New York | An entirely digital work by the American artist Beeple was sold Thursday for 69.3 million dollars by the auction house Christie’s, a record which testifies to the revolution underway in this long confidential market.
“Everydays: the First 5000 Days”, a collection of drawings and animations produced daily for 5000 days in a row, places Mike Winkelmann, real name of Beeple, among the three most expensive artists in the world during their lifetime, all media combined.
39-year-old Mike Winkelmann was known for his digital projects and collaborations, but he had never sold a work in his name before the end of October.
Thursday’s sale illustrates the rise of a new authentication technology, using the “blockchain” used for cryptocurrencies, presented as a miracle cure for copies, one of the brakes on the development of digital art.
It makes it possible to market works, and just about anything imaginable on the internet, from musical albums to personalities’ tweets, in the form of “non-fungible token”, “NFT”, or non-fungible token.
This obscure name, born in 2017, covers any virtual object with indisputable and inviolable identity, authenticity and traceability in theory.
For about six months since the “NFT” entered the vocabulary of a wider circle of Internet users, records have followed one another at a wild pace and more and more of them, artists, entrepreneurs, collectors, want to know more. be.
At the end of February, another work by Beeple, “Crossroads”, had already sold for $ 6.6 million (of which the artist received 10%) on the Nifty Gateway platform, specializing in virtual works. And an animation that he himself sold at the end of October, for a symbolic dollar, was recently acquired for 150,000 dollars.
Always on the lookout for new technologies, the North American professional basketball league NBA has also launched its “NFT” platform, Top Shot, which markets video clips of a few seconds of game action. In February, a clip a flight of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James sold for $ 208,000, a record for a “moment”, the name of these excerpts.