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$ 69 million for a digital work of art? Welcome to the world of NFTs

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You’ve probably heard a lot about NFTs in recent months. Record sales have skyrocketed, as millionaires and billionaires around the world open their pockets for digital treasures with giant price tags.

To recap: An NFT, short for non-fungible token, is essentially a piece of data that verifies the ownership of a digital item – from a famous work of art or a snippet of an NBA winning shot, to code. original used to create the World Wide Canvas. They are created and recorded using blockchain technology.

In addition to bragging rights, each NFT is unique and cannot be directly traded. Copies can be made, but the blockchain authenticates the NFT, indicating who owns the original, making their purchases all the more valuable.

Still confused? Let’s break it down:A guide to NFTs, blockchain and more

So why do people buy NFTs? The reasons can be similar to purchases of valuables in the physical world.

“Why do people collect baseball cards? Why do people collect wine? Why do they collect art? You can collect [NFTs] because it’s a hobby, and you can collect because some people see it as an investment, ”said Dr Merav Ozair, assistant professor at Rutgers Business School and Blockchain expert.

“The uses of NFTs go beyond the hype,” she added. “Will it all be worth millions of dollars? Probably not. But I think the trend will be that everything is going to be NFTed [one day], because that’s the power of authentication … We are moving towards the digital world in everything we do. “

World Wide Web NFT:Original source code sells for $ 5.4 million at auction

Looking at auction prices for some of today’s biggest NFT sales may seem quite remote for most. But Ozair stresses that NFTs should be accessible to everyone.

“There are NFTs that are not that expensive. You just have to look for them,” she said. “You can [create] NFT yourself and sell something, and hopefully NFT will eventually have the power to democratize society … [For example] if you take a video and post it to Facebook or Instagram, you can NFT and monetize it immediately. And maybe it won’t be worth thousands of dollars, but you can make a little income for yourself. “

So far, giant sales have dominated the headlines. Here are some of the NFT buys that have reached thousands, millions, and beyond.

$ 69 million: “Every day: the first 5,000 days”

In March, Christie’s announced that the NFT for “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”, a digital artwork by artist Beeple, née Mike Winkelmann, had sold for more than $ 69 million, the third prize the highest for a living artist. The winning bidder was MetaKovan, the founder and financier of Metapurse.

According to Christie’s, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is a compilation of 5,000 digital images that Beeple has created and uploaded for 5,000 consecutive days, starting in May 2007.

“I look at him almost now like I’m a political cartoonist,” Beeple explained in the Christie’s Lot Essay. “Except that instead of making sketches, I use the most advanced 3D tools to comment on the news, almost in real time.

$ 6 million to raise awareness of climate change: ‘Ocean Front’

Also in March, another NFT for a work by Beeple sold for millions. “Ocean Front” was bought by Justin Sun, founder of the TRON Foundation and CEO of BitTorrent, for $ 6 million.

The NFT was part of the Open Earth Foundation’s Carbon Drop Collection, which auctioned off 8 unique, carbon negative NFTs inspired by the Earth and the climate crisis. All profits were to be donated to the association’s efforts, in particular by contributing to awareness and transparency on the realities of climate change in the digital space.

Beeple celebrated the “Ocean Front’s” sale on Twitter, writing “SIX MILLION DOLLARS for climate change. This is what we need to implement real meaningful change.”

$ 5.4 million: original code for the World Wide Web

At the end of June, the NFT of the original code used to create the World Wide Web (WWW) was sold for $ 5.4 million at auction house Sotheby’s. The NFT was donated by the creator of the WWW code, Sir Tim Berners-Lee himself.

“The auctioning process of this NFT gave me the opportunity to step back in time to when I first sat down to write this code thirty years ago, and reflect on how far I’ve come. through the web since then, and where it might go in the decades to come, ”Berners-Lee said in a statement.

Also in the press release, Oliver Barker, President of Sotheby’s Europe, added: “Although the source code of the Web itself is a digital artifact that has been around since 1990, it was not until the emergence of NFTs. that something like that could have been harnessed for sale. “

Nearly $ 400,000: LeBron James’ Best Music Video

In April, the NFT of one of NBA’s most coveted Top Shot moments was auctioned off for nearly $ 400,000.

The moment – a highlight of LeBron James dipping on a quick break with a finishing move reminiscent of the late Kobe Bryant, who died less than a month earlier – has been secured for $ 387,600 via Heritage Auctions. This is a record for a Top Shot auction.

At least two LeBron James NBA Top Shot moments have been sold for over $ 200,000.

$ 11.8 million: “CryptoPunk”

Another Sotheby’s auction in June sold the NFT of “CryptoPunk 7523” for nearly $ 11.8 million.

According to Sotheby’s, “CryptoPunk 7523” is one of nine alien cryptopunks, created by Larva Labs in 2017. But # 7523 is the only one wearing a medical mask, which has served as a symbol amid the COVID-19 pandemic In progress.

Contributors: Brett Molina, Chris Bumbaca

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