The third most expensive work ever sold by a living artist – after works by Jeff Koons and David Hockney – was auctioned at Christie’s in March. But even more than its price tag of $ 69.3 million, what made the sale truly distinctive was its format.
Everyday is a collage of digital images created by an artist from South Carolina – Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple. Every day, using 3D software, Winkelmann creates an image: cartoon works filled with pop culture characters, social media memes, and crass satire (Biden urinating on Trump, for example). Everyday included 5,000.
“I consider this the next chapter in art history,” Beeple said. Art critics did not share his enthusiasm. But then again, the art, as the saying goes, is worth whatever anyone is willing to pay for it, and cryptocurrency tycoon Vignesh Sundaresan has estimated it to be worth $ 69.3 million. . However, it only did so thanks to the growth of a new innovation: the non-fungible token (NFT).
NFTs use blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, to give a unique certificate to any given digital image. An NFT is like a modern version of a museum stamp, proving authenticity and listing previous owners. This gave the digital art market what it had lacked until now: unique works and limited editions.
Everyday is, in fact, the forefront of a vast new NFT market in digital collectibles – photos, games, music – that racked up $ 11 billion in sales in the third quarter alone. Collins Dictionary chose NFT as the word of the year for 2021.