The home of world-renowned art auctions, with a history as rich as one of the monumental tapestries it might sell, is taking its 255-year old history and merging its traditionalism with one of the most talked-about new sellable art styles, digital art. This is where tradition meets NFTs and blockchain protocols like TRON and Ethereum.
Christie’s runs about 350 auctions each year, across 80 different categories, which include fine and decorative art, jewelry, wine, and collectibles. Prices of the auction pieces can vary from $200 to over $100 million per piece. So where does the blockchain fit into this extraordinary domain?
5000 Days of Art
Well, it began in 2007, when digital artist Mike Winkelman, who is known digitally as Beeple, started his journey by posting one piece of art online. He then went on to do the exact same thing the next day and then the day after that. In fact, he continued doing so for 5000 days until his digital collection Everyday: The First 5000 days was created.
This collection has been minted especially for Christie’s who will be auctioning this collage of 5000 days of art as a single lot. This marks the first-ever occasion an auction house of this caliber offers a digital work with a unique NFT that tokenizes the artwork and authenticates it on the blockchain. Christie’s will for the first time, be accepting Ether for this work in addition to its traditional currencies for the piece.
Everyone’s Talking About NFTs
Things are definitely hotting up in the world of NFTs, and it’s becoming something of a buzzword in the mainstream, as only this week Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey auctions off his first-ever tweet in a tokenized form, as an NFT, as bidding heats up. Currently, someone from the TRON network has the highest bid at an astonishing $2.5 million.
Additionally, Ethernity Chain just announced they’re releasing a Muhammad Ali collection in collaboration with ABG – a top 3 licensor on a shortlist with Disney and Universal.
Currently, the majority of NFTs are listed on the Ethereum network. However, other blockchains have the capacity to list NFTs and are looking increasingly more tempting due to their speed and cheaper prices than Ethereum. Ethereum is facing some increasing backlash due to its prohibitive fees. While transactions on Ethereum are not picking up, on TRON they are growing fast according to Coin Metrics data.
TRON is already starting to list NFTs. According to TRON’s Justin Sun, “NFTs have huge untapped potential. We are likely to find the next big thing in the blockchain space being the TRC-721-compliant applications and base protocols that map physical and virtual assets onto the blockchain.”
Artists Go Digital
Beeple, one of the leading digital artists of his time will be selling his pieces as NFTs — which are nonfungible tokens — meaning unique pieces that cannot be traded, unlike Bitcoins where one can be exchanged for another. Non-fungible tokens are coming into their own and coming into the news, as only last week we saw a valuable piece of Banksy work worth $100,000 being set alight and burned and transitioned into a digital-only NFT. We also saw Grimes manage to sell $6 million of her works, which features tattooed, spear-wielding cherubs floating in ruins on leading NFT marketplace, Nifty Gateway.
NFTs exist in any form from images to videos, take the Kings of Leon album, which has been sold as a collection of digital songs as well as an NFT. In the case of Winkelmann, he most commonly works with image files or videos and these are authenticated on the blockchain. The blockchain holds its own by linking a work to the artist and to the owner of the NFT. This has turned the digital art world upside down in a way that has made this form of art much more sellable and nonreplicable, as ownership is tied directly to the creator.
This really shows the extent and diversity of the use cases of the blockchain from De-Fi (decentralized finance) apps like lending, borrowing, investments, prediction markets, to properties and non De-Fi internet alternatives, advertising deals and so much more. When it comes down to both the blockchain and also to art, if you think it, you can surely build it.