remained closed to most, and digital art has allowed artist’s to reach a much wider audience.
The sale of the first ever purely digital artwork marks many firsts, and a milestone for NFTs. While 2021 might be marred with uncertainty, these events provide a little more promise for the future of digital art, and the diversification of what has been, until now, a mostly inaccessible market.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.