Throughout the fine art world, there are many big-name artists who can be relied upon to generate huge sales in an auction setting; Banksy, Jeff Koons, and Yayoi Kusama are just a few. Within the blockchain-backed world of digital art, there are fewer big names generally known to the art-loving public, but that doesn’t mean digital artwork doesn’t generate considerable profit. On Monday, an artist who goes by the name “Beeple” set a new record for the most valuable artwork auctioned off on Nifty Gateway, a marketplace for limited-edition digital items, when he sold 20 artworks for a total of over $3.5 million.
The collection of creations Beeple was auctioning off, entitled “The Complete MF Collection,” includes a series of digital artworks inspired by pop culture like Star Wars, the natural world, and technological advancement. According to Bitcoin.com, Beeple also recently sold an artwork called “Crossroad” via the Nifty Gateway platform for $66,666, and one of the pieces included in the “MF Collection” sale went for a whopping $777,777. Beeple’s also collaborated with big brands and celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Louis Vuitton. To state the obvious, this is serious money and an indicator of just how profitable art items like non-fungible tokens and blockchain products can be if they’re marketed and promoted properly: even celebrities like rapper Lil Yachty are getting in on this new revenue stream.
Additionally, NFT art has been popping up at major auction houses like Christie’s and dominating the attention of art customers who wait eagerly for timed digital “drops” from artists they value the most. This type of cultural exchange feels especially well-suited for a pandemic year, wherein due to the necessity of digital communication, the art world has been forced to take net art even more seriously. It may be the case that companies like Gemini create platforms like Nifty Gateway in order to respond to conspicuous voids in the art market that haven’t been taken seriously, and in this case, it certainly seems to be working.