The auction house has this year sold a series of virtual works of art that have raised significant sums.
A non-perishable testimony of a digital work of art called “CryptoPunk” sold for $ 11.8 million Thursday, Sotheby’s auction house said.
CryptoPunks is a set of 10,000-pixel artistic characters made by Larva Labs in 2017. The one sold by Sotheby’s – “CryptoPunk # 7523” – is from a sought-after alien variety with blue-green skin and a medical mask.
The work has the form of NFT, that is to say, it is authenticated by means of blockchain, that certifies its originality and property. The NFT is sent to the buyer’s cryptocurrency wallet; no physical work changes hands.
“CryptoPunk # 7523” sold for $ 11,754,000 as part of Sotheby’s online auction “Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale,” which grossed a total of $ 17.1 million in works by 27 artists digital.
It was bought by Israeli businessman Shalom Meckenzie, who is the largest shareholder in digital sports company DraftKings, Sotheby’s said.
Moments ago in our #London saleroom, an extremely rare “Alien” CryptoPunk #7523 from the collection of @sillytuna sold for $11.8M as part of our #NativelyDigital NFT auction – setting a new world auction record for a single CryptoPunk. pic.twitter.com/PDVUSttI3o
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) June 10, 2021
Michael Bouhanna, a contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s, said the sale demonstrated strong demand for NFT.
“We are delighted to continue to explore new and exciting ways to present these cutting-edge works.”
Everyone can see the works representing the NFTs, but only the buyer has the official status of owner.
Sotheby’s on the metaverse
Although the sale was an online auction, the works were displayed on the screens of Sotheby’s exhibitions in New York, London and Hong Kong.
Sotheby’s also opened its first virtual gallery: a replica of its real-world building on New Bond Street in London, in the online virtual world Decentraland.
Decentraland is a virtual world based on blog chains, in which users can walk with friends, visit buildings, go to events and display their NFT art collections.
“To those who say,‘ Yes, but you can’t hang them on the wall, ’that’s where virtual social worlds like Decentraland come in,” said Dave Carr, a spokesman for the Decentraland Foundation.
“Virtual worlds are the natural home of digital art NFTs.”
NFTs exploded in popularity in February and March. An NFT work of art raised $ 69.3 million at Christie’s, in the first sale of a major artwork auction house without any physical form.
Sotheby’s first NFT auction was in April, with digital works by the artist known as “Pak” grossing $ 16.8 million.
Quantum, by Kevin McCoy, a simple geometric animation that also appears at Thursday’s auction, sold for $ 1.47 million. Sotheby’s said it was the first NFT to be made, after it was “minted” in 2014. A Pak work also sold for $ 528,200.