Can a link to a JPEG file be worth $ 70 million? Yes, and it represents the new frontier of the NFT-based art market, which Musk also winks at
The crypto art is the new fad for collectors and billionaires. Born several years ago as an outlet for the very first cryptocurrency enthusiasts, it soon became the new pole of attraction for the new crypto-rich , that is, the investors who immediately believed in the success of the various forms of bitcoin and who, investing a few thousand euros, they found themselves with millionaire capital after the boom of the last few years. According to the latest Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, online sales of artwork doubled in 2020, reaching a quarter of the overall market. Auction houses have also begun to see potential gain from this new form of modern art, starting to take an interest in the world of digital art. So far, the record belongs to Christie’s who sold Beeple’s “The Last 5000 Days” for $ 69.3 million , making him the third highest-rated living artist after Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
The real novelty with respect to the tradition of the art market is that the buyer – Metakovan, pseudonym of Metapurse, the largest NFT fund in the world – did not buy the exclusive use rights or the only print in the world; he basically took home a URL link that allows him to download the JPEG file . The work is completely digital and it is a collage of 5 thousand photos posted from 2007 to today that represents a sort of eye on the real world alongside memes and images of cartoons such as Pokemon or Mickey Mouse along with drawings by politicians such as Donald Trump and Mao Tse Tung. Anyone can view the image on the Internet, download and print itat will, but only Metakovan will be recognized as the owner of that online work. NFTs work just like this: they verify the authenticity of the work and certify the rightful owner by inserting it next to the other known data of the image (the time it was created, the dimensions and so on). Thanks to the storage on a global database protected by blockchain protocols, falsifying it is practically impossible and it is precisely for this reason that it is used for crypto art and for everything that is digital: motion graphics, edited photographs, 3D creations or, posts on social media.
In this way we changed perspective by also giving value to a social post that until now was valued only on the basis of the “likes” it managed to obtain. For example, Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, auctioned the first tweet in history, obtaining it 2.5 million dollars but the same can be applied to anything online. Elon Musk also took an interest in the new market by selling a song via NFT which had reached a price of 1.2 million dollars before the backtracking of the founder of Tesla and SpaceX who changed his mind giving up a future in music: «Actually, it doesn’t seem right to sell it. Over, ”wrote Musk on Twitter. What’s more, the US billionaire is very attached to this market because his wife – Canadian artist Grimes – has already monetized this new trend with 10 art works sold for $ 6 million in past few months.
In short, the explosion of NFTs and digital art work could be an unexpected new evolution capable of changing the status quo of the moment, giving a voice to many unexploded artists and giving way to those who are already overloaded to add a new notch to their millionaire shopping belt.