Christie’s just completed its biggest NFT sale yet — with a doozy of a price tag. Popular digital artist Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” sold for a jaw-dropping $69.3 million (including fees). Bidding for the .JPG file began bidding at $100 just two weeks ago.
The buyer of the piece is Justin Sun, founder of cryptocurrency platform Tron. A representative from the company confirmed Sun’s final bid at $60.25 million. Beeple’s NFT received more than 180 bids in the final hour of its auction time and was set to sell for $30 million before a last-minute decision to extend the bidding time by an additional two minutes.
It’s by far the most intense NFT blitz we’ve seen thus far, which is really saying something, given that just last week Azealia Banks sold her sex tape with Ryder Ripps as an NFT for $17,000.
As you might imagine, both Christie’s and Mike Winkelmann (Beeple, that is) are very happy about the project’s success. “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is now the third-highest auction price achieved for a living artist after Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
Yes, it’s really just a jpeg — The beauty and oddity of this wild auction price is that Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” really is just a .JPG file — the same kind you might download from Google Images or Getty... or export from your smartphone’s gallery. Being “minted” as an NFT allows Justin Sun to be the one true owner of the piece, much like a certificate of authenticity one might receive when buying an original painting. The difference, though, is you can’t right-click and save an original painting to your desktop.
“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is a collage of every image Beeple has made since 2013. While Winkelmann has been known to include physical versions of his art with digital sales in the past, this time around the work is being sold as digital-only.
Is digital scarcity here to stay? — The idea of NFT art is proving polarizing in the art world and beyond. Todd Levin, a New York art advisor, told The New York Times he has mixed emotions about the $69.3 million sale.
“On the one hand, it’s super exciting to witness a historical inflection point. On the other hand, the amount of money involved could skew and damage a nascent emerging market,” Levin said.
NFTs are already disrupting the art market massively, and the technology is also being used by musicians for similar purposes of creating scarcity for digital goods. The huge uptick in NFT art has provoked lots of feedback and hot takes — but for now, at least, it looks like digital scarcity is sticking around. And, while it does, it’s going to keep bringing in big bucks for professional and amateur artists alike... but especially for the professionals.