Beeple NFT was sold for $69.3 million at Christie’s on Thursday morning. This was a record-breaking amount in the surging NFT art category.
Beeple is a 41-year old illustrator from Wisconsin. The piece itself was a collage of 5,000 images made by him over the same amount of days. Additionally, this sale places Beeple among the three most valuable living artists according to Christie’s.
With 30 minutes remaining in the auction, the piece was still under the $15 million mark. However, a ton of last-minute bids sent its price skyrocketing. “5,000 Days” also blows away the previous record for one of his pieces selling. That piece, a video clip of a digitally illustrated Donald Trump lying face down in the grass, sold for $6.6 million.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have been seeing a massive rise in popularity over the past few months and this may serve as its peak. This is not only far and away from the largest seller of an NFT but is the third highest-selling piece of art period by a living artist.
Jeff Koons’ stainless-steel rabbit sculpture sold for $91.1 million in 2019 and a David Hockney painting sold for $90.3 million in 2018. These are the only pieces that sold for more than Beeple’s collage.
The sell undoubtedly sent shockwaves throughout the entire art industry. “What an extraordinary moment,” Miami art collector Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile said. “I believe it serves as clear validation that digital art is as important as what we know as traditional art with Beeple its clear leader and symbol.”
“5,000 Days” was also the first completely digital NFT to be sold by Christie’s, a centuries-old auction house. It was also the first time they accepted payment in the cryptocurrency, Ethereum.
NFT Market Now Exceeds $400 Million
The NFT market has now exceeded $400 million in transactions so far in 2020. Much of that comes from NBA Top Shot, a trading cards site that uses NFT technology. But many other celebrities have gotten in on it as well such as Grimes, Kings of Leon, and Rob Gronkowski.
While this seems to be the peak of things, Kenetic Capital founder Jehan Chu believes it’s only the beginning. “What’s happening now is there is a mad scramble by the traditional art world first to understand really what it is that we’re looking at. And then to figure out where they fit in, how they can support it, how they can participate.”
“What we’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.”