- Block 21, a Bitcoin-inspired painting by Robert Alice, has been sold for $131,250 by Christie’s
- The piece, one of 40 in the Portrait of a Mind series, came with an NFT
- The sale represented a world record for an NFT
Block 21, a piece of art featuring part of the original Bitcoin source code has sold for $131,250 at Christie’s, fetching more than seven times its estimate. The painting, whose full title is ‘Block 21 (42.36433° N, -71.26189° E), is one of a collection of 40 in the Portrait of a Mind series by artist Robert Alice, and was auctioned off alongside a non-fungible token (NFT) on Wednesday evening.
#AuctionUpdate Robert Alice’s ‘Block 21 (42.36433° N, -71.26189° E) (from Portraits of a Mind)’ — a work based on Blockchain technology — sold for $131,250 and achieved more than 7x its high estimate. https://t.co/fJ4un7gHGW pic.twitter.com/bptv3k06DN
— Christie’s (@ChristiesInc) October 7, 2020
Portrait of a Mind Honors Bitcoin
Portrait of a Mind is Alice’s homage to Bitcoin, with the 12.3 million digits that made up its launch code hand-painted across them in 24-carat gold leaf. The 40 paintings reach over 50 meters in length, with each one signifying a physical location that Alice says is of importance to Bitcoin’s history. Each painting represents a block, with Block 21 chosen by Alice as the piece to be auctioned alongside its NFT.
The geographical location pinpointed by Alice’s piece is the Brandeis Theatre Company building within the Brandeis University complex. The theater itself doesn’t seem to have an association with Bitcoin, unless you consider the fact that the acronym for the Brandeis Theater Company is BTC.
Block 21 Sets NFT World Record
Block 21 is the first such auction by Christie’s in its 253-year history, with the sale marking a world record for an NFT. The auction house has shown an interest in blockchain technology in art since holding an ‘Art + Tech Summit – Exploring Blockchain’ panel discussion in 2018, and in auctioning Alice’s work they have clearly made good on their interest.