To understand the headline, you need to know the context first.
A digital collage by American artist Beeple (real name: Mike Winkelmann) called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” broke the internet, leading to a torrent of searches as to what “NFT” is, when it was sold at the auction house, Christie’s, on 11 March for a whopping S$93 million to a mystery buyer from Singapore… much to the globally audible gasp from the about 22 million viewers who tuned in to watch the bid.
Note that the starting bid is just $100.
The collage was painstakingly assembled over the course of 13 years and comprises 5,000 of Winkelmann’s works of art that he produced once per day.
This sale literally shook the world of art collectors to the core mainly because this digital artwork was sold for more than any painting from Titian or Raphael, both of whom are highly-sought after artists during the Renaissance.
In fact, this is the third most expensive work by a living artist that’s sold at an auction, trailing behind Jeff Koons’ “Rabbit” ($91.1 million), and David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” ($90.2 million).
And you thought the sale of the iconic “Nyan Cat meme” NFT for $590,000 (S$792,000) in an online auction just last month was news… hah!
Will you now tell me what an “NFT” is?
NFT or Non-Fungible Token is the latest craze on the internet, following in the boom in cryptocurrency.
To put it simply, it is a digital token that represents the ownership of unique digital items and it is powered by the Ethereum blockchain.
No two NFT is the same and every NFT must have an owner, although that owner can change since NFT can change hands.
In a way, NFTs turns digital artworks into a form that’s similar to physical artworks, allowing digital content creators to sell exclusive ownership of their art to collectors and enthusiasts alike.
It also allows digital content creators to claim royalties from their work by simply proving that they are the true owners of a particular digital content and showing their ownership of the content’s NFT.
However, this doesn’t mean that said digital work cannot be replicated in any other way, shared endlessly on the internet, or even viewed by other people online.
But with NFT, the very first and original version of that content will always go to the content creator and the proof of ownership will remain in a digital ledger thanks to blockchain.
For collectors who own NFTs though, they will also earn an extra “bragging right” to being the ultimate owners of said NFTs, whether it is a S$93 million collage or a S$792,000 meme.
Which now begs the question:
And Who is This Mystery Singapore Buyer?
Bidding under the pseudonym “Metakovan”, the mystery buyer is determined to be from Singapore and is claimed to be one of the pioneer investors in NFTs.
The buzz of rumours surrounding the mysterious individuals was quickly dispelled when “Metakovan” decided to reveal himself to the world.
Born in Tamil Nadu, India but now based in Singapore, the CEO of Portkey Technologies and a blockchain entrepreneur, Vignesh Sundaresan, revealed in a blog post dated March 18 that he now owns the most expensive digital art ever sold.
He decided to reveal his identity to “show Indians and people of colour that they too could be patrons” of digital art.
In the blog post, he also explained his new-found wealth and stature as a millionaire, a serial entrepreneur, and an avid advocate of crypto, starting from his discovery of crypto and the realization of its potential in early 2013.
The blog post also includes his partner’s, Anand Venkateswaran (a.k.a. “Twobadour”) story and the story behind their latest venture, the crypto-exclusive fund called Metapurse.
Featured Image: mundissima / shutterstock.com