Crypto-art, the new Eldorado?
This 10-second video of a giant Donald Trump lying naked on the grass and covered in insulting inscriptions while passers-by continue on their way in complete indifference is the work of the American artist Beeple. Crossroad was sold for $6.6 million on the Nifty Gateway platform, which specialises in the sale of purely digital works. Welcome to crypto-art, we decrypt!
A few weeks after this first acquisition, Beeple, alias Mike Winkelmann, exploded the counter at Christie's with the auction of Everyday: the First 5,000 days, an assemblage of 5,000 digital images that he created over 5,000 days in a row. Before the stunned eyes of millions of Internet users, this Jpeg file went for $69.3 million, but in cryptocurrency!
Cryptocurrency is based on a new authentication technology using the blockchain (a technology for storing and transmitting information) that allows any virtual object (artwork, music, even tweets from celebrities) to be sold in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Because what was auctioned for $69.3 million is not so much the work itself, a simple image file that can be exchanged by email, as a digital token attesting to the work's unquestionable and inviolable authenticity and traceability, at least in theory!
And there are more and more artists, entrepreneurs, collectors, sportsmen and stars who consider a digital file as a legitimate medium for some and above all as a tool to promote speculation for the majority. The founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, sold his first tweet for the equivalent of 2.9 million dollars.
So is the world of crypto-art a real trend that could revolutionise the art world or a gigantic publicity stunt for crypto-currency? Note that with his record sale, Beeple has just joined Jeff Koons on the podium of the most expensive artists in their lifetime. Different times, different customs!
Photo: Beeple, Crossroad, 2020 - beeple-crap.com