- Digital artist Beeple made history yesterday as a virtual auction for his artwork Everydays – The First 5000 Days sold for $69 million
- The NFT was the first true such artwork sold by an auction house
- Beeple’s achievement has divided opinion across the world
Digital artist Beeple smashed his own record for an NFT sale and in the process created even more headlines for himself and NFTs after his 13-year epic artwork, Everydays – The First 5000 Days, sold for an astonishing $69 million at Christie’s yesterday. Here’s a collection of what the world said about the sale.
“My clients over 40 think this is either tulips or the emperor’s new clothes,” said attorney Thomas Danziger. “But younger clients think this could be the next da Vinci or bigger. People collect the art of their times. This may turn out to be the best thing since sliced bread, in the rearview mirror.”
Everydays is now the third-most expensive artwork by a living artist to sell at auction—ever. Only a sculpture by Jeff Koons and a painting by David Hockney are in front of it on the list. The difference, though, is that those two artworks were sold by collectors, meaning that Hockney and Koons didn’t get a cent. Everydays, in contrast, was consigned by Beeple himself, meaning he will receive all of the $60 million hammer price. A NSFW reaction tweet by Beeple amply sums it up.
Being pegged to the price of cryptocurrencies, whose ups and downs resemble the route of a fearsome mountain cycling race, the market for NFT art has a reputation for volatility. But for many in the analogue art trade, the possibility of making significant sums from inventory with no physical presence remains a mesmerizing prospect.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique files that live on a blockchain and are able to verify ownership of a work of digital art. Buyers typically get limited rights to display the digital artwork they represent, but in many ways, they’re just buying bragging rights and an asset they may be able to resell later.
The @beeple news today really shouldn’t be that hard to grasp. In the analogue world an artist can sell paper + paint for $69m mark up, which can be copied, etc but only one is signed and authenticated. Art is art, no matter what the format – photographic art proved that too.
— Raoul Pal (@RaoulGMI) March 11, 2021
What’s more surprising is that this particular artwork brought in a different set of clientele than its conventional customers. Christie’s press release revealed that of the 33 active bidders that were in the battle to claim this artwork, 58 percent of the individuals were millennial and 33 percent were GenX buyers. Gen Z buyers were around 6 percent whereas Baby Boomers were just 3 percent.
Because Everydays is, indeed, backed up by an NFT (non-fungible token), the blockchain-backed crypto-certification that ensures that your incredibly expensive JPG of an image that literally anyone could send to anybody is the real incredibly expensive JPG of an image that literally anyone could send to anybody, because someone poured god knows how much electricity into a bunch of graphics cards to prove it.
— beeple (@beeple) March 11, 2021
Beeple Success Divides Opinion
As we can clearly see, Beeple’s record setting sale has divided opinion all around the world, with very few seemingly on the fence about it. Whatever your opinion, it’s clear that digital art has clearly crossed the Rubicon and there’s no going back now.