Who Is Beeple? Story Behind World’s Most Expensive Digital Art & Non-Fungible Token(NFT)

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are currently the rage of the crypto town with the latest digital artwork called “Every day’s — The First 5000 Days” made by Mike Winkelmann popularly known as Beeple, was sold for a whopping $69 million.

The artwork is a collage of all the images that Beeple has been posting online each day since 2007.

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Christie’s is a 255-year old auction house popular for artwork auctions and this NFT artwork sale was their first pure digital sale and the auction house has also offered to accept payment in Ethereum.

The bidding round started with a base price of $100 and rose to $30 million before an extension of 2 minutes that led to the final bid of $69 million.

The collaged JPG was converted to a “nonfungible token,” or NFT in February this year and was later auctioned by Christie’s.

The auction house deemed the artwork as “a unique work in the history of digital art,” The artist, who has collaborated with Louis Vuitton and pop stars like Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, uses software to create an irreverent visual commentary on 21st-century life.

Who is Beeple?

Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple is a graphic designer from Charleston, South Carolina, who does a variety of digital artwork including short films, Creative Commons VJ loops, everydays, and VR/AR work.

NFTs have been there in the crypto world for a couple of years now, however, the recent mainstream attention and use of the NFTs by sports clubs as a form of fan token has prompted celebrities and artists to follow the same suit.

While many outside the crypto space is still comprehending the idea behind spending millions of dollars on a JPG file, many crypto proponents point towards the equally absurd art world which draws millions from popular artist.

This was Beeple’s second multi-million dollar artwork sale in 2021 alone, his earlier artwork called  “Crossroad,” a 10-second video NFT showing animated pedestrians was sold for $6.6 million on Nifty Gateway.

The Era of NFTs and Digital Artwork is Here

Digital artwork is as collectible as a physical one these days especially amid the growing hype around NFTs.

Putting the digital artwork on a blockchain by converting it into a non-fungible token makes it a unique and only piece and despite people making arguments such as “I can download the artwork,” the blockchain authenticates the work and only the original buyer have access to the real artwork.

NFTs started as a way to get better fan involvement in sports and in-game goodies which are valuable on their own for example crypto kitties avatar were exchanged and sold for thousands of dollars, similarly, sports fan card NFTs have also sold for a hefty price. However, the recent use of NFTs for selling digital artwork seems to have caught up everyone’s attention for the high value that these artworks have fetched.

Most of the coming of age artists have set their eye on the NFT market and many have plans to launch some form of NFT related to their art. Burnt Banksy, an anonymous group of “tech and art enthusiasts,” sold a unique NFT recently consisting of a digital copy of a 2006 Banksy limited-edition print called “Morons.”

The group then destroyed the original physical copy to ensure the NFT is the only remaining true form of their art. The NFT version drew $382,000 in an auction almost triple the value of the original art.

Looking at the success of these early NFT adopters the artwork arena could get flooded with more popular artists joining the league.

Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Market Beyond Hype

The NFT Report 2020, jointly released by L’Atelier BNP Paribas and Nonfungible.com projected the NFT market to be worth $250 million in 2020 rising by nearly 300%, however, only in the first quarter of 2021 the NFT market has attracted multi-million dollar deals two of which belong to Beeple himself.

The ongoing hype around NFT has drawn comparison to the 2017 ICO era because of the attention the niche crypto field has drawn in 2021.

Jack Dorsey, the Twitter CEO and big-time Bitcoin proponent converted one of his tweets into NFT which drew the highest bid of $2.5 million. Dorsey would convert the proceeds into Bitcoin and donate them to charity.

The tweet had nothing except the bidding link of the page where the Tweet is listed for auction.

The crypto ecosystem has often been marred into controversy due to the number of scams that come along with any of its popular use cases,  the same happened with the Defi ecosystem in 2020.

Despite the rising popularity, the Defi ecosystem faced several rugpulls and exit scams but still came through to register one of the most significant rises.

The same is true for NFTs, it could turn out to be the best form of art distribution and authentication with the right community input and adoption.

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