Christie’s Hopes to Open a New Frontier of the Art Market with the First-Ever Major Auction of an All-Digital Blockchain Artwork

Given the relentless buzz surrounding non-fungible tokens (or NFTs) lately, it was only a matter of time before the excitement spread across the art industry.

This time has come. Christie’s has announced the sale of the very first pure digital artwork to be auctioned: Daily — The first 5,000 days by Mike Winkelmann, who is called Beeple. It will be offered in a stand-alone online sale aimed at new and younger collectors.

As a reminder, on May 1, 2007, the artist, whose work focuses on the alternation of obsessions and technological fears of society, undertook to create and publish online a new work every day, a task that he has been doing for 13 years.

The works, known as “Everydays,” come together in Christie’s Lot as a composite of each individual image brought together in one place.

“Together, this work presents a detailed overview of Beeple’s artistic journey from his beginnings in anonymity to the star of digital art that it is today, ”according to a Christie’s statement.

The starting price for the work, to which bidders can pay money from February 25 to March 11, is only $ 100.

For the uninitiated (ahem, us included), Beeple’s work carries an NFT, a unique digital token encrypted with the artist’s signature and individually identified on a blockchain, effectively verifying the rightful owner and authenticity of the piece. creation.

According to Christie’s, the NFT for this work was generated by MakersPlace, a marketplace for digital creators.

Christie’s contemporary and postwar scholar Noah Davis compared the legitimation of NFT to that of Street Art.

“Much like the advent of Street Art as a premier collector’s category, NFT-based art is poised to become the next ingeniously disruptive force in the art market,” he said. he said in a statement.

Davis said the auction house sees this “as a pivotal moment for the future of new media and even for the practice of collecting itself,” adding that technology can now effectively prove ownership and ” true rarity “of a digital work of art.

The winning bidder ultimately obtains an encrypted digital file with the artist’s signature. The owner’s name is also registered as the owner in the blockchain, making it difficult to dispute ownership and transfer title easy. All of this is handled through the buyer’s digital wallet.

At the end of 2018, Christie’s tested the waters for works of art created via artificial intelligence when it proposed Portrait of Edmond de Belamy (2018), one of a group of portraits of the fictional Belamy family created by an AI trained by Obvious, a Parisian collective.

That job shattered expectations when he raised $ 350,000 after a heated bidding war that lasted more than six minutes.

The final price, with bonus, was $ 432,500, a whopping 4320% increase from the high pre-sale estimate of $ 10,000.

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