First ever digital artwork to be sold at Christie’s – made possible by blockchain

First ever digital artwork to be sold at Christie’s – made possible by blockchain
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Major auction house Christie’s will open bidding this month for an online-only sale of ‘Everydays – The First 5000 Days’ by prominent digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known online as Beeple.

The sale is claimed as first time that a purely digital NFT (non-fungible token) based work of art has ever been offered by a major auction house.

Since 2007, Winkelmann has set out to create and post a new work of art everyday indefinitely. Everydays is a compilation of those thirteen years of daily works into a single composition.

Everydays uses a non-fungible token (NFT) to mark its uniqueness. An NFT is a unique digital token encrypted with the artist’s signature that is individually identifiable on a blockchain, verifying both the rightful owner and authenticity of an original digital creation.

NFTs are used to create verifiable scarcity in other digital formats, such as gaming and collectibles, they also allow for the possibility of asset interoperability across multiple platforms. The NFT for Everydays has been generated by MakersPlace, a premium marketplace for digital creators.

Until the introduction of NFTs, it was impossible to assign value to digital works of art given the ease of duplication.

However, with NFT-based digital creations, the buyer receives the artwork file containing a digital signature from the artist as well as details such as time of creation and a record of any prior sales. These details are permanently attached to the artwork, providing an enduring guarantee of value.

“I think this is a truly historic moment not just for digital art, but for the entire fine art world. The technology is now at a place with… blockchain to be able to prove ownership and have true scarcity with digital artwork,” remarked Winkelmann in a Christie’s press release.

“I think we are going to see an explosion of not only new artwork, but also new collectors and I am very honoured to be a part of this movement,” he added.

Christie’s has delved into blockchain technologies in the past. In 2018, they became the first auction house to record a major sale on a blockchain platform. In partnership with art registry Artory, the company recorded $317m (£227m) of sales digitally and securely.

Interested in hearing more in person? Find out more at the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.   

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